Ananya Birla is an Indian singer, songwriter, mental health advocate, and entrepreneur. She is the eldest child of Kumar Mangalm Birla, the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group. Ananya is the first Indian artist of the English language to go platinum in India.
Ananyashree Birla was born on 17 July 1994 (age 29 years; as of 2023) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. She did her schooling at the American School of Bombay, Mumbai. Fascinated by music since childhood, Ananya started learning santoor at eight. After completing her senior secondary education, she went to Oxford University, England, where she was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics and management; however, she dropped out of college owing to her career in music. During her college days, Ananya learned to play the guitar. In an interview, Ananya explained why she decided to drop out of Oxford University and said,
But I think I was too scared about the repercussions given my background, because nobody has done what I am doing. When I was at Oxford, it actually helped me come out of this bubble, take a step back, and to see the world as it is. That’s when I took the plunge because I realized that the only thing stopping me from achieving my dreams was myself. I dropped out and began my music career. Initially, I was signed with Universal Music, but then I decided to become independent.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Blonde
Eye Colour: Black
Body Measurements (approx.): 36-24-34
Ananya Birla is the sixth generation of the Birla family.
Parents & Siblings
Ananya Birla’s father, Kumar Mangalam Birla, is the chairman of the conglomerate Aditya Birla Group. He is the eighth richest Indian on the Forbes 2016 billionaire list, with a personal wealth of $6.1 billion. Her mother, Neerja Birla, is a philanthropist.
Ananya Birla’s younger brother, Aryaman Birla, is an Indian cricketer and entrepreneur. Her sister, Advaitesha Birla, founded her non-profit organisation, Ujaas, under the Aditya Birla Education Trust (Abet) in December 2021. Ujaas is a non-profit organisation that aims to spread awareness about menstrual health and hygiene through school workshops, distributing sanitary pads in schools, and training girls in manufacturing pads.
Wife & Children
Ananya Birla is unmarried.
Ananya follows Hinduism.
She belongs to the Baniya Vaishya family of the Maheshwari caste.
While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Oxford University, Ananya learned to play the guitar and started singing at the local bars and open-mic cafes. In 2017, after dropping out of college, she launched her debut English music album Livin’ The Life; the song was co-written and produced by Jim Beanz.
In 2018, she lent her voice and was featured in two music singles titled Hold On and Circles. Subsequently, Ananya has given her voice in many music albums like Better (2019), Everbody’s Lost (2020), Give Me Up (2021), and Deny Me (2021). She has also lent her voice to many Hindi music albums like Teri Meri Kahani (2022), Kya Karein (2022), and Yaari (2023).
Ananya, at the age of seventeen, established Svatantra Microfin Private Limited. It is a microfinance company that aims to provide financial and non-financial services to rural women entrepreneurs. In 2016, Ananya established Ikai Asai, a homeware brand that sells luxury craft products. In 2023, Ananya Birla and her younger brother, Aryaman Vikram Birla were inducted as directors of Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, an Indian fashion retail company headquartered in Mumbai.
Ananya, while she was pursuing her undergraduate degree at Oxford University, came to know about a helpline that assisted students suffering from depression and anxiety. Soon after she returned to India, Ananya and her mother, Neerja Birla started a mental healthcare centre named MPower; the organisation provide mental healthcare solutions to children, adolescents, young people, and adults. She is an ambassador for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a United States-based nonprofit organization that assists individuals who are suffering from mental illness. In 2020, she started Ananya Birla Foundation which educates women about menstruation and provides menstruation kits, PPE kits and protective equipment for women and hospitals across Maharashtra. In an interview, Ananya talked about what inspired her to start a mental healthcare centre in India. She said,
While studying at university in England, I interacted with people about my own age who were suffering from anxiety and depression. The experience stirred something familiar in me. In fact, when someone breaks a leg or has a surgery, they get flowers and get well soon cards. But to someone who suffers from mental health related illness, the empathy is sporadic just because they don’t see an actual wound! I co-founded MpowerMinds as it is a cause very close to my heart, to increase public awareness about mental health and diffuse the social stigma associated with those suffering quietly. At the Mpower center, we let people know that they are not alone and offer a range of confidential services including therapy and psychiatric help.”
- In 2016, Ananya Birla won the Trendsetting Young Business Person Award at ET Panache Trendsetter Awards.
- In 2016, she was included in Forbes Asia’s list of ‘Women to Watch Out For’ for her business acumen.
- In 2017, she won the Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award for Music Sensation Of The Year.
- In 2018, she was listed among the GQs Most Influential Indians.
Ananya Birla’s car collection includes Lamborghini Urus, BMW Z4, Jaguar XF and Porshe Boxter S.
As of 2018, Ananya Birla has a net worth of $11.8 billion.
- Food: Tabbouleh, Paneer Tikka
- Destination(s): Rishikesh, Florence
- Musician(s): Eminem, Kurt Cobain
- In an interview, Ananya said that she bought an expensive Burberry jacket and she called it a “Chris Martin Jacket.” Further, in the same interview, she said that there were only two such jackets in the world. Ananya said,
I bought a Burberry jacket that I call my Chris Martin jacket. It’s a bomber and was very expensive – there are just two in the world – and I felt very guilty.”
- She bought a Montblanc pen from their collector’s series. The rare and collectable pen is worth about $300,000.
- Ananya’s nickname is Anan.
- Ananya, when she was thirteen, started taking music lessons, and the first song she sang in front of her parents was ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ by Bette Midler. In an interview, Ananya recalled this and said that after her parents heard her singing, they realised her interest in music.
- According to Ananya, when she was twelve, she started writing poetry.
- During her teenage, she often switched schools because she struggled to fit in. In an interview, Ananya talked about this and said that when she was studying in school, she didn’t like to be recognized by the surname ‘Birla;’ owing to this, Ananya was forced to drop out when she was in high school, and she pursued her higher secondary education through homeschooling. Ananya said,
I switched schools because I could not handle being around people who didn’t understand me because of my surname. I was then forced to drop out of high school to pursue my A levels. At around the time I was home schooling for the A levels, I told myself I had to do something and follow it through. That was a turning point in my life. This coupled with my passion for start-ups and the vast income gap I had been seeing, is how my company Svatantra came about.”
- Ananya is fond of collecting pens, and according to sources, she has more than 2,000 pens in her collection.
- In an interview, Ananya revealed that her first luxury purchase was a BMW sports car. According to her, she likes to drive her BMW sports car everywhere. During the same discussion, she said,
I’m very possessive of the BMW car.”
- In an interview, Ananya talked about who inspired her and said she was influenced by two women in her life, Mother Teresa and her domestic help Lata. She said,
Lata has been with me since I was six months. She has had a very tough life, yet chose to remain positive all throughout. I really look up to her. Different people inspire me in different ways, and it all boils down to the courage in the person’s heart.”
- A tattoo lover, Ananya has fourteen tattoos on her body. she has inked her first venture “Savtantra’ word on her body. In an interview, Ananya talked about her tattoos and said,
I have five tattoos. One says conquer, another Svatantra, a third mind over matter. I have a heart on my collar bone, and another tattoo saying Always Mommy’s Girl. I got these tattoos in different places at different times in my life and they all mean something to me.”
- In an interview in 2017, Ananya named Zac Efron as her crush. Further, in the same interview, Ananya revealed that she had a new man crush every day.
- In 2018, she was featured on the cover of Forbes India magazine.
- A dog lover, Ananya has three pet dogs. She often posts pictures of her pet dog on various social media platforms.
- In an interview, she said that she was allergic to spicy food. While discussing the same, Ananya said,
People are bit shocked when I say this because it’s quite common that Indians can handle spicy food but I just cannot eat spicy food. Not even a degree of spice, my body cannot take it. I don’t like too much masala or oil either. I like it bland.”