The Delhi-based artist’s third single, her first in English, recounts the all too familiar restlessness of a sleepless night through sombre vocals and a heavy-hearted tune.
For most part of the year, Tanmaya Bhatnagar, a freelance graphic designer and singer-songwriter from Delhi found herself stuck in a lockdown in Germany where she was visiting a friend and learning German. Long-standing plans of getting her music produced by a studio took a backseat due to the restrictions, paving way for the release of a raw, self-recorded debut single, ‘Kya Tum Naraaz Ho?’ in April. The melancholic songwriting and untreated guitar strumming struck a chord with her audience, garnering up to 500k streams on Spotify to date. “I decided to share a very personal story about where the song was coming from”, she says, accrediting its success to the honest vulnerability with which the song talks about her difficult relationship with a former partner.
After returning to Delhi last month, Tanmaya doled out her third single, ‘I Can’t Go Back To Sleep’, revisiting the old tug of war. “When you get out of an abusive relationship, you carry a lot of weight with you which is really hard to talk about in general”, she explains. With her latest release, she attempts to express the sleepless nights endured thinking about what could’ve been. The quiet, bittersweet melody she hums came to her in a dream one such night, paraphrased in the song as – I dreamt about you, my darling, You gave me flowers and a song to sing. “I woke up in the morning and tried to translate whatever I saw in the dream”, she recalls of the songwriting process. Amar Pandey lends sensitive and eloquent guitar work to the song. The artwork fashions a black and white image of a couple, caught sharing a happy laugh which Bhatnagar herself created.
The 27-year-old, who has been writing poetry since she was a child and practising songwriting for a handful of years, while also studying and pursuing graphic designing says, “I put out Kya Tum Naraaz Ho? with zero expectations,” about her debut streaming hit. The single even caught the attention of the creators of Comedy Couple, a ZEE5 original film. A song too special, Bhatnagar refused to give it away and proposed writing a fresh piece for them, resulting in her second single, ’Kya Ye Tumhe Pata Hai‘ which features on the film.
Drawing inspiration from artists like Elliot Smith and Lucy Rose, Bhatnagar remains unaffected by her early success but believes sharing something immensely personal and having people relate with it is a powerful feeling. At the moment, she is working on her first EP and freelancing as a graphic designer, waiting for, like many of her contemporaries, to perform live again.