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“The phrase ‘Music has no language’ is getting so relatable now that there isn’t any barrier” – In Conversation With Apurva Tamang

Born in the foothills of Himalaya, Apurva Tamang is a singer/ songwriter based in Mirik, Darjeeling. Entering the Entertainment Industry as a child sensation from after gaining fame as a singer in ZeeTv’s Sa Ra Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs 2009, he was also a part of of Indian Idol Junior (2013) and Indian Idol Senior (2018). In a conversation with us, he talks about his inspiration, upcoming songs, and the Nepali indie music scene. 

1. Tell us a bit about your project. How did you begin your journey as a singer-songwriter?

I started my music journey when I was 2 years old but I never thought I’d be a songwriter. I used to write bits of poetry and random melodies when I was in middle school. My actual songwriting journey began in 2020 when there was a lockdown due to Covid-19 and I decided to release my first ever Nepali original ‘Sano’. The massive response to the song led me to write and create more music and that’s how my journey as a singer-songwriter began.

2. Which bands/artists were your first love and who is your biggest influence?

I never religiously followed any artist or band but my playlist was full of different songs from various genres. I remember being a diehard Belieber when I was in my teens but my biggest influence in music will always remain my grandfather Shekar Dikshit a.k.a Benjo who was also my first music teacher. 

3. You just released a single, ‘Shuddatah.’ Tell us a bit about it. What’s the song about?

Shuddatah which means Purity is a song about the initial phase in a relationship where everything seems honest and pure. The song talks about the feeling where you love each and everything about your partner and make beautiful memories all along.

4. What was your music-making and recording process like?

I have a small home studio where we made this entire EP with my music producer Manish Gurung. The music-making process was different for all the songs in the EP. Sometimes I wrote a melody and Manish gave a rough production idea on it and sometimes it was the other way around. Basically it was a very creative, collaborative and fun process altogether.

5. Tell us about the EP ‘Vishakta’ as a whole. 

‘Vishakta’ is an EP of 4 songs which bind a story. It talks about different phases in a relationship and the after effects of it. From being in deep love and slowly getting into a toxic relationship to realizing that ‘you are your first priority’, ‘Vishakta’ is a story about all of us.

6. Why do you make music? What drives you as a musician and what are your songs about?

Music has always been a very vital part of my life. I never had a second thought while it came to making and creating music. It has always been my priority even before I remember doing it. The honest answer to why I make music is simply because of the love for the art. 

The only factor that drives me as a musician is that I find my happiness and peace doing it. My songs are mostly about what I really feel and what I am going through in real life but few songs like ‘Kahi Katai’, is a song I wrote for a friend of mine who was going through depression and anxiety and also because I felt like this is something to be talked about openly.

7. Which Indian bands or artists do you admire? And why?

Arijit Singh is someone I look up to as an artist from the Indian Music Industry. The versatility, texture, techniques and simplicity makes him a total package.

8. What’s your take on the independent music scene in India?

I feel glad seeing the independent music scene being accepted by such a mass in India today. So many artists getting recognised and sharing the same platform feels surreal. I just hope this gets healthier as it grows.

9. What would you tell a person who doesn’t have much of an idea about the Nepali indie scene?

I would love people to listen to the Nepali indie music as it is slowly growing and gaining an audience gradually. The phrase ‘Music has no language’ is getting so relatable now that there isn’t any barrier.

10. How was it being a child sensation and attending widely broadcasted music competitions?

I have vivid memories about the reality shows I’ve been to but then I’d say it’s an amazing learning experience. It was a great start to my musical career.

11. What’s your takeaway from participating in these competitions? How has it helped your music?

I wouldn’t push someone to participate in it because I feel like everyone has their own experiences in reality shows. My experience was pretty good but then also I got out of it in a perfect time realising that original music is what I want to work on.

It has helped me a lot in discovering my own space in music. The mentoring that goes in the reality show is something I appreciate a lot. But really, it is not the reality shows or mentoring sessions or courses that make you a musician. The overall learning experience while struggling throughout is what keeps you grounded and makes you a genuine musician.

12. How was it representing your hometown? 

It’s always an overwhelming feeling when it comes to representing your hometown. Going on tours and having people tag your name with your hometown is such a surreal feeling. It also gives fellow struggling artists from the hometown motivation to work more on the craft and join the community.

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