Nishi Rajan has been in the music and entertainment industries since 2002. She released her Demo EP in 2005 and has performed throughout New York City with her band, The Nights. She moved with her family to New York when she was five years old.
Nishi has starred in independent feature films, short films, on television and Off-Broadway plays and musicals in New York City. In 2022-23, she will direct and produce Salem – Retold – an original historical fiction play set in 1800’s Massachusetts. She is currently finishing production on her album Master of My Fate and working on film, television and stage projects in New York City.
You have two interesting projects coming up this year. How excited are you and how different are the characters?
I’m very excited! I play Lark in Lark & Spur and she is a mystical, witch-like character who has mysterious abilities. She is a voice of reason for her friends but is struggling mentally to remember parts of her life that were taken away from her. As for The Mongoose, my character of Pree was so similar to who I am in real life, positive and sees the best in people. She is a yoga instructor and that is something I am passionate about and began practicing again during the pandemic.
Between the two projects Lark and Spur and The Mongoose, which one was more challenging and you enjoyed the most?
I enjoyed both equally as they are such different characters and tell different stories. Lark, however, is far more challenging because of the range of her emotions and her dark turns, her storyline includes possession by spirits and some very passionate and sad moments. Pree in The Mongoose was a very sensitive woman who is dealing with trouble conceiving and facing difficulties connecting with her husband, yet stays positive and determined through it all. To play both characters require introspection.
You direct, produce and act. How do you strike a balance and which role do you enjoy the most?
I am first an actor and singer-songwriter, then a director and producer. I began acting professionally in 2009 in musical theatre. I had acted for fun in plays growing up but had been focused on music and was producing music since 2002 and performing throughout New York City with my band. I decided to immerse myself in acting classes and discovered I truly loved it, it unlocked levels in me. I started directing my own plays in 2011 and 2012. I balance it all by staggering it, for example, when I am filming movies or television shows, I am not doing theatre, there just isn’t time for it. Directing and producing are colossal endeavours and require a lot of time and effort. I directed and produced my musical, The Rajah’s Son & Princess Labam in 2014 and that ran for a month at the Medicine Show Theatre on 52nd Street in New York City. It had 35 actors and cost $15,000 and was a 2.5 hour musical. Now, Lark & Spur is the next biggest project which also involves a huge cast, crew and number of episodes for the 1st season. I love it. Creating is my passion.
Tell us about Salem Retold.
Salem Retold is another play I wrote in 2016 which I plan to direct and produce here in New York City in 2022. It is an original story set before the Salem witch trials and conveys the message that we are all one and the same, what separates us is our inability or unwillingness to understand each other. It is situated in the Salem harbor and will have nautical themes and will be a period piece set in the 1600’s.
What can we look forward to with your upcoming album Master of My Fate?
Master of My Fate is a 12-track album of original songs I have written and produced. Some songs were released as singles, but others are still in various stages of production. It has been a long labor of love, but I can’t wait to finish the album. Production has been halted due to my other professional commitments and also due to the Covid-19 situation, but I plan to pick it up again later this year and complete the album next year, in 2022. The album is a mix of rock, pop, alternative and Indian-American dance music.