World Music Day | Artistes who are amping up indie music scene, one beat at a time - Hindustan Times
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World Music Day | Artistes who are amping up indie music scene, one beat at a time

ByAkshi Sharma
Jun 22, 2024 02:28 PM IST

Close on the heels of world music day, we talk to independent musicians from the region who’ve attracted a dedicated fan base

Independent musicians are finally getting their due recognition and they are leaving no stone unturned to transform the music industry with fresh sounds and innovative approaches. With the region’s unique cultural heritage and diverse linguistic tapestry adding distinct flavours to this burgeoning scene, we talked to select indie artistes who are carving out their own space with quirky compositions that often blend traditional Indian sounds with contemporary genres like hip-hop, rock, and electronic music

Amar Jalal
Amar Jalal

Amar Jalal

This indie-pop sensation marked his presence on the musical landscape with ‘Nasha (Equals Sessions)’ in 2019 and never looked back. Amar, 26, recalls how his passion for music started flourishing at a tender age.“My musical journey kicked off right when I was in kindergarten,” quips Amar, who underwent professional training during his college days. Endorsed by Ayushmann Khurrana, Amar’s singing took to new heights when his song, rebranded as ‘Jehda Nasha’, became a part of the actor’s film.“I am currently giving final touches to my next project, which will be released next month,” says Amar, who boasts of 3.2 lakh monthly listeners on Spotify. Talking about independent musicians, he says such artistes must step up and gain a foothold in the music arena.

Veda Laayla

Veda Laayla
Veda Laayla

She has been playing live music since 2016 and DJing for the past three years. Thousands of fans and followers of this 26-year-old artiste vouch for her live techno sets, which she plays at least twice a week at multiple locations. A prominent face at micro music fests organised in and around Chandigarh, Veda sings folk songs and poems in at least 16 regional and global languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, and Spanish. Asked to describe her music style, she says, “As a DJ, I play a specific sound of techno music, which is fast, groovy and dark at the same time. I include a lot of vocal samples and loops in my sets.” Armed with a guitar, percussion instruments such as djembe and daf, and her powerful voice, Veda has set her eyes to merge her electronic and live music personalities together.

Hemanshi Sharma

Hemanshi Sharma
Hemanshi Sharma

A trained sitar player, singer and songwriter, Hemanshi, 24, had first tried her hands at guitar when she was just 10. And today, she has figured on the Spotify playlist of ‘Fresh Finds India’ for her song, ‘Jahan Aab Hai Beheta’, that has been saved more than 50,000 times. Terming music as an art of living for her, she says, “My musical repertoire comprises a very mellow and dreamy, yet quite progressive and grungy music aura. I make progressive music, so personally, my musical choices are always emotionally drawn.” Asked about what she feels would be the next big change in the sphere of music, Hemanshi says, “The current musical landscape of India is growing quite exponentially across all genres. The country is welcoming indie music and artistes with open arms and that’s something which will rule the charts in coming days.

Kuldeep Chandel

Kuldeep Chandel
Kuldeep Chandel

Work of this prodigy, who started singing around 20 years ago, is essentially a fusion of many styles, with Indian classical music always holding a prominent place. Currently pursuing a PhD in music, Kuldeep, 28, says that his compositions always carry a particular essence. “However, I listen to a wide range of genres, including rock, pop, metal, and instrumental music.” On independent musicians, he says, “Not many years ago, the musical landscape in India was dominated by the Indian film industry, leaving a little room for indie artistes to flourish. However, with the advent of social media and audio platforms, new talents are finding their audiences. During the peak holiday seasons, remember turning down around a dozen offers to perform due to my commitments.” Asked what change he wants to bring through his music, Kuldeep says, “I would strive to produce music that inspires the new generation positively and encourages them to choose music not only for their peace of mind but also as a fulfilling career path.

Anoop Pandey

Anoop Pandey
Anoop Pandey

A handpan maestro, Anoop describes himself as a music buff since childhood. “Handpan music is mesmerising and meditative, blending percussive rhythms with melodic resonance. Its enchanting tones evoke calm and introspection, drawing listeners into a tranquil and emotive auditory experience,” says Anoop, who is also venturing into sound healing domain. Speaking about what music means to him, he says, “It is my emotional language. It becomes a medium for me to express myself in the most raw and real form. For an introvert like myself, music is my voice, a way to share my happiness, excitement and fears with others.” On social media, he says the medium has democratised access to music, making it easier for independent artistes like him to connect with broader audiences. “What’s also great is that there’s a growing interest in fusion genres that blend Indian music with global styles, which is where I fit in,” Anoop, 36, concludes.

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