Ridwan gets ready to drop
With the Drop Festival only weeks away, up and coming singer and songwriter Chitra Ridwan, 21, has been selected as the triple j Unearthed competition winner for Torquay.
Arriving to Torquay Common on April 20 and supported by triple j and the World Surf League (WSL), The Drop takes place on the first weekend of each coinciding surfing event of the World Surf League tour across five locations.
Hitting the shores of Coolangatta, Busselton WA, Newcastle, Manly and Torquay, Ridwan said she was excited to receive a call letting her know she’d been selected.
“I got a phone call and got offered the spot for the Torquay leg. I’ve heard about the festival before through friends and saw it on the triple j page so it’s very exciting I’m going to be able to do that.
“This is definitely the biggest festival I’ve done. I’ve been releasing songs and I upload them to Unearthed and hope someone from triple j picks them up and has a listen. They did and then they thought of me for The Drop which is really lovely.”
Torquay’s sold-out festival features a huge line-up including Angus and Julia Stone, Client Liaison, Hockey Dad and The Jungle Giants, with Ridwan returning home to the Surf Coast to perform.
“I’m originally from Ocean Grove and moved to Melbourne three years ago to further my studies and pursue a career in music,” she said.
“I’m really excited to play and to be back on the coast. I find performing daunting, it’s super scary but as soon as you start playing and connect with what you’re singing about it fades away.”
Ridwan’s unique sound is reflective of a childhood spent immersed in folk music and soul greats like Ray Charles and Esther James.
“I listened to all the classics, there’s also a lot of local bands I enjoy listening to now. Adrianne Lenker from Big Thief (an American indie rock band with folk roots) is an incredible story teller,” she said.
“I play guitar and I sing, I started off singing covers when I was in my teens and from there, I started writing songs. I realised music and song writing was the only thing I’m really passionate about.”
Having recently evolved from a solo performer to singing with a band, Ridwan said she was looking forward to further exploring her sound.
“My sound is still developing the song writing is really important to me and there’s a lot more elements to my sound having a band now. Living in Melbourne and being able to watch a lot of other bands has been great,” she said.
“We’ve been performing together for the past couple of weeks and they’ll be with me at The Drop Festival. It’s a bigger
sound and a better experience for the audience as well I think.”
Whether or not she rises to the top of the industry, remaining true to herself is what matters most for Ridwan.
“I just want to write songs that people like. Write about what feels honest and things people can relate to. At the end of the day I think about why I do music and remember it’s something that makes me happy,” she said.
“It’s not about being competitive, that feels icky to me, it’s about being true to yourself and doing what you love.”
For more information go to thedropfestival.com.