SHE may have made a name for herself as a versatile singer, but Dixi is also a dedicated doctor, who worked on the frontline during the Covid-19 outbreak and has a successful career as a paediatrician. By balancing music with a medical career, the marvellous multi-tasker has inspiringly shown that you can pursue a passion while doing a demanding day job.
Eastern Eye caught up with Dixi during a busy schedule to discuss her dynamic life as a doctor, singer, and musician. She also revealed what it was like working on the Covid frontline, secrets of following a dream outside a hectic life, future hopes, and time management.
What came first for you, music or wanting to be a doctor? I have had an ear for music since I was a baby as per my mom. She bought me a Fisher Price kids piano when I was three years old and heard me play a tune that sounded like ‘Old Mcdonald Had a Farm,’ which she would sing to me. From then onwards, I started to play piano by ear. My mom also put me in dance classes, so I was exposed to multiple components of music at a very young age. My father sang bhajans in the temple, which I soon participated in.
What was the experience like working on the Covid-19 frontline? It was a mix of emotions. New York was the first US state to be hit hard, so nobody knew how to approach it. We were not prepared. I was a bit scared initially but knew the responsibility the profession I chose has and needed to step up. Many of us trained in paediatrics had to treat adults, which we weren’t fully experienced in, let alone Covid. Many were severely ill, and death was among us more than ever before. I would never want to go through that again as it was extremely sad, but I also gained a newfound confidence and will know how to respond in future.
Tell us about the work you do now? I am a general paediatrician working in Los Angeles and serve a low-income community, seeing approximately 50 to 60 kids per day. I also work in the nursery in the hospital and make sure that the newborns are doing well right after birth.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a paediatrician? The most rewarding thing is being able to follow these kids from birth to age 18 and seeing them grow up to be healthy amazing kids. Being able to play a role in preventative care and their future well-being is humbling. They all put a smile on my face every day.
How much has singing helped to cope with the emotionally demanding aspect of your job? Music has always been my outlet, getaway, and release. I would probably be 10 times more stressed without it and not sure I would have made it to the end of my 11 years of training. For me, music is a blessing. Anytime I was tired of studying or had a terrible shift, especially during Covid, when we were locked in, I turned to my keyboard and microphone, and made some of my best music.
How have you balanced a demanding job with a singing career? Balancing two demanding careers, which are also passions, is challenging. Luckily with music, I can do a lot of it from home and my weekends are typically available for live shows. As I put so much of my time into both, I don’t have much time for social life activities – though I still occasionally meet friends, dabble into dance, and try to squeeze in a gym session. But that’s pretty much my life! I’m not complaining though. It’s fulfilling, I feel secure, blessed, and happy.
Which song is closest to your heart? It’s a song I haven’t released yet. It is very much my vibe and feel. I think I sound better on it than any of my prior work. It was also produced and penned by a new talent with whom I have never worked before, and so am excited to share it.
As a versatile singer what genre or style do you enjoy most? I typically enjoy singing Punjabi music more than anything else. Even though I am not Punjabi, I like the style and language, especially on an urban desi or hip hop beat. Indian music also feels like more of a challenge to sing than American, which I like.
Is the plan to carry on balancing music and medicine? For now, yes, but I would like to go part-time on medicine so I can put more time and effort into music as I continue to grow.
What advice would you give those with a demanding job, who want to pursue an artistic passion? I always tell everyone to pursue their passions and dreams no matter what else is going on in their life. The last thing you want is to look back and think, ‘I wish I did that,’ and use your job as an excuse and then resent it. If you are truly passionate about something, you won’t be able to just let it be. You will find a way to make time for it, regardless of how demanding your life is. You will be happier and more fulfilled and may achieve a new level of success.
How important is time management according to you? It is crucial if you want to get things done and achieve everything you want. But it takes planning, organising, and committing to what you’ve set out for yourself. Eventually, you just get really good at it and thank yourself later for being able to juggle a lot of things.
What is it that inspires you? I am constantly inspired by not only my own drive and passion, but also other artists I see who are pursuing the same and killing it. I am equally inspired by other women who are boss babes, successfully pursuing multiple careers like myself. Lastly, I am inspired by future generations to serve as an example and role model to kids who may need direction, hope, and guidance to fulfil and achieve their dreams.