About

Sushma Soma is a Carnatic, South Indian Classical, Vocalist and is also actively engaged in the Arts in the capacity as a Researcher, Educator, Writer amongst many other roles.

Performer

Sushma’s music journey started at the age of 4 years in Singapore under Mrs Bhagya Murthy. In 1993, she started her music education in Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) and completed her Diploma in Carnatic Vocal there. Sushma is currently a disciple of Lalita Sivakumar.

After winning several awards during her training in SIFAS, she went on to become the first Singaporean to win both the prestigious All India Radio Carnatic Vocal competition in 2006 and the Outstanding Vocalist Award for her concert at the Madras Music Academy (a landmark institution in the history of Indian fine arts) in 2017.

Sushma is a Chartered Accountant by education and certification in Singapore. Despite the assurance of financial stability and career progress with an employment with PriceWaterhouseCoopers after graduation, she left her corporate job to chase her music dream.

Over the last decade, she has welcomed invitations from multiple Indian embassies, consulates and high commissions across Europe and Asia enabling her to share her passion for and understanding of Carnatic music with diverse global audiences through her solo performances.

Through her collaborations, Sushma has toured the world and worked with esteemed individuals, such as playwright Gowri Ramnarayan, across multi-disciplinary productions. They most recently toured several cities in USA as part of legendary Carnatic vocalist DK Pattamal’s centenary celebration concerts in 2019. Sushma has also worked with many times with American Bharatanatyam virtuoso Mythili Prakash, including the Darbar Festival in London curated by renowned British choreographer-dancer Akram Khan.

Driven to “re-awaken” the local arts scene in Singapore, she created a workshop cum concert at The Substation with the sole intention of exposing more young Singaporeans to Carnatic music. She was also part of Esplanade Theatres on the Bay’s 10th anniversary celebrations, alongside prominent artists, and co-created ‘Samarupa’, a production with Singaporean vocalist Chitra Poornima. They were among the first productions to feature an all-women Carnatic ensemble from Singapore, the U.S. and India!

Sushma’s maiden EP, titled Sa, releasing on 4 March 2020, features collaborations with award-winning artists including Soumik Datta, Sarod virtuoso from UK, Aditya Prakash, Vocalist and Composer from LA amongst others. The EP, which serves as a confluence of her cultural and national upbringing with her diverse global influences, is available on all digital streaming platforms.

 

Researcher and Archiver

In 2017, she led the project ‘Digital Archive of Singapore Tamil Music’ for Singapore National Library Board on a completely voluntary basis. This was a landmark project as it was the first-time efforts at archiving an entire community’s musical works and achievements in Singapore were executed.

Her other work with National Archives of Singapore was mentioned by Singapore Minister for Communication and Information, Mr Iswaran, in his Parliament speech in March 2019.

 

Educator

Sushma is a part-time lecturer at National Institute of Education, Singapore, where she teaches Indian music to the next generation of music teachers and students in Singaporean schools. Starting her journey there as a guest lecturer to being promoted to teaching throughout the year now, she carries with humility, the responsibility to impact the way the next generation of students can perceive and understand Indian music.

 

Writer

Sushma also co-wrote a chapter in Kala Manjari, a book commissioned by Singapore National Library Board, celebrating 50 years of Indian Classical Music and Dance in Singapore and was the moderator of the panel featuring the pioneers of Indian Classical Music in Singapore during the book launch. She also launched her own column ‘Young Voices’ in India’s premier Indian Fine Arts magazine, Sruti.

Sushma uses her Classical knowledge to retain classicism in her traditional performances and at the same time, create meaningful cross-cultural collaborations as a reflection of growing up in a multicultural milieu.