“For most independent musicians sustainability is a dream” In Conversation With Shillong’s famous Andrea Tariang

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Andrea Tariang has long been associated with music. A singer songwriter who has been a regular feature alongside a lot of different acts in the past, doing stints in Mumbai and Shillong, hails from a family of musicians and is the daughter of acclaimed guitarist Rudy Wallang of blues-rock band Soulmate. Having starred in feature films like ‘Pink’ and ‘Nerkonda Paarvai’, Andrea’s love for music made her initiate the The Andrea Tariang Band, a project between her and Shillong based guitarist and singer-songwriter Gregory Ford Nongrum of the highly revered Blue Temptation band. The band released their debut EP called ‘MY TIME’ earlier this year. We spoke to Andrea about her EP, the various artists she collaborated with and much more. Read the full interview to find out.

1. Since you come from a family of musicians, you must have grown up with a lot of music around you, but do you remember your first encounter with music or any particular childhood incident that made you want to become a musician?

Yes, I have been around music all my life, thankfully! My first few encounters that i remember fondly is with the family doing the Bob Marley tribute concert.

2.  Which artists and bands have had the biggest influence on you?

Here are some names that immediately come to mind : Emily King, Leanne La Havas, Carol King, Karan Joseph, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin to name a few.

3. You released an EP earlier this year called, “My Time”, tell us a bit about it. 

“MY TIME” is very special to me as it’s a compilation of songs that i had written and kept since i was about 16/17 years old. Its a very small piece of my life that you get a look into. Each song has its own story behind it which is basically about my life and things I’ve been through.

4. You’ve collaborated with a bunch of musicians for the EP. How was the experience like and how did they fall in place?

It was such a great learning experience for me working with such talented friends/ artistes. Having each one of them lend their skills made the songs even more special and colourful. I couldn’t be more thankful to all of them for being a part of this. 🙂

5. What is your music making and songwriting process?

I can only write when i am really inspired! and this inspiration can come from anything really, like something I’ve read, a line from a film or a song, poetry and sometimes from just feelings that i have at the moment. I also get inputs and ideas from friends and family and just go from there.

6.  Do you think the Independent music scene is improving and becoming more sustainable now in the North East? What’s the major difference that you see with regard to the music scene in NE vis-a-vis any metro city, namely Mumbai or Bangalore? 

For most independent musicians sustainability is a dream haha sad but true. While there are definitely more online platforms now days, there are also a whole lot more people getting into the music thing too, so its a huge challenge to get through all the clutter. The metros still have far more venues and events to play at plus more disposable income so there is a difference for sure.

7. One Indian independent artist that you really want to collaborate with at some point of your career?

I have had the privilege of collaborating with quite a few artistes, but if i had to choose, it would probably be Ambika Nayak (nothing anonymous) or Mali.

8. Do you think musicians in the NE have a bit of advantage when it comes to acceptance of one’s music by the audience? (We have always heard about how most people from NE have a good taste for western music or music in general. We want to know how far is it true when it comes to the actual scenario.)

Times have changed, the world is becoming one in terms of reach, so its all about the quality of music. Music fans of all genres here, like everywhere else, listen to the same stuff and hence you’re compared with the best out there, it isn’t as localized as it used to be.