Priyanka Chopra isn’t concerned with national borders. The international award winning actress, model, and newfound recording artist has been traveling the world since she was a young girl.
As a pioneering figure in the entertainment industry, Chopra experienced success on a global level before her eighteenth birthday. Crowned Miss India at seventeen, she went on to win the title of Miss World that same year. The pageant catapulted her film career, and Chopra has over 50 motion pictures under her belt to date. Recently, she was named the new face of GUESS, if you check out the photo above it’s easy to see why. She also partnered with the NFL to present Thursday Night Football in conjunction with a new song called, “In My City.” You can bet she attracted some brand new football fans from all around the world in the process.
In 2013 calling yourself a global artist is commonplace, but there are few icons who deserve the title as much as Priyanka Chopra. Her position as a global superstar puts her at the forefront of a new mode of pop culture–one in which national borders no longer play a role in determining how music spreads.
In honor of her unprecedented success we are rolling out a three-part exclusive interview with Priyanka. This week find out more about what it means to be a global artist, how she connects with fans all over the world, and what to expect from global cultural icons in the coming years.
It seems like the world is getting smaller and smaller and people are getting more access to cultures and spaces other than their own. How do you think that’s going to effect music in the next decade? Will we ever get to a point where the nationality of the musician is just completely irrelevant?
I think that’s happening with pop culture right now. I mean if you look at the kind of people that are in the Top 40, whether it’s Rihanna who comes from Barbados, or whether it’s David Guetta who’s from France, or Psy who comes from Korea–there are so many nationalities that have come into pop culture. I think that now we’re reaching a point in entertainment–whether it’s movies or music, it’s made for a global audience. And definitely within the decade, I don’t think it’s gonna matter where you’re from. Music and movies, both have become extremely universal.
How do you see India as being a key player in the global music scene? What are some of the most exciting things that happening in the Indian music right now?
You know Indian music is all about Indian movies, because all our movies are musicals. I mean, most of our popular music gets driven from our movies. We don’t really have a significant pop culture in India. And right now, because India is such a key player in the global scene, not just music, but when it comes to the economy as well, I think the Indian sound and culture is something people find very fascinating. I’m trying to help expose people to how much India has to offer and how much our culture is completely rich and full of entertainment. I want India to have the ability not to be seen as niche and be completely global and make Indian sound global. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that.
You have an ability to make music that really does appeal to a global audience. So what do you think makes a song accessible on a global level or even a personal level? Is it about a particular sound or a certain approach to the lyrics or is it something you just can’t really explain and it just becomes an overnight success?
You know I’m trying to figure that out myself. (Laughs). But being a consumer of global music, not just an artist myself, I think it’s flavor. Music changes so quickly that there’s no correct formula or correct way of saying what will work for people. I think uniqueness is one of the most important things. It has to be new. I think today our generation has a very short attention span, so we need to cater to that by making things different very often.
How is it different to think about it as a musician versus as an actress? How do those two roles interact for you?
As an actress I’ve done a lot of movies and I have tremendous experience behind me. But as a musician I’m still really new. And hopefully with a little bit of experience I’ll become the musician I eventually want to be. But they’re completely different from each other for me. Yes, both are mediums of creativity, but I think that overall music is so new that I’m still developing myself as a musician. I have to say, that the kind of joy that you get when you watch your movie put together for the first time and you hear your song for the first time, there’s no comparing that to anything in the world.
Between movies and music, do you think there is one medium that flows more easily across borders? Do you think it’s easier for a piece of music to become a global hit than a movie?
I have to say that I think music is a lot more fluid. For movies, at least for us, there’s a language barrier. But at the same time Indian movies have gone global in such a big way. You know you see Indian movies playing in countries that you would never expect–Russia, Germany and Japan–people don’t even speak English there, forget Hindi. But music is something which is so global, you know, a melody is something anyone can relate with anywhere in the world even if you don’t understand the language. So I think they’re both forms of entertainment people can take their pick of, but music is more universal.
How does traveling internationally effect and contribute to your work and you as an artist more generally?
I think you become a lot more aware of the world. And when you’re aware of what’s happening in the world and entertainment across the globe then you can push yourself more. Especially because, like we talked about, entertainment has become so global today. I mean the audience is not just one single country’s demographic, it’s not national anymore .When you’re aware of what other countries are doing you can make subjects and your content a lot more global.
How important is that? I mean, in 2013, do you have to be a global artist?
Well I think I want to be. I don’t think generally for people you have to be a global artist, it’s not vital. I think an artist is an artist no matter where in the world you play, even if you take a guitar and sit by the side of the road or if you’re performing at Madison Square Garden. I think an artist is an artist because you’re a creator in your heart. But I think for me, because I’m an actor and I come from India it’s important for me to make global music because that’s the kind of movies I’ve done, you know? And that’s where I would like my art to go, whether it’s my movies or my music.
What’s coming up? What direction are you going in with your releases, film, tours, performances?
Well I have an Indian movie of mine, which releases now in November, so I’m promoting that. Plus I’ll have my next single come out by the end of the year. And then we’ll have the album somewhere I think mid-next year, or early to mid next year. At the same time we’re looking at a lot of other things which will be interesting announcements a little bit later in the year.
Photo courtesy of GUESS?, Inc.