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Urban ecologist, Aditi Veena aka Ditty gracefully transitions between spoken word and singing in her debut album ‘Poetry Ceylon’. Inspired by the natural world and people on the island of Sri Lanka, the album is an earthy, diverse and experimental journey of music that offers listeners an invitation to feel all that is beautiful and heart wrenching about being a human. There is a natural ease in her delivery of lyrics mainly written around her knowledge of the earth, of cities, of her own self and the ruin of nature coupled with melancholic vocals. The album is recorded by Shantanu Pandit and arranged by Dhruv Bhola who have added a touch of finesse to her captivating voice rendering an irresistible charm.
Nineteen year old singer-songwriter, Karshni finds comfort in playing the guitar, experimenting with production and incorporating electronic elements in her songs. Her music is a reflection of how she feels in the moment and is usually the result of impulsive lyricism at a very emotional time. Her single ‘Fomo’ is characterised by a haunting melody, that is slightly muted to signify the fear of missing out which is faced by a large part of the youth today. From popular vices to parties the whole paraphernalia of what it means to be a teenager, the popular youth slang is a depiction of the actual fear that suffocates the artist.
Raghav Meattle, a singer-songwriter from Mumbai released his debut album ‘Songs From a Matchbox’ through a crowd funded campaign in June 2018. Being influenced by artists such as Jack Johnson, John Mayer and George Ezra, the 26 year old describes his music as “vocal first”. Although his vocals and the acoustic guitar take centre stage, the artist has adapted an all round approach by also giving emphasis to the lyrics and melodies.
Bagging one of the semi-finalist positions at Season 2 of ‘The Stage’ – India’s first reality show dedicated to music, Raghav was also nominated for the Radio City Freedom Awards under Best Pop Artist category. With a folksy and country setting, his graceful vocal delivery and heart warming lyrics touch across different topics – from his frustration of the constant chatter at bars during a live performance to the Tinder culture and his take on relationships. The album has been co-produced by Zain Calcuttawala and mastered by Frank Arkwright from Abbey Road Studios, London.
Acoustic singer-songwriter Ramya Pothuri made a departure from her signature folk and R&B blend to a long awaited foray into neo-soul with her latest single ‘Summer’. A self-taught Mumbai based musician, the finger style guitarist with an expansive repertoire released her first independent EP of original music titled ‘We Never Left’ and promoted it through a series of living room gigs around the city. With a fresh approach to her musical treatment she trades the acoustic guitar for a heavily treated telecaster, and despite the satisfying drum production, retains her hold over the listener by writing lyrics for the contemporary soul. The song deals with the feeling of longing; a bittersweet emotion that leaves us wanting for someone that may not be right, but even in heartache makes it always feel like summer.
- Sid Vashi is a recording artist from Mumbai, India. In 2017, he released the concept album ‘Azuma Kazuma,’ which received critical acclaim for its ambitious narrative arc and intricate musicality. The final collateral release from the album’s universe, the single ‘Birds’, was released in May of this year. Azuma Kazuma is a Bildungsroman set in the outer solar system in the far-flung future, telling the story of a young nondescript man overwhelmed by existential fear, the finality of capitalism and wistful memories. Over seven tracks, the album swings wildly from bass, to jazz, to indie ballads, all coloured in the tones of Sid Vashi’s warbling voice and labyrinthine electronica. In 2019, he plans to begin a fresh release cycle inspired by new surroundings and old musical traditions, tempered by his own unique irreverence.
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Indie-pop duo Parekh & Singh are bringing a refreshing, dynamic energy to India’s buzzing music scene. With dreamer Nischay Parekh driving the melodies, singing and playing guitar, keyboards and synths and the more grounded, logical Jivraj Singh handling percussion and FX, they combine to conjure glowing tracks of cosmic pop that shimmer like an Indian sunset. With vibrant synth lines, stripped-down drum grooves and pop hooks, the duo establishes the addition of soul to their music to create their effortlessly crisp, neo-psychedelic sound. This year they re-released their breakthrough 2016 debut album Oceans as a deluxe version with three new ‘Dream Levels’ versions of standout tracks from the record. From the infectious, melodic opener ‘I love you Baby, I love you Doll’, the music charts the agony and ecstasy of uncertain young love, portrayed in Wes Anderson-inspired visuals that depict them working in a hotel dressed up in vivid tailored suits. Together, they represent India’s cosmopolitan youth, incoporating western influences into their rich cultural heritage; the dreamlike quality of their music and videos is firmly rooted in their hometown of Kolkata, a city frozen in time after decades of communist rule.
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21-year-old Azamaan Hoyvoy is carving a niche by applying modern electronic production techniques to influences from RnB, funk, folk & jazz, creating a unique balance of these diverse musical attributes while still maintaining core soulful elements within his material. Currently working on his first EP with the use of vocal harmonies and funk-infused bass lines over minimalistic percussion, Hoyvoy is a member of a burgeoning new generation of Indian artists to watch out for. His single ‘Taking Off’ taps into the wanderlust desires of an individual who travels all over the world in pursuit of spiritual experiences, capturing the emotion with searing vocal intensity supported by a rhythm section focused on boiling funk.
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While some musicians are born with an instrument in hand, Prateek Kuhad was a relatively late bloomer. Growing up in the small city of Jaipur, he went to the USA to pursue a university degree at New York University, where musical discoveries such as Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan & Woody Guthrie inspired him to get serious about the guitar and write his own songs. A pair of early EPs – one in English, one in Hindi – put him on the map with a sound that blurred the lines between organic folk intimacy and lush pop appeal, and his full-length debut was an instant hit. ‘did you/fall apart’ showcases Kuhad’s poignant and introspective approach through his rich, vivid lyricism, transcending genres and borders in order to speak to the deeper truths of shared human experience in all it’s messy splendour. His mesmerising vocals tap into deep wells of emotion, floating over gently fingerpicked guitars and ethereal synthesizers. Having garnered a slew of international accolades and honors through a recent publishing deal with LA-based Cutcraft Music (alongside the likes of Chet Faker, Izzy Bizu, and CP Dubb) Kuhad has cemented his status as a breakout star not just in his native India, but across the world.
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Aditi Ramesh quit her job as a corporate lawyer and set forth on pursuing a career as a full-time musician. An exemplary vocalist with a herculean voice complemented by a range of techniques and tonal modulations; her inspiration stems from blues, jazz and traditional Carnatic music in which she trained in her childhood. A remarkable rise in her career was instigated with the launch of this year’s EP ‘Autocorrect’, demonstrating her true calibre as a composer, showcasing her classical training and strong musical sensibilities. The EP’s strongest track ‘Efflux of Time’ is a masterful exercise in building looping melodies, and contains one of the most deliciously unexpected vocal transitions; conveying a message of time being the healer of all wounds.
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Mumbai-born singer-songwriter Nikhil has travelled far, wide and within, the better to write his songs and give voice to his innermost feelings. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Jeff Buckley and Ray LaMontagne, he also incorporates a range of Indian instrumental influences to create heartfelt, irresistibly melodic compositions, some excavated during his adventures and honed over time, some with the paint still wet. His romantic lyricism and the crisp folk-soul versatility of his voice has taken him all over the world, from Singapore to the United States to London, England, where he is currently based. His album ‘Silver & Gold’, which includes the single ‘Love is a Liar’, focuses on the difficulty of sustaining modern day relationships; a hopeful ode to falling and staying in love, and a tribute to the ones who have made it last over the years.
Born in Mussoorie India, with roots in New Zealand and South Africa, multi-cultural acoustic singer Jordan Johnson moved to New Delhi at the age of 8. He began experimenting with open chords, tunings and eventually started writing his own songs; fast forward to 2018, and the 23 year old has recently been voted one of the top five acoustic acts in the city. A year of self and musical exploration resulted in a 4 track EP titled ‘Afterglow’ which was released in March this year; single ‘Superman’ was written in the months before he got married, when he found himself at the crossroad of family and self expectations, with the soul-bearing sound of his haunting melodies creating a somber, melancholic vibe. The artist also performs live as the ‘Jordan Johnson Trio’ alongside Akshay Deokuliar (drums) and Harshit Misra (bass) who add different elements and explore more of what the music has to offer.