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Nisha Asnani: Soulful Singer w/ a Soft Spot for Boy Bands

Meet Nisha Asnani.  Singer/Songwriter. Carnegie Mellon grad. World-traveled (has lived in Nigeria, Mumbai, London, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Paris, and now, NYC.) And perhaps most importantly (at least when it comes to bonding with a fellow 80s baby), an *NSYNC lover.

Yes, we’ll get to how Nisha survived Crohn’s Disease and explore her musical style (even John Leguizamo is giving her standing O’s) – but first, I must explain the importance of the boy band connection.

You see, if you’re a girl who was anywhere between eight and 16-years-old in 1999, you were more likely than not a boy band fan. And if you were serious about it, you could only truly love one (yes I know there were like a dozen that came out back then, but for the purposes of this blog let’s negate the BBMak’s and LFO’s of the world.)  So who did it  for Nisha – Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?

Quick disclaimer: No, I don’t just ask people this question randomly. But when Nisha told me about how she recorded an EP with Veit Renn (who worked with BSB and *NSYNC, and likened Nisha to Esperanza Spalding…yes this year’s Grammy winner for best new artist) I of course had to inquire… to see if we could really be friends.

The result? We both loved the same boy band, and the same member: Justin Timberlake (um, can I just say that we win? Successfully picking the one boy band member of the late90s to actually do something with his life.)

Anyway. Bonding aside, we talk serious business. Her business. Music business.

Nisha is a recording artist whose sound is difficult to pinpoint, so I’ll just call it “eclectic jazz/soul.” She and I met a few summers back when she was in LA. It turns out, after performing all summer, she developed Crohn’s Disease (basically had an overactive immune system) was hospitalized for 3 months, got surgery and now lives to tell the story (part of me thinks she HAS to cover “I Will Survive” at some point.)

Thankfully, all is well now and Nisha is being a badass in New York City. Vanity Fair tweeted that one of her shows was the place to be, she has her own Pandora channel, and she’s been doing gigs all over town – with her biggest set to date scheduled for this Saturday at 92YTribeca.

She’s working on new music now, but in the meantime check out a couple of tracks below from her EP On and Off. She doesn’t like to liken herself to anyone, but others have compared her to Adele…(yes, creator of the ultimate heartbreak album of 2011.)

LISTEN: Nisha Asnani – “T-Shirt”

WATCH: Nisha Asnani – “Love Me Anyway” [vimeo id=”25458388″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

PS She claims to do a great Billie Holiday impression when she’s intoxicated, so if you do get a chance to check her out live,  get her a drink and you may be lucky enough to get a second show.



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