Dec 2020

Breaking the Stigma with Kiran and Nivi

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Breaking the Stigma with Kiran and Nivi

It’s safe to say that 2020 was the year of TikTok. If you didn’t spend quarantine scrolling through the app for hours and learning the dance trends, what were you even doing? Although TikTok is known for viral movements, Gen Z’ers worldwide also use the platform to promote important causes and connect with others. 

On December 8, The Conversationalist Founder and CEO Sophie Beren spoke with Kiran and Nivi, TikTok’s famous twin sisters and Carnatic concert vocalists. They perform covers of pop songs for nearly 700k followers. The dynamic sister duo talked about their musical journey and what “Breaking the Stigma” means in their career, passions and goals. Following the conversation, Kiran and Nivi performed in an exclusive virtual concert. 

There is Peace

For sister singers Kiran and Nivi, music is an outlet to express their feelings, release the stress of their day-to-day life, and share what they love most with the world.

Before diving in with Nivi and Kiran, Beren played the music video for “There is Peace,” the pair’s latest self-produced original song. The panel’s virtual audience shared their thoughts on the twin’s powerful vocals and stunning harmonies. 

What has it been like producing original music, and what is the story behind “Is There Peace?”

Nivi said that she and Kiran always wanted to write songs, and the Black Lives Matter movement inspired this track. “This kind of represents the frustration we had with what happened,” she said. 

The powerful three-line refrain, “there is only one religion, the religion of love/there is only one language, the language of the heart/there is only one race, the race of humanity,” comes from their spiritual God. 

Before moving on, Sophie encouraged the virtual audience to share their takeaways from the song.

What has your journey in music been like?

At the age of two, both girls had speech problems. Kiran described how when their situation wasn’t improving with speech therapy, so they were encouraged to sing an Indian hymn. Although their mother was skeptical, she kept the faith and encouraged them to learn the song. “For us, music was literally a miracle. It started our whole journey,” she said.

“It’s iconic that you could speak before you could talk,” Sophie said. 

What has it been like to rise to TikTok fame? 

Nivi said she came across the TikTok app last year, and the duo decided to upload a cover of the Shawn Mendes hit, “If I Can’t Have You.” It got 1,000 likes overnight. “As we posted more and more, the content started to pick up, and we got a lot of fans,” she said. “It’s just been a wild journey because we didn’t expect any of this to happen.” 

To what extent has life changed for you? What is it like working together and balancing music with your life?

Kiran and Nivi are currently in their last year of college. Making music releases stress and allows them to be in the moment and do what they enjoy. “With Nivi, it’s like any other sibling. We fight 24 hours a day, but we become best friends the next second.”

Nivi said they argue about who is right but said the experience is mostly positive. “It’s always nice to have a twin sister,” she said. “You have someone to talk to who is the same age and going through the same things you’re going through.”

She also acknowledged the attention and opportunities they’ve gained from TikTok. They often get messages from fans who talk about the positive impact of their music. “That’s what matters to us,” Nivi said. “If our music can heal someone and help a person, that’s the greatest thing music can ever do.” 

What are some hard times you’ve gone through? How have you overcome challenges on this journey?

Nivi said as musicians, they’ve had doubts and fears about their talent. “Sometimes we feel we’re not worth it,” she said but noted the importance of having someone to motivate you in moments of weakness. For her and Kiran they get that support from their parents. “What we tend to work on is just being as confident as possible,” she said. “Any dream you want to do, nothing is impossible. That’s something we believe in.”

“There’s going to be people that judge you for doing what you’re doing,” Kiran said. “You kind of just need to follow your heart.” 

Sophie asked the virtual audience to share who has inspired them. 

What does “Breaking the Stigma” mean to you?

Kiran said that they deal with stereotypes about what careers Indian people should pursue and that some people might think their passion for music is unusual. “There’s nothing lower in music that is anything compared to being a CEO. It’s all equal,” she said. “There are some people in the world that can take those risks and become successful. That’s why we call them legends and take them as inspiration.”

“Basically, you’re telling us to be the CEO of our own lives,” Sophie said.  

“Everyone will go through downs, but it’s about how you take those downs and turn them into a positive thing,” Nivi said. She encouraged the audience to be the change and create an impact in their own lives. “Start with your family. Convince them first,” she said.

Sophie added that The Conversationalist is all about “breaking that stigma” when approaching difficult conversations.

What do those difficult conversations look like for you, and what advice do you have for people dealing with that?

When it comes to working toward a career in the arts, Kiran emphasized that they are lucky to have parents that motivate and support them in pursuing a career in music. “If you follow your dreams and stay focused, you are going to succeed. Parents can accept a different career path,” she said. “You just need to do the hard work and have the right mindset,” 

“Just try your best to discuss whatever you’re going through,” Nivi said. “Be brave enough to speak it all out.” 

What was the process like of finding your passion for mental health and breaking the stigma?

Nivi said that stereotypes lit a fire in them and made them want to prove others wrong. “That bad thing turned into a good thing because it made us want to find our voice,” she said.

“We need to identify what fuels our fire,” Sophie said.

Kiran acknowledged that it could be challenging to find your voice. Music helped her find herself, and people can find it through other passions and hobbies.

Any final thoughts?

“We hope if you have any dreams or careers, just go for it, and we hope nothing stops you,” Nivi said. She told the audience to be on the lookout for their original music and follow them on social platforms. 

Join The Conversationalist for plenty more panels in the weeks ahead, featuring important conversations about topics that impact Gen Z’ers. Follow The Conversationalist on Twitter,   Instagram, and TikTok to learn about how you can enter to be featured on a future panel and text UNIFY to 1 (877) 222-1119 to join our community and connect with members.