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W.i.S.H.: The Indian girl group aiming to take over the world

The band made up of four Indian women, from left to right are interlocking arms: Ri (Riya Duggal) is wearing a silver and black outfit with silver earrings, next to her Sim (Simran Duggal) is wearing a black shiny glittery outfit. Next to her is Zoe (Zoe Siddharth) who is wearing a black dress with silver dotted patterns and a type of neck clasp. Next to her is Suchi (Suchita Shirke), who is wearing a black top with pearly dotted patterns, and hoop earrings with a tail.
The group from left to right: Ri (Riya Duggal), Sim (Simran Duggal), Zoe (Zoe Siddharth) and Suchi (Suchita Shirke)

The world has seen the rise of J-pop and K-pop, but could I-pop be next to take over the global charts?

That's the aspiration of Indian girl group W.i.S.H. - an acronym of World inka Stage Hai, or "the world is their stage".

The foursome - Ri, Zo, Sim, and Suchi - are said to be India's first mainstream girl group in more than 20 years.

India has a strong history of female singers, with soloists such as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Shreya Ghoshal.

There's also successful duo the Nooran Sisters, but girl bands haven't broken through in the same way.

Zo tells BBC Asian Network W.i.S.H. want to change that and get to the top by spreading a positive message of sisterhood and female empowerment.

She describes their debut single, Lazeez (meaning "delicious" or "tasty" in Urdu), as a song that "celebrates the modern woman and encourages self-love".

"It's so special for me, for all of us, actually," she says.

"We like to build each other up not only as artists but as people. We are in this journey together, and I'm so thankful for that."

Zoe (Zoe Siddharth), a woman, who is wearing a black dress with silver dotted patterns and a type of neck clasp, has her head tilted to her left, with silver earrings visible on her right ear.
Zo feels W.i.S.H. can be a catalyst for Indian groups to make global impact

Diljit Dosanjh is the most recent example of an Indian star capturing global attention with performances at Coachella and collaborations with the likes of Sia and Ed Sheeran.

And Zo believes W.i.S.H. can help I-pop reach an international audience.

"We are ready to travel across the globe and perform our songs everywhere."

W.i.S.H. were created by music producer Mikey McCleary under Sony Music Entertainment, and Ri, who was the first member cast, has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from fans.

"It hadn't even been a day since our song had released, and we already had tonnes of fan pages. And that's when we realised how much India really wanted this and was waiting for this.

"If young girls see us and then decide to be pop stars, that is amazing. You can do whatever you want. The world is your stage, it's your oyster," says Ri.

"You just have to believe in yourself."

Ri (Riya Duggal), a woman, is wearing a silver and black top and black shorts with a large bird like feather around her. She is looking into the camera and has silver earrings
"India has so much talent and culture, it's just so rich in so many ways," says Ri

Although they are excited to be India's first girl band in over two decades, Zo admits there is still a sense of pressure.

"We have to now set the new standard, so there are a lot of expectations for us.

"But at the same time, it's very exciting because now we can be the trendsetters," she says.

But W.i.S.H. have also been studying famous Western girl groups like the Spice Girls and Little Mix, and want to follow their lead by embracing each member's individuality.

"Zo is really calm and sweet, I'm the sassy one, and Suchi is naughty and fiery. Ri is the boss, the leader and the mama bear," says Sim.

And sisterhood is something that is very important to them too - especially with Sim and Ri being siblings.

"I'm just happy me and my sister are together for this experience," says Sim.

With high aims, the group are already thinking about who they would like to collaborate with.

"We love BTS, we're four girls, and they are four guys I think we would make an amazing track," Sim says.

Suchi says that, in this moment, W.i.S.H. are living a dream.

"I'm enjoying everything about life right now because we've been working towards W.i.S.H. for two years, so this is just an exciting time for all of us.

"It's our turn now," she says.


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Listen to Ankur Desai's show on BBC Asian Network live from 15:00-18:00 Monday to Thursday - or listen back here.