Change Interview - Priya Dewan

Todays #StoryofChange features Priya Dewan as our #HumansofChange....

Priya Dewan, conceptualized Feedback Asia in 2012 as a culmination of ten years of experience in the Western music industry. Dewan, an Indian citizen born in the Philippines and raised in Singapore, moved to the United States to study in Boston and work in New York. Dewan served as North American Label Manager for UK-based label Warp Records, working with artists Grizzly Bear, Broadcast, Battles, Flying Lotus, !!!, Aphex Twin and others.  Notably, Priya has served as an active member and board member of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), has been featured as Billboard Magazine’s, “Top 30 Movers and Shakers Under 30” and quoted in The New York Times, Billboard, The Boston Globe, et al.

1. What major change has happened in your life?

1. Moving half way around the world to set up a business in a part of my industry in which I no prior direct experience, which essentially felt like starting from scratch.  

2. Splitting up with somebody I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.  

 

2. What happened during this period of change?

I left a great job with terrific colleagues, my great friends and my boyfriend in New York, a city I adore, to move half way around the world to Singapore to set up Feedback Asia (www.feedbackasia.com).  This was initially intended to be a partial change with me moving back to New York after a year or two, once the business was up and running.   Thinking I was going to move back in a few years also meant I mentally had one foot stuck wedged in the door to New York, a bit of a safety net to the severity of the change.  The initial months were exciting and daunting, a mix of familiarity from having lived here growing up, but also adventure as I barely knew anybody and anybody who has spent 2 years in this country can just imagine the changes to the city from being gone for 13 years.  I was traveling constantly around the region avidly developing my personal and professional network, gorging up new cultures and experiences (and food!).  Within 8 months of living here I was hooked.  I was falling in love with my new life here, all be it so different from the life I loved in NY.  I fell so hard that my boyfriend couldn’t help to question my intention of returning to NY.  Faced with the realization that I had no desire to do so any time soon forced me to let go of something and someone I thought I had wanted so completely. 

 

3. How did you navigate yourself out of this change period? (Any tools, resources and advice that you may have used or read)

I was fortunate to have been introduced to Dr. Martin Seligman’s works on positive psychology at the start of this life change.  His books and exercises coupled with other books like The Talent Code, 5 Habits of Highly Efficient People and an incredible human support system of my family, my closest friends around the world and the marvelous memories and experiences I was creating with new friends here helped me navigate through the roughest of times. (Authentic Happiness: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx)

 

4. Has the change impacted the way you approached life and work today? 

I learned so much about myself through this change, primarily that I am in control of my own destiny and have an incredible support system.  The psychological changes to how I deal with disappointment and frustration were the best result of this change.  I learned that I can get myself out of any frustration that results from life’s rejections and disappointments by changing the way I react to the catalyst of these events.  I also learned that life is full of adventure, positivity and excitement if you are willing to put yourself out there.  

 

5. What one thing do you wish you had during this time - or what one thing was missing during this time that could have helped you?

The one thing I wish I had done more at this time was communicate better with my partner at the time.  I think in the whirlwind of building a new life I forgot to think about how these changes to me were affecting him and I think I could have communicated that better to him while it was happening.  

 

6. What are your 3 main take aways from this change period?

1. Try everything you want to 

2. Embrace and learn from failure 

3. Be a positive force inwardly and outwardly 

 

7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone going through a similar point in their lives?

Stay positive and keep on trucking because strength and growth are rooted in failure and hardship.  

 

8. If your change could be represented by a colour, what would it be?

(We're using the idea that colour represents the different changes that an individual would go through - you can choose one or two depending on the change that you feel was strongest).  Some individuals go through change in a slower process than others and deeper, for others change happens faster and brighter.  We hope that through using colour to represent change we can see the different ways change occurs within individuals. 

I would say equal parts bright yellow and bring red to give an overall balance.