Anatomy of the Genre
Given the fact that the music industry has evolved so much in the age of the internet, it's extremely difficult to club songs into a specific genre. I've had varied influences in my music. From The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd of the Classic Rock era to Modern Pop Artists like Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars.
I intend to keep music as diverse as possible, but it's much easier said than done. The sole common thread that probably binds a lot of my songs is that they are based on social causes. On issues relevant to common people, or issues that should be informed to common people. Of course I do make a lot of songs about things a normal songwriter would. But yes, cause centred songs also make a big fraction of my originals.
Tremors from Last release
My newest release titled ‘Homecoming’ got live on Christmas Eve and it was pretty much the best day to do so.The song speaks about a bunch of friends having a much awaited reunion at the end of the year. The last week of the year, for almost all parts of the world, is earmarked by people getting back home with their loved ones. And the song actually reflects the same via a protagonist who finally gets a chance to take a ticket back home and meet people - who he calls family.
Musically, it is pretty much a pop-rock number that has a gush of emotions, but most of it remains to be smiles and laughter.
Audio streaming is still very new to the Indian listeners. Most of the music consumption still happens via YouTube. In fact, if we look closely, a good number of people don’t have any audio streaming app at all. For an indie artist, they have to be visible at wherever the audience can be. And we can’t undermine the power of social media in this.
Most of the audience are oblivious of the indie scene. I’m sure if they got a chance to listen to other songs, they would love them. India has so many wonderful artists, both in the film industry and outside. The onus is, at large, for the audience to explore more music. I mean, they can definitely opt to not stream their music again. But the artist deserves a first listen.
It’s pretty much impossible to knit-pick just one out of the dozen fondest memories you had on stage. I’ll perhaps go for one gig that happened much before I even started my independent project. It was with my band ‘Bandishein’ at Overdrive Music Fest 2014. We were very alien to doing gigs outside our hometown back then. But reaching a different city, and having more than a hundred people remembering your song word-by-word was unbelievable. We did so many gigs after that, but maybe the first time always hits a little different. That is perhaps why it would remain one of my favourite on-stage memories.
An Ode to the Roots
I hail from Bhopal. A lot of my family members are musicians and songwriters. The instinct brushed onto me too. The city has a few spaces that are very conducive for all forms of art. Ranging from theatre to painting, all of it. I was fortunate enough in getting introduced to them. All of those experiences shaped me into knowing how to express better.
I still feel I am at a very nascent stage of my music. The support from the people around me has been overwhelming. I personally have had the luxury of people who believed in my music more than I did. And for a lot of artists, that is the first push they need.
There are many. The biggest being able to talk to the amazing people we cover and know about their journey in person. Talking to people who are bringing massive changes in the lives of people through what they do is a blessing. It gives your learnings and insights of real-life situations where a solution was found. Gives you the motivation to keep tinkering until you find a way out.
And no, I wouldn’t second guess my choices. Even if this was one sci-fi moving where I can go back in time and change something - I’d still pick doing what I am doing. Both running The Optimist Citizen and making music. It makes me what I am. It’s difficult to imagine my life without either of it.
Apart from being a musician you also run The Optimist Citizen“, how did you conceive the idea? What inspired and motivated you?
It was a very simple idea. Everyday we saw tons of negative news about war, crime, terrorism, corruption bombarding our mental space. While we all acknowledge that these are issues one should know about, we were sure that there are an equal number of positive inspiring news which never see the light of day. That’s why, almost five years back, The Optimist Citizen - A purely positive newspaper was born. It has in fact become much easier to explain why we started a Positive Newspaper after the year 2020. We all have pretty much experienced it first hand of how toxic news can become, and what impact it has on our minds.
“Forbes 30 Under 30”!
This will sound very cliched, but yes one can never stop talking about the people they meet at the Under 30 summit. At one place, under one roof , one could talk to one of the finest people of every field. Be it tech, sports, entertainment, social sector or anything else - there was someone who was exceptionally good at it and you could take a lot of inspirations from their journey.
For us, it was a big push. People started noticing The Optimist Citizen after the recognition. For a fledgling startup, it was the impetus it direly needed. And for everyone in the team too. We come from really humble backgrounds. Our parents have been extremely supportive of our start up but were always worried and skeptical about what we are doing. And that’s something any parent would do and should do. This one recognition made them believe in us. Ofcourse, making your parents proud is anybody’s dream. Isn’t it?
What’s coming up for you down the road?
Well, bigger plans. Haha. The Optimist Citizen is exploring avenues to make sure positive news and constructive journalism is accessible to everyone. We are now facilitating ways to connect our socially conscious readers to the amazing people we write about and thereby scale up the impact.
Music wise, I’ve a series of originals lined up. I have very recently contacted a few other artists to collaborate on an EP/Album of sorts. This will help me experiment more with my music and bring dexterity to my songwriting. Maybe 2021 will be the year of collaborations, I am keeping my hopes on that.