I would crawl under a bench, a swing or a tree; spend my time describing all the wondrous things that surrounded me and how at peace I felt. There is so much beauty around us: complex people and the mysteries surrounding their daily pieces of art that they themselves don’t seem to recognize. Singing would be one the talents I recognized after more than a decade of my life had passed. Sometimes I would hum a few lines scribbled shabbily in my poetry notebook, and more often than not, stand in the second or third row of school choirs.
Early in my life, I learnt that a few words of encouragement go a long way. Sitting on top of a table, covered with layers of dust in the seminar room of the school, a beautiful friend told me, “I like your voice. You should sing more”. I remember how happy I felt hearing that. Encouraged by another dear friend I found the courage to go up on the stage. 5th September of 2007: Even in this cold winter, thinking about the day would make me break a sweat. If our uninformed song choice wasn’t enough, our horrible singing set us up for massive criticism.
If anything, the criticism and cruelty fuelled my desire and love for all forms of poetry and melody, which turned out to be far greater than the hurt I had once felt. Which is when I started recording covers of some of the songs that I felt deeply connected to. A very talented musician, Surabhi Dogra and I started out our little project called “The Fantasy Lamp” which helped me get over my distaste for social media. And with it my journey officially began.
Songwriting is a process of uncovering your own subconscious thoughts. I would compare it to interpreting your dreams except you’re more in control and the very combination of words and rhymes make your heart race faster than anything else ever can.Creating stories and giving life to so many different versions of your own self gives an incomparable high. It also grounds you and teaches you the importance of identifying and working on your weaknesses.
One of the most life changing things would be Raghu Dixit and Vishal Dadlani sharing one of my songs, “Be Patient, Be Complacent” on their twitter and later opening for The Raghu Dixit Project at Soi7, Gurgaon. Hearing one of your idols appreciate and encourage your music makes for an unforgettable memory to say the least. It opens your heart and mind to the possibility of greatness of art and its ability to change and save lives. Not only is he full of life and wisdom but he also has an ability to carry that both on and off stage, which is what precisely creates a beautiful connect. During this time Little Black Book, Delhi and AltSounds.com also covered me. Extremely inspired by the whole experience I started looking for ways to develop my music further.
The following summer I formed a collective to give a vibrant edge to my music. Simple songs about complex things turn a few phrases into melodies that soar, connect and resonate. Sagar Jolly, Dhwani’s former president and now the collective’s guitarist, is not only an extremely gifted musician but also one of the most balanced and rounded individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. He always encourages and gives direction to my music when he is not cracking a joke that everyone but I, gets. He introduced me to our brilliant keyboard player Rythem Bansal who is the kid of our small group. You would stop thinking of him as a kid though once you hear him play as his talent clearly surpasses his age. Our drummer, Aditya Dutta, is so hardworking and focused that you start questioning who gave drummers a bad name. I was also introduced to Kabir Upmanyu who comes up with beautiful bass lines and most of the times he seems happily lost in his own musical world. He is also working with Jolly as part of the alternate rock band Chaos in the Capital.
We got featured on BalconyTV Delhi where we performed 'Given my heart' which observes transference, stylistically, from an uncomplicated sound to a more dynamic array of tones whilst retaining the delicate and intimate lyrics that draw you in. So, you might find yourself singing along even if you’ve never heard the tune before.Recording a pretty song at a Hauz Khas rooftop in the extremely hot month of August led to a lot of good things for us. With the help of SongDew and RadioOne I had the opportunity to sing on the radio, which always seemed like a distant dream. We recently performed at Café Out of the Box alongside two very talented bands; Chaos in the Capital and Soul’d Out. And very recently we were chosen to be a part of The Gig Week 2014, which was truly a dream come true in every sense. We felt so connected and passionate performing together at the beautifully lit terrace of Olive Qutub where we were joined by acts like KamakshiKhanna, Aman Sagar and PrateekKuhad. I am not sure if I believe in God or spirit but I felt close to something that can't be described as anything other than unworldly. And I've never been more certain that all of the hard work and sacrifices have been worth it. For this, I have to thank everyone who joined us in our journey by supporting us, cheered for us and inspired us to work harder to improve our art.