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MUSIC

Sway To The Melodious Tunes Of Ukulele

Who can deny the powers of the lovely Ukulele over the mind, combine that with a beautiful
voice and you have all you need for a lovely chill session.

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Ukelele covers

Ah the Ukulele! It’s not hard to wax poetic about this instrument for it has the unique power to evoke bittersweet nostalgia and happiness with just some strumming. A member of the lute family of instruments, it is usually a four-stringed guitar-like instrument whose inception is credited to the Portuguese immigrants in Hawaii. From there, it gained humongous popularity in the United States and soon took over the rest of the world. Such is the nature of this beautiful world that we live in, that this instrument now has virtuosos from all over the world and India certainly isn’t far behind.

For instance Arya Dhayal uploaded an incredibly unique fusion of ‘Radha Kaise na Jale’’ composed by A.R Rahman for the feature film ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Havana’ by Camilla Cabello supported by, you guessed it: the ukulele. The seamlessness with which Arya’s voice transitioned from indian to western was nothing short of astonishing. Many worlds collided to create this piece of art and if you haven’t opened another tab to watch it at this very instant, you might be missing out!

Credits: YouTube (Arya Dhayal)

Bringing us a cover of the song ‘Tujhko jo paaya’ from the movie ‘Crook’ is Parbani Sinha. In only a minute and nineteen seconds she has shown her mastery over the sweet instrument and presented us with a unique rendering of this underrated song.

Credits: YouTube (Parbani Sinha)

On June 18th, Kavya Narayan released her soulful imagining of the song ‘Baarishein’ by Anuv Jain. The strumming of the strings marries her melodious voice so beautifully that you might be in the danger of listening to this on loop again and again. What can we say, the talent the lovely people of our nation has simply cannot be encompassed.

Credits: YouTube (Kavya Narayan)

We hope you enjoyed these covers! Happy listening. What songs do you think would sound perfectly with the Ukulele?

MUSIC

Shifting Careers to Follow Your Dreams: The Euphonious Journey of Arunansh Bhatt

Arunansh Bhatt gives us a glimpse into his creative process of making music, his experiences in Bollywood and his journey so far!

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Arunansh bhatt

Shifting career paths once you start working in the corporate world isn’t easy. Yet, Arunansh Bhatt made this difficult decision because he knew he had more to give to the world. Music oozed from within him. Hence, he went on his pursuit of happiness by following his dreams. Though he faced a few obstructions through this journey, things played out well. And today, he stands amidst his accomplishments as he shares his story with us!

When It All Started

Born and raised in Lucknow, Arunansh Bhatt comes from a family of musicians and artists. Whilst his father is a Tabla player, his mother is an incredible Kathak dancer. So, evidently, he was surrounded by classical music from a very young age.

However, the art of the creation of music posed as much more intriguing to him than performing. He shares how random tunes would flow through his head. However, he admits that he didn’t have the technical skills to give them physical structure. Therefore, he wouldn’t pay any heed to them.

Arunansh Bhatt mastered the tabla from his dad. And later, in school, drums enraptured his mind. Eventually, this skill came to be of great value when he formed a band in college. In fact, soon after this, he also learned the guitar. All this knowledge of instruments helped him give the random tunes in his mind a proper form. And now these tunes were brought to with chords and strings.

When Engineering Just Didn’t Feel Right

Arunansh Bhatt graduated from Vellore Institute of Technology with an Engineering Degree. Post which he worked in an IT company for about a year. However, quite soon, it dawned upon him that he wanted more. The corporate 9-5 job routine was simply not meant for him. He admits that music was the only thing that kept him out of a depression that year.

He started doing background scores for independent films to sustain his sanity. Within a few months – April 2017 – he released his first independent single ‘Mitwa’. Finally, after a year of trying to stay sane, he took a leap of faith and quit his job in June 2017.

Credits – YouTube (Arunansh Bhatt)

Retrospectively, Arunansh Bhatt confesses that this is the most courageous thing he has done. Whilst the corporate job did have its own set of pros, they were all short-term. Materialism wasn’t something that ever excited him, he says. And that is all that the job was providing him – Money, with no meaning.

Further, he expresses immense gratitude to his parents, who were highly supportive of his decision. Soon after quitting his job, he joined A. R. Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in Chennai for a music composition course. This stemmed out from his admiration for the well-renowned musician – his talent and hard work.  

When He Began Pursuing His Dreams

As luck would have it, on the last day of his course, Arunansh Bhatt received a call from one of his friends from the LV Prasad Film Academy in Chennai. He wanted music for the end credits of his film. One thing led to another, and Arunansh ended up being a part of 5 diploma films.

Soon after, he shifted to Mumbai with big dreamy eyes and a determined mind. However, within a short time, he realized he was on his own. He knew he wanted to assist someone. Since that would be the best way to learn and experience the real world of the music industry. Admittedly he contacted several music composers, scored a few meetings. But all was in vain.

“We might not see the reason at first but, if there’s a failure, that’s because there’s an even better success route waiting for you.”

Arunansh Bhatt

That was until he met Alokananda Dasgupta and worked as an assistant music composer with her. Arunansh’s first project with her was the popular Netflix show – Sacred Games. This was back in 2018, he says, when no one knew about this show. In fact, none of them expected it to become as popular as it did! He reminisces the surreal feeling of seeing multiple hoardings of Sacred Games on his way back home.

When Things Started Playing Out Quite Well

In hindsight, everything does happen for a reason. All the rejections he endured when he first arrived in Mumbai are all worth it. Because besides assisting Alokananda, he also resumed making music for various short films, most of which received immense praise in global film festivals.

He also gained the opportunity to work in yet another Netflix show titled Leila. This was also the first time he visited Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai. His journey continued; in 2019, he signed his first feature film as the music director! It was a Marathi film – Vrutti. In 2020, he worked alongside Alokananda in another popular film, Ak vs Ak starring Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap among others.

In the independent space, Arunansh Bhatt released his second single – Kahaan Hoon Mai, in December 2019. His song was inspired by a video of Varun Grover reciting the poem, ‘Hum Kaagaz Nahi Dikhayenge’. Post release, he received vast applause from people in the industry and commoners alike. In fact, he also got a response from Varun Grover himself, saying that it was beautifully written and composed. In fact, just last year, it got licensed for a major OTT show, so keep your eyes and ears wide open!

Credits – YouTube (Arunansh Bhatt)
A Small Message

He accepts that it is tough to pursue music irrespective of whether you want to be in Bollywood or not. Technical skills and financial planning are almost as important as mastering music itself. Undeniably, one has to learn about the business of music to monetize their talent.

Yet, if it brings you satisfaction and joy, you should take the fall. I stopped ‘working’ in the true sense the day I quit my corporate job, he says. Music comes to him naturally, like it’s inbuilt within his blood. So he left everything else, pursued something he knew would be tough. Yet his determination and hard work brought him to where he stands today.

His message for aspirants pursuing such unconventional career paths is quite simple. ‘Be true to yourself, he says. It is essential to learn the craft you want to pursue else your passion might eventually die out. You see, passion and skill are co-dependent. And most importantly, it won’t be easy. You will have your low days, but it will still be better than your best days in the wrong career.

And as you reflect on this wealthy wisdom Arunansh Bhatt shares, you can listen to his latest original ‘Tanha’ dedicated to his late grandmother.

Credits – YouTube (Arunansh Bhatt)
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MUSIC

Wishing Through The Silence Of Night: Rushabh Jain

A talented singer-songwriter, Rushabh Jain talks about his first ever performance on stage, managing a drunk crowd and his upcoming EP.

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Rushabh Jain

There is a brief pause between us before he dives in to recount his story.  There is a boyish charm to the way he speaks and, yet, it does not disguise the wealth of experience he holds behind him. Rushabh Jain, an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, has been moving crowds all over the country for quite some time now. Gearing up to release his first EP soon, he takes the time to walk us through his love for music and his journey so far.

Passionate about performing ever since he was a child, Jain recalls how, initially, he found it a little difficult to sing in front of a large audience. To overcome this, he decided to participate in a singing competition held in his school. Unfortunately, owing to some technical difficulties, namely in the manner in which the audio was set up, the experience turned out to be a little disappointing for him. He even remembers some of the audience members laughing at him. That’s a lot to take for a child of that age. 

Credit: YouTube (Rushabh Jain)

He took that in stride, however. Pushing himself to practice more, he performed again in the following singing competition. He went on to sing the track ‘Ma’ from the movie, ‘Taare Zameen Par’. In point of fact, he sang it so well that he moved one of his teachers to tears. That whole experience was foundational for Jain.

Soon enough, Jain had to move to another school, one that was much larger than his previous one. He admits having had some difficulty adjusting to his new surroundings, spending his time practicing, quietly, on his own. It was only in 10th grade that he was asked to sing at a school event. He attributes that particular incident for making him dive back into performing for a large audience. After that, there was no looking back, with him spending his time learning and growing his own grasp of music and participating in numerous competitions.

Perhaps the greatest catalyst for Jain to pursue music professionally was his move to Nagpur. Pursuing a course in Chartered Accountancy in the city, he was exposed to a whole scene where he saw others, like him, pursuing their own passion for music. Performing at an event in his institute, he was met with an exceptional response. It was, then, that he decided to dedicate himself to music completely.

Rushabh jain (@therushabhjain) | Twitter
Credit: Twitter (Rushabh Jain)

Indeed, it was a decision well made. Jain has gone on to perform all over the country. Hilariously, he remembers his first commercial performance on stage, back when he was still pursuing his Chartered Accountancy course.. It was at a club in Nagpur. He, however, was back home, preparing for his exams. Some last minute calls, a rushed trip to Nagpur over the weekend and he made it just in time for the gig. 

Jain spent the next few hours managing a drunk crowd and performing the same ten songs, on the insistence of his audience, over the course of three hours. Now, as he happily states, from ten songs he has gone on to have over four to five thousand songs in his repertoire, able to perform them at any given time.

That’s not all. Jain is, currently, working on his first EP. In the conversation, he talks about his own personal sound, one he characterizes as being melodious but also slightly dark. It is this same voice that he brings to the project he is working on. Going a little further, he talks about some of the core ideas behind the EP, titled ‘Raat’. As he says, ‘Raat’ is an amalgamation of his own personal interests and the hushed, quiet feeling that the night, sometimes, brings. Having completed around four to five tracks in the EP, he sets a tentative release date for December of this year.

Credit: YouTube (Rushabh Jain)

So far, in his journey, Jain, in his attempt to grow and evolve his own sound, has had experience with numerous competitions. As a matter of fact, he was declared the winner of ‘Rising Star’ in Nagpur in 2017 and then, in 2019, he went on to win the ‘Radio City Super Singer’ competition. He, however, draws a lot of significance from the places he just barely missed out on. Indeed, he made it to the final selection stages in numerous televised shows, including, but not limited to, Indian Idol. Growing from that, he, now, maintains a certain distance from such televised competitions, owing partly due to the nature of such programmes and, also, his own need to grow and evolve.

Diving a little deeper, Jain touches on how the culture of the Music Industry, in India, differs markedly from other countries. Citing the examples of singers, such as Prateek Kuhad and Anuv Jain, he talks about how, gradually, artists in India are carving their own space independent of any other factor. While the goal of establishing himself in the industry remains, he, also, stresses on the importance of artists being recognized on their own merit.

“The only thing I would say is to have faith in whatever you are doing.”

Rushabh Jain

With a remarkable journey behind him, Jain stands on his own personal experiences. He talks about how having faith, in your journey ahead, is of critical importance. His achievements and his failures, as he states, are of his own making. This idea, as a matter of fact, is the same bit of advice that he would give to others starting out in their own fields. Embracing your own reality, with all that it encapsulates, while having faith in the path you decide to take is, according to Rushabh Jain,  the secret to succeeding. That and a tremendous amount of practice.

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MUSIC

Let These Melodious Voices Control The Release Of Dopamine In You

Often when things fall apart, we find peace in music. Listen to these musical affairs to give your heart a rest.

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Music

Every song holds some untold story embedded within its notes and rhythms. Sometimes listening to one song floods our mind with thousands of memories; sometimes the vocals heal us when we are worn out. A favorite song of yours can explain you better than some words could – that is how powerful music is. Brighten up your mood, take you to revisit a place somewhere in your memories or to simply touch your soul – music does it all.

We bring you some talented musicians with voices that heal and maybe also drown you in waves of nostalgia.

We all have that one song that is capable of taking us back in time or maybe just open the doors to some memories residing in the back of our mind. For the talented duo JalRaj, ‘Toh phir aao’ and ‘Tera Mera Rishta’ are two such songs. The singers who don’t limit their craft within a particular genre have released a cover mashup of the two songs and it’s hitting home! The originals were such hits that are hard to top, but we are sure this cover comes pretty close!

Credits: YouTube (JalRaj)

Something about reverbed songs makes them more personal. You are able to catch the details the song holds somewhere within the layers. Listening to ‘Muskurane Ki Wajah’ in Anshumaan’s voice made the song more painful and it carries some more of privacy. The melancholy that surrounds the voice makes the feels 10x deeper and you can’t get enough of the cover! Drown in the melancholic feels here:

Credits: YouTube (Anshumaan)

You know the feeling of warmth that one sip of coffee spreads inside you while you stand in your balcony with cold wind blowing around? Or that feeling you get at the sight of the skies turning from orange to pink to red while they bid the sun goodbyes? Trishita’s voice gives you all those feels in her latest cover of ‘O Re Piya’ leaving you goosebumped. A voice so powerful that no instruments are needed and the entire cover is carried solely by vocals. With little to no editing, the video is raw. It is heartwarming to see her singing in the perfect high pitch voice so effortlessly.

Credits: YouTube (Trishita Recs)
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MUSIC

It’s More Than Just Frets And Strings: Shrey Gupta

Shrey Gupta, an incredibly talented fingerstyle guitarist and singer, talks about his love for the acoustic guitar and being relatable.

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Shrey Gupta

There is a slight drawl to his tone, his words a little soft. It is not unpleasant, however. In point of fact, you can sense hints of this same cadence in his singing. Shrey Gupta, an incredibly talented guitarist and singer, approaches our midday conversation with the same gentleness that he approaches his music with. Specializing in the fingerstyle technique, Gupta has, over a period of time, managed to garner a massive following, being recognized and acknowledged for his work by his audience and other influential figures, alike.

Picking up the guitar, however, was completely incidental for him. Wishing to enroll him in some form of a co-curricular activity, Gupta’s father took him to an institute where dance classes were being held. Upon reaching the institute, he chanced upon the music room where a single instrument caught his eye. That marked the beginning of his journey. However, it isn’t just the guitar that he is in love with. Gupta is also familiar with the sitar, the ukulele and does quite a bit of singing as well. No, scratch that. He sings quite beautifully. In fact, he released his debut single, ‘Kya Karu Tere Bina’, in 2019.

Credit: YouTube (Shrey Gupta)

Talking a little bit more about the process behind conceptualizing his debut track, Gupta reveals that he did not really follow a plan of action per se. Rather, he just wanted to put out what he had written. Indeed, it came from a place of pure emotion. The response, with which that track was met, motivated him to write more. He is, now, gearing up to release another single, sometime later this year. So, keep your eyes peeled.

“I saw that the acoustic guitar is more than just the frets and the strings. There is a lot you can do with the body of the guitar.”

Shrey Gupta

Gupta has a very characteristic sound, one that leans into being acoustic, backed by percussive beats. As he states, however, there was no specific reason in him choosing the acoustic guitar. In fact, he did experiment with the electric guitar back when he was in 6th and 7th grade. However, he sees the acoustic guitar as more than the sum of its parts. It allows him to do more with the instrument itself. To him, the acoustic guitar isn’t just a combination of frets and strings.

Credit: YouTube (Shrey Gupta)

His choice, in point of fact, did serve him well. In the conversation, he touches on how he received a lot of queries, with his audience being curious about what his own personal style of playing was all about. In that curiosity, Gupta saw an opportunity to introduce something new. As of now, he has held a few online workshops, touching on the basics of fingerstyle guitar. The responses to these workshops have been wholly positive, making him keep the idea of instructing others in the future an open ended possibility.

While he may serve as a mentor and teacher to some, Gupta, himself, looks up to the Ehsaan Noorani of the legendary musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, citing him as a constant source of inspiration. That’s not all. Despite having been noticed by many well known figures, both in and out of the music scene in India, Gupta consistently looks to grow, stating that he is eager to hear whatever it is that they are directing towards him, be it appreciation for one of his pieces or constructive criticism to help him improve. As such, he fondly recalls one of his live sessions with Ehsaan Noorani, reminiscing on how he had the opportunity to explore percussive fingerstyle guitar with the celebrated composer.

Meet Shrey Gupta, a fingerstyle guitarist, singer, and a multi-instrumentalist
Credit: Instagram (Shrey Gupta)

So far into his journey, Gupta has made leaps and strides, creating content around his passion for playing the guitar and garnering a substantial following on his social media handles. That, by itself, is a major accomplishment and, indeed, has not come easy. Touching on the importance of being consistent in creating and curating content, Gupta, additionally, stresses on how it is crucial to be relatable while, simultaneously, infusing your own personal style to any content you create. The idea, according to him, is to create something different without making it lose its essence.

Hints of this same approach can be detected in the way Gupta looks at his achievements. Taking his blessings as they come, he holds each individual milestone in their own regard. Just recently, in fact, he was signed by Kepma, a company, originally based out of China, with a focus on manufacturing high quality acoustic guitars. Even so, he counts his collaborations with the incredibly talented Shalmali as one of his crowning accomplishments. All of this did not come overnight. Gupta recalls how, for a period of time, he was not growing in terms of establishing himself. That, to him, was a disappointment, with him even considering quitting at a certain point. He stuck with it, however, dedicating time and effort to just getting better. That, he reaffirms, worked out well for him, with his own efforts being rewarded with not just recognition but also intrinsic growth.

“I ended up taking a major chunk of time and just used to practice and practice. I feel like that worked out really well for me.”

Shrey Gupta

Speaking from his own personal experiences, he stresses on the importance of being true to one’s own self through the whole process. That idea, he says, must be bolstered with consistent practice and the ability to see things as a whole. Through his words, you sense an individual who has, in fact, seen and accomplished a  tremendous lot. Shrey Gupta, however, may never admit to that. After all, a song, to the eyes of a musician, is always left unfinished.

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MUSIC

Two Lives, One Dream: Follow Jalraj’s Shared Journey In Music

Meet the brothers, Jalaj and Rajat, a talented musical duo, who have been pursuing their passion under the single, shared alias of Jalraj.

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Jalraj

Music can, often, be something that can tie people together, creating bonds where previously none existed. But what happens if instead of creating a bond, music is actually born from one? Therein lies the story behind Jalraj, a moniker used by the brothers, Jalaj and Rajat. What lies behind them is an interesting tale, one marked by pursuit of an accidental passion, a period where they almost gave up on their love for music and a driven resurgence in the face of complete uncertainty. It is a story punctuated not only by a familial bond but also a shared love for music, one that has led them to a point where they, finally, see the fruits of their own labour.

Born in Uttar Pradesh, the two brothers, on account of their father’s job, were raised around the country, spending a majority of their time in Himachal Pradesh, besides others. Coming from a family that stressed on the importance of attaining an educational degree, the two finished their Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering before serving a year out in the field. Music, incidentally, was a, quite literally, due to an accident. At some point in the past, Rajat managed to end up with a broken leg on his birthday. As a conciliatory gesture, their parents bought him a guitar upon his request. That marked the beginning of their musical journey.

Credit: YouTube (Jalraj)

Making music since 2011, Jalaj and Rajat state that not a single day has gone by where they did not stumble into an unforeseen challenge. The hardest phase for them, however, was when they were posted in different places. The YouTube channel they had started in 2015 had an uncertain future during that period. There even came a point where they considered giving up on making music, not just as a dedicated professional pursuit but also as a hobby. Those 4 years of uncertainty was, perhaps, the one point that truly questioned their dedication to music. However, at the end of it, both brothers just decided to go for it, quitting their jobs just before the lockdown in 2020 and dedicating all their time and effort to their YouTube channel. That, according to them, was the biggest leap of faith that they had taken.

Credit: YouTube (Jalraj)

And it was well worth the risk. Within 6 months of restarting their channel, Jalraj, as a musical duo, found recognition online. Their rendition of ‘Zara Zara Bahekta Hai’ gained massive traction. It currently sits at 55 million views and is still growing. Riding on the success and support they had received based on that cover, they were approached by Indie Music Label, in collaboration with whom they produced their debut song ‘Sunn Zara’. Those two songs marked a foundational point in their journey, one that helped them gain the recognition and support they have today.

“Success and failure go hand in hand, not just in music but in life as well.”

Jalaj and Rajat (Jalraj)

Even so, their journey, so far, has not been one without its own set of challenges. Leaving aside the initial period of uncertainty, the duo assert that failure, in fact, is part of every song they work on. The success, or the concept of it, only comes in when they finish the track after having faced and overcome the obstacles and challenges that each song brings. For Jalraj, success and failure are not mutually exclusive. Each endeavour brings its own set of challenges, the idea of success only comes with being able to face that challenge. And, Jalraj, as a duo, has been able to face each and every one of these challenges all due to their one true passion, that of making music.

It is in pursuit of their passion that they have been able to spread positivity and reach out and touch people’s lives in a manner that they, otherwise, would not have been able to. Indeed, their own success is founded on a single minded drive, shared by two individuals, to make music. They have followed their passion, yes. However, as the brothers reassert, they have done so in the face of everything that has been thrown at them. With each step, they have been patient and persevered where they could have failed. To others wishing to follow their own dreams and passion, they would advise the same. Patience and Perseverance. After all, someone did once say good things come to those who wait. And, for Jalraj, this is merely the beginning of everything good.

Credit: YouTube (Jalraj)

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