I wouldn’t say music is something I’m exceptionally good at, I mean I never studied music theory or anything of the sort. However, I can confidently say I’ve developed a particular perspective of music within the confines of my own mind.
In a world where pop culture (and everything else) is saturated to the brim, how do you remain confident in creating something that’s “different”? You don’t, and I think that’s the magic of it all.
If 15-year-old me knew even 10% of my present life I know he’d freak out, and there’s something intrinsically beautiful about that. Of course it’s not all glamorous, there’s more behind the veil.
Bottling things up was my natural instinct. I wouldn’t even give things a chance to resonate in my head, which led me to be numb with my feelings. Coming from an Indian background, my culture is one of many factors that contributes to this instinct, but developing the ability to express my feelings through song has been therapeutic and necessary.
I moved to Montreal, Canada from Dubai on a whim with no real context on the city. With my dad grooming me since birth to be a businessman, I really didn’t oppose much, or even feel anything in particular towards starting an undergraduate program in economics and marketing in a place I had no idea about. Fast-forward a couple months into school I constantly found myself missing class, socializing with my peers and doing just about anything other than working. I wouldn’t really consider myself a loner, but I think there were real moments when I found myself isolated in my dorm room and for the first time exploring music like never before. I was so intrigued at the time with the sounds of Ben Howard, and I would imitate his guitar techniques, write lyrics, and practice singing, as a coping mechanism to avoid the world outside.
As much as I tried to keep my new found passion to myself, I knew I had to express myself outside the realms of my room, so I started sharing my new found medium of feeling to friends and performing at low key open mics. My parents had no idea at the time and of course I didn’t want there to be any questions about my academic concentration levels. Roughly a year later at a little open mic a friend of mine suggested, “why don’t you record some of this music & release it?” I looked at him like one of those memes with the question marks all around.
“I decided to change my state of mind, my social settings and my relationship with myself, until I finally felt a sense of clarity and confidence within my songwriting.”
After shrugging it off and further contemplating the whole “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” quote flying around, I put together a little raw acoustic EP called Oceanwalk with the concept of water being a carrying theme that covered notions of distance, change and sense of home.
I then put out another EP (Cold Nights) while in school, dabbling more in the soundscape and utilizing more production techniques, but it was only when I finished school that things really began to change. I decided to change my state of mind, my social settings and my relationship with myself, until I finally felt a sense of clarity and confidence within my songwriting.
“I’ve realized that what I’ve been searching for this whole time was…me. There are still huge strides to be made in that regard, but the process is underway, and it’s all thanks to music.”
I reset it all, developing a mindset of not needing to appease anyone and finding enlightenment in solitude. I slowly phased out surface-level “friends” and “social interactions,” especially those that insinuated elements of toxic masculinity and instead searched for conversations that screamed muse and inspiration. Distancing yourself from prejudice is easier said than done. It will always linger but knowing separation means elevation comforts me.
So writing with this new profound feel of my emotions exhilarated me and culminated in the making of my full length album Will You Think Of Me Later. This record is a timestamp and reminder to myself of all the beauty and sadness within all of us.
I think the point of it all (if any) is that I’m finally feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve realized that what I’ve been searching for this whole time was… me. There are still huge strides to be made in that regard, but the process is underway, and it’s all thanks to music. That ability to express myself through song helped me to feel more life and explore my own vagrant mind, and although I’m still not 100% sure I know what I’m doing, I know I’m being true to myself. I think that’s the magic of it all.