Junior Annika Sawant performs her original song “Honest” at the Pogue Entertainment Group show a year ago. Sawant has performed at various events for both her singing and orchestra.
Junior Annika Sawant performs her original song “Honest” at the Pogue Entertainment Group show a year ago. Sawant has performed at various events for both her singing and orchestra.
Provided by Annika Sawant

Stringing through life

Junior shares passion for music

It started with chicken tenders and a question.

Her dad asked her if she wanted to play violin. When she said yes, he promised if she went up on stage and performed, he’d buy her chicken tenders, and that’s all she needed to hear. 

Junior Annika Sawant has been stringing her way through life since she was 3 years old. Annika said that with her passion for music, she found a love for playing the violin, singing and songwriting while performing them as well. 

Annika has been a part of the Suzuki Institute of Dallas since she started playing the violin and said she, in a way, grew up there. The former executive director and president of the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas, Nicolette Solomon, taught Annika classical violin privately for 10 years, and she has been a part of their orchestra for six years. Annika said she originally started music because of her parents, but later developed a strong love for it.

“[Music] taught me how to use my emotions in a productive way and how to not always be so anxious,” Annika said. “It also [pushes] me out of my comfort zone because, a lot of times, you have to perform in front of people.”

Annika was named a winner of a 2024 YoungArts award for Voice Popular on Dec. 7, 2023. The YoungArts is a national competition with a selection rate of only 10%. She also qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) after surpassing the district and state level competition on Feb. 17. 

“She never let up on anything,” Solomon said. “She was very determined. She carried on and on, so she was very busy. I mean, she does everything, so it was very impressive that she could [balance it] all.”

Solomon said that as Annika continues to be passionate about her music, she doesn’t let it get in the way of her academics. As she goes on in high school, being ranked second in the entire grade, she said that even though she thinks about her rank, she tries to not let it define her. 

“[Rank is] just a number; I try to remember that,” Annika said. “I think people place too much emphasis on it, but with school, I just try to do my best. I try not to focus on the result, because that can just stress you out and [I try to] remember that life is not school.” 

Annika said her parents have been extremely supportive of her passion for music. They have not only funded the many classes she has taken, but also attend performances and support her in all the ways they can. 

“I would like her to remain engaged with music in some shape or form,” Annika’s father, Abhay Sawant, said. “Whether it’s a hobby or when she goes to college some other means because, for her, it seems like a place where she relaxes and finds comfort. And she’s also into songwriting, so that gives her an outlet for her expression.”

Annika is a part of the Chamber Orchestra at school and posts singing covers on her YouTube channel. She also plans on releasing some new music later this year. 

“Music to me is taking emotions and making them productive [and] fun for other people to listen to or fun for yourself to listen to,” Annika said. “I think a lot of aspects of my life are so academic focused or just less emotional, so it’s fun to have a part of my life where I can just do whatever I want.”  

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