Tricity-based musician Pranav Chadha, a regular at the open mic events here, recently released his new track Jaan. With a consistent yearning to learn more and being immersed among creative people is what took him from Delhi to Mumbai to Italy. CityWoofer had a chat with him about his journey and his creative process.
Tell us about your latest track Jaan?
Jaan is a simple and sweet melody that I wrote for a girl I was dating at that time. She didn’t want any birthday gift from me but just a song. I took up that challenge. Interestingly the melody came to me while in an autorickshaw on the way to meet her. The song remains, while we have broken up quite a while back.
It was great to have gotten my friend Milan Mandalia, an ex-batch mate at Swarnabhoomi Academy Of Music (SAM), Chennai, to have produced it. His ideas of guitar phrasing and other percussive ideas gave this track a lot of vigor. Also, getting an accomplished violin player, Ajay Jayanthi, through the collaborative start-up named Srround was amazing. And lastly, Navneet, another ex-batchmate at SAM did the Mix and Master. He lives in Los Angeles, and studied Audio Engineering from MI (Musicians Institute, LA).
I wrote the lyrics of this song, and my friend, a budding screenwriter, Ankur Dang, wrote some really scintillating lines where I was getting stuck. I love the idea of collaborating and this track vouches for that.
Can you share about your experiences performing at open mics in the Tricity?
I’m new to the Chandigarh Tricity and I love creative people. So for me, performing and even attending open mics is a refreshing thing to do. Of course, you feel vulnerable when you have to perform something original in front of everyone. You feel the nerves but you still do it. One really grows in an art form. Brilliant performers in open mics were quite raw and bad in the beginning. What irks me sometimes are performers who talk during others’ performances and are only interested in getting their video made and leave the open mic as soon as they have performed. It’s not respectful, and it’s sadly self-centered. I have experienced this in Chandigarh more than in Mumbai. However, I feel I’ve really enjoyed performing at the open mics, seeing the response.
When did your tryst with music begin?
I started my journey quite late when I was in MA or actually after that. I used to go for Hindustani classical Bansuri classes at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Delhi and I would occasionally take vocal classes as well. There was always an inherent inkling to learn music but then I immersed myself in it. I got a Gurukul Scholarship offered by SPICMACAY to stay at Pandit Hari Prasads Chaurasia’s school for a month. That was beautiful. After that, I felt I wanted to do composition and started learning piano. I would go through the grades fast. I cleared exams in Hindustani vocals as well till Madhyama Pratham. Later, I felt I could go to a school as I was always willing to get an education in music. That’s how it started.
I had a regret that when I was a cricketer, my coaches never were willing to teach me the basics properly and that hampered my growth in the long run.
How did you further diversify your creative skills?
At SAM (Swarnabhoomi Academy Of Music), there was an amazing environment. Our apartments were inside the campus and the teachers were in the same building. They were all performers/pedagogues and teachers from abroad and there was also a Carnatic side to the curriculum. I got heavily into western music, jazz and pop. Upon the recommendation of my teacher Raphaelle Brochet, I did my second semester in piano instead of vocals. After coming back from SAM, I got very interested in vocal technique and improving my ear. On the suggestion of a few friends, I joined the Neemrana Music Foundation choir in Delhi and also started taking Western Classical singing lessons. That changed my life considerably. The approach to technique and intonation, everything was so different. I loved the projection, the theatrics and the music. I started getting solo roles in operas and operettas that Neemrana and other ensembles did.
What led you to Italy?
I had moved to Bombay, and I was doing some basic voice-overs and jingles. I would also play keyboards for some gigs. I still keep learning different musical approaches and theories. In 2018, because of my obsession with vocal techniques and related therapy, I went to New Voice Studio, Italy, to learn from two interesting teachers who completely got me back in an effortless singing zone after forcing myself over the years in singing. They told me that I am a Dramatic Tenor instead of a Baritone. And I could see their point. It was akin to a Bollywood story – I read an article, approached them and got in touch with them through many emails and inquiries. I was probably the only Indian they have ever taught. I am suffering from Tinnitus and need to take compulsory breaks from music. As a result, I haven’t been able to go back and further my understanding of the intricacies of voice. Post-Covid my hearing and tinnitus got worse. Amongst all of those difficulties, I’ve been fortunate to release my single ‘Jaan’.
What inspires you to create music?
I love the idea of creating an emotion through melody and rhythm. Music for me therefore is a way of self-expression. I have an intention of spreading love and joy in the world through my art and music is one of those ways. I love to be creative and I love to explore.
Can you share about your professional experience in this field?
I have acted and sung in operas and have done private recitals as a baritone, operettas like El Niño Judio And Los Claveles. I have made jingles for brands like Patanjali. I have done background scores for short films like Khoon Aali Chitthi for which I won an award at a film festival. I have done live shows as a singer in a musical trio and played keyboards for some bands.