ROY G BIV: The Colors of Empowerment and Beauty


Through a treacherous and tedious two year process, Rashmi Meenakshi “MYNA” Pandian released ROY G BIV on Feb. 28, 2018 on Soundcloud, recorded and produced with Youth Owned Records and The Neutral Zone. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., MYNA has created an album from the ground up that talks about culture, substance abuse, and female empowerment. With vibes of Jhene Aiko, SZA, and Amel Larrieux, the album consists of seven songs, all having very different meanings. The opening song, “Red,” is about sexual abuse and drug abuse. With aspects of both subjects intertwined, “Red” resulted in being the most challenging song topic to work with.

“That was the song that held me back for the longest time from releasing the album,” MYNA said. “I felt like no one really talks about sexual abuse and the violence and toxicity that comes with it. No one is saying stuff like that, because it’s real.”

As far as finding the concept for the album, MYNA found the theme in an interesting fashion. She has a condition called color synesthesia where one associates numbers and concepts with distinct colors. Through this condition, she finds hidden meaning within certain colors and concepts. In the summer bridging between her junior and senior year of high school, MYNA and her boyfriend King Ogundipe spent a lot of time together writing songs and experimenting with music. Through this, she started to experience things she had never seen or felt before, resulting in her color synesthesia becoming magnified and sparking epiphanies. This moment was the raw inspiration for her album, ROY G BIV.

I noticed the way light reflects, and refracts, and retracts, and shines,” MYNA said. “I found hidden meanings within each of the colors. For me when I hear songs, I see a color and I feel a color. A song could be violet and in my albums case, [‘Violet’] is about culture and coming from the Indus Valley; that whole concept is very violet to me.”

Throughout her soulful album, MYNA sings and raps her way through heartache and trauma, culture and female empowerment. All of these concepts are associated with a distinct color. The song “Orange” is the second song off of the album. The song talks about how hard it is to be an empowered female within the patriarchal society that has formed throughout our current society.

“To me, orange is very vibrant, open, and outrageous,” MYNA said. “Well, how outrageous is it for a woman to declare power? That’s insane, especially in this world. We live in a patriarchal society where men want things to be done a certain way, and they want to take stuff from a women. The most precious thing that we got is between our legs.”

Being an Asian American woman has influenced her music and how she wants to be viewed by the world, especially by other musicians and artists. The pride of her culture and ethnicity shines through songs like “Heal (Indigo)” and “Valley Girl (Violet).” Growing up with Indian parents and surrounded by Indian culture, MYNA has been exposed to both Eastern and Western philosophies throughout her entire life. She was enrolled in singing classes until she was 11 years old, which amplified her love of music and her culture. As she got older, she noticed the lack of Western Asian representation in media. She then turned to hip-hop artists, noticing that there were similarities between cultures.

“We don’t see anyone on TV that looks like us, that talks like us, that eats our food,” MYNA said. “Then you look at hip-hop: okay, those guys kind of look a little bit like me with their dark skin tones. They faces injustices just as my people do. That’s kind of relatable.”

Since MYNA had few role models that she could relate to and look up to when she was growing up, she is making it her goal to be a face in the media. She wants to be the artist that young Asian Americans can relate to when developing themselves.

“Hip-hop has kind of influenced me, and being Indian itself makes me want to bring that kind of different layer into music without it being cultural exploitation,” MYNA said. “I see people appropriate my culture all the time and they think it’s okay. You see people wear bindis and henna, but for some reason, they don’t consider it cultural appropriation. They say, ‘It’s just fun. Get over it.’ That’s why I wanna be that face.”
Because the album took two years to put together and produce, MYNA faced other hindering issues that many youth face when growing older: inability to take criticism, relationship problems, mental illness symptoms, and not knowing what to do after high school. Originally, the album was supposed to be released in the winter of 2016. Two years of learning and maturing later, ROY G BIV has had an incredible amount of thought, work, and knowledge put into it that wouldn’t have been there before. The two years of developing has given it a certain uniqueness from the song structure to the song lyrics.

To see this talented and inspirational artist perform live, MYNA’s upcoming listening party is on March 24, 2018 at The Neutral Zone. The next time you’re in need of some inspiration like no other, ROY G BIV is available now on Soundcloud for listening.