50 Indian Indie Musicians
Springtide|September - October 2021
THE LIST

RAMIL GANJOO

First-release: 2018

About the artist: Ramil Ganjoo, an independent artist from Mumbai, was raised in a creative environment with a sculptor father and artist mother. After joining guitar classes at 13, Ramil was already performing at 16. Ramil has previously composed songs for several commercials short films like Dayaan (2017) and the documentary Didi - Crime and Justice (2018). He released his first single, ‘Qadar’ in 2018 and later, his debut EP ‘Phir Kabhi’ in 2020. The album plays as an ode to love and romanticism. Ramil’s mellow love songs have a wispy and dreamlike quality to them. He admits to his songs being a way of communicating his feelings effectively. The relatability, however, is why many appreciate his music.

A must-listen: Dhundo Mujhe (Single, 2020)

MAAYA MATTOO

First-release: 2020

About the artist: Maaya Mattoo is a singer-songwriter from Delhi. Trained in Hindustani classical music since she was three, Maaya started her Western vocals and keyboard lessons at the age of 10. She went on to learn the ukulele and guitar. With a mixture of percussions and string instruments in her music, Maaya now composes a variety of Soul, acoustic-driven R&B and Jazz-Funk tunes. Maaya’s debut single, ‘Some Days’, was released in 2020. Before that, she covered the blues version of various rock songs on YouTube. The music she makes is melancholic and tranquil and hits the right spot when you’re feeling blue. Her songs reflect personal conflicts, self-awareness, heartbreaks, bad days and her way of coping with them.

A must-listen: Memories, For Now (Single, 2020)

DHRUV VISHWANATH

First-release: 2015

About the artist: The singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, Dhruv Visvanath hails from New Delhi, India. He spent a major part of his childhood in various parts of the globe, and via his music, he frequently retells his childhood experiences in colourful and innovative ways. Dhruv’s music, which is profoundly ingrained in his past experiences, is also inspired by them. Orion, Dhruv’s debut album, was released in 2015 by VLT Records. The Lost Cause his sophomore album, was crowdfunded and self-released in 2018, debuted at #2 on iTunes’ top albums at the time. His lyrics are about the innocence of being younger, as well as the baggage we all bear as adults.

A must-listen: Dear Madeline (The Book of I, 2021)

BURUDU

First-release: 2013

About the artist: Burudu was established in 2012, while Nakul and Sahil were still making music from their university dorm rooms. The two faces of the Mumbai-based electronic band met at Kingston College, London, in 2012, and quickly discovered their common passion for music, forming the band a year later. They quickly discovered that their blending of distinct individual preferences and directions was producing something unique, so they stuck to it. Burudu’s electronic music is therefore a blend of percussion, drums and other musical instruments, all of which contribute to the grandeur of their music.

Burudu had been experimenting with their own voices in the studio and on stage recently. This is evident in their latest album, Speaking of Listening, released in July 2019. It is the result of the duo’s previous synth-based music expertise, as well as a refined grasp of how to write shorter songs with a clear message.

A must-listen: Llamas (Single, 2019)

GRAPEGUITARBOX

First-release: 2019

About the artist: Teenasai Balamu, aka Grapefruit, was born and raised in Bangalore. While playing their guitar since they were 15, Teenasai is also a professional sound engineer. They spend much of their time advocating for intersectional feminism, queer rights and mental health issues. If it sounds like a familiar voice, you’ve probably heard them on a short created by Tinder India. Music earlier had helped Teenasai cope, which explains their dedication towards their music. Their debut single, ‘Run’, was out for the world to enjoy in 2019. Through their breezy and touchy songs, Teenasai talks about liberty, expression and love. Inspired by the best, Teenasai mostly makes indie-pop music.

A must-listen: Wait For You (Wait For You, 2019)

KARSHNI

First-release: 2019

About the artist: Karshni Nair, only addressed by her first name, is a singer-songwriter from Pune. Her “mellow soul/pop” songs are uninhibited expressions of her emotions and experiences. Karshni’s music is her diary; her songs probably capture her personality better than plain words could - even the instrumentals. Her lyrics are mature and poetic. She captures the essence of loneliness, agony and complex human emotions that can’t otherwise be explained. However, she has found a way to do it all. Karshni launched her career with her first single, ‘FOMO’, in 2019. Since then, her collaborations with the experimental-electronic duo ‘Three Oscillators’ have been very fruitful. With a distinct electronic-acoustic equilibrium, Karshni has found her niche in the industry.

A must-listen: Pluto (Single, 2020)

TANYA NAMBIAR

First-release: 2017

About the artist: Tanya Nambiar, a versatile singer from New Delhi, is also a voiceover artist and an entrepreneur. Tanya derives her inspiration from an eclectic mixture of Jazz, Soul, Rock & Roll songs but does not conform to a particular genre. Tanya’s untamed, sensual and husky voice adds several dimensions to her bold music. She sings about desires, being independent and comfortably expressing female sexuality. Tanya, a former vocalist of the rock band Gravy Train, first went solo with her 2017 album ‘Good Girls Gone.’ The album is fierce and rebellious - a far cry from the typical Doris day type. Tanya seems to know what she wants and her music embodies her personality perfectly.

A must-listen: Love Letter (Good Girls Gone, 2017)

FRIZZELL D’SOUZA

First-release: 2020

About the artist: Frizzell D’Souza is a singer-songwriter from Bengaluru. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in architecture and started writing songs to document her experiences. She began her musical education with violin lessons and later went on to learn to play the guitar, piano and even the ukulele. Frizzell D’Souza is the type of musician whose music instils a sense of peace in you; she achieves this through her beautiful voice and guitar strums. With two debut tracks already out in 2020, the young singer is one to keep an eye on. Her debut single, New followed by Drown Away are both excellent creative works inspired by themes of love, desire and nostalgia.

A must-listen: Foolish Once Again (Single, 2021)

HANITA BHAMBRI

First-release: 2018

About the artist: Hanita’s music can best be described as soulful and tranquil. The Delhi-based singer-songwriter already has a lot of accolades to her name, along with scores of listeners. Her tunes are known to be influenced by personal and deep reflections.

Her songs are, quite effectively, an insight into her true essence. Her music, revolving around loneliness and love, brings people to a level where they can also feel connected with her. Her debut single, ‘Let Me Go’, released in 2018, is an eloquent rendition of the construct that one has to adhere to the aimless ideals in life. Her lyrics are relatable and intensely meaningful.

A must-listen: KTMBK (Single, 2021)

KAYAN

First-release: 2020

About the artist: Ambika Nayak has done a lot of noteworthy work and also some spellbound solo work of her own. Her stage name – that sends audiences thinking – is simply her last name, but flipped. Her tunes make her a memorable singer. Along with this, she is also a DJ, a model and also heads two bands! Exposed to our rich Indian culture right from the beginning, her roots are as strong as ever. Her debut single, ‘Please’, released in 2020, is a melancholic yet groovy tune. With lyrics that are more of an ardent plea for someone to stay, the song easily stands out as one of her best works. For Ambika, songwriting is an essential way to express her energy. Her music is just as unique, ranging from soulful to even electronic.

A must-listen: Cool Kids (Single, 2020)

QIRDAAR

First-release: 2019

About the artist: Qirdaar is a band that is humble in its roots and passionate in its music. Active since 2017, Qirdaar continues to make better music and find their style. The band is making waves in the genres of hard and soft rock and alternative music. The members came together with a sheer and shared dedication to music. The band debuted with their self-titled album, Qirdaar, in 2019. The album is inspired by the various hats a person has to don, courtesy of society and life’s challenges. Hindi being their go-to language, Qirdaar’s music complements their deep lyrics, coupled with some signature heavy guitar work.

A must-listen: Fakire (Qirdaar, 2019)

ATUL GUPTA

First-release: 2018

About the artist: Atul Gupta is a rapidly emerging artist in the Indian indie space. Giving college the thumbs down, Atul has only had steady growth as a full-time musician, at only 20 years old. He has already released two albums, debuting with My Best Days Were With Her in 2020. A third album is also lining up for a release. His music is an easy pick for the chill category, where songs have slowed down tempos and establish a relaxing ambience. His songs are regarded to be calming and soothing, easily taking listeners to a tranquil space. Lyrically, the songs pose as memorable tunes for his audience.

A must-listen: Be With Me (My Best Days Were With Her, 2020)

DAKSH GUPTA

First-release: 2019

About the artist: Daksh’s music is an easy definition of soulful and also inspirational. He also plays a number of instruments which makes him truly a multi-talented musician. Debuting in 2019 with Coming of Age, the single has beautiful chords and Daksh’s soulful voice. His music also tends to be intensely personal, often dealing with the self or a loved one. Frequenting guitars often, his music is calming and complete with raw and deep lyrics. When one needs cheering up, Daksh’s beats like Pastor and Rise are going to be easy fixes for unwanted blues.

A must-listen: Pastor (Single, 2019)

ZOE SIDDHARTH

First-release: 2020

About the artist: Zoe Siddharth is a myriad of talents rolled into one. She is an actor and a model, along with being a singer-songwriter. Her music is all about the good vibes and empowering people from within. Zoe believes her music is home to people who want to have a sliver of peace. Zoe’s biggest turning point was when she was a part of a reality show, The Stage. She was made aware of the bustling indie sphere in Mumbai and learnt a lot about the art. Since then, she’s released two singles and also been a part of the music for the popular Amazon Prime Video series Four More Shots Please!

A must-listen: Human (Single, 2020)

CITIMALL

First-release: 2020

About the artist: Citimall, a Mumbai-based hip-hop group, has eight members, each with distinct personalities embodied in their songs. The members are producer Soham Mukherji aka Soham, fellow producer and rapper Aryan Vakharia -Mad Prophit, MCs Arsalaan Abbas - A$AP Allah, Aditya Arun - Don Cody, Ishaan Rao - Midnight Swami, Ninaad Surana - Shmuel the Rabbi, Nathan Soloman - Skinny Moses and hype men Aryan Shetty and Naitik Jain aka CA Johnny Jain. The band was assembled following a meeting at their producer’s house after a trip to the movies. Their music is loud, energetic and hip as hell. They don’t shy away from experimenting with the most unorthodox beats. After their 2020 debut single ‘Mexico’, the group released ‘Watch’, their latest single in August 2021. Their music is an amalgam of the Bombay posh and rogue, the theda and the medha, the Bandra and Borivali.

A must-listen: Drunk (Citimall, 2020)

CLIFR

First-release: 2020

About the artist: Chlipher Chris, aka Clifr, is an electro-funk music artist from Bangalore. Trained in Western Classical music, Clifr started his guitar lessons at six and gradually picked on more instruments. Now, he makes electro-funk and hip-hop experimental music. Clifr’s music is fun, funky, enthusiastic and fresh. He first began his career with his 2019 single ‘State O Mind’. In collaboration with RANJ and Issamood, Clifr’s latest EP, ‘593 Vol. I’, are songs of passion, lust, sins and desires. The album - a rather saucy one - is a diverse mixture of jazz, pop and electronica. His beats only get fresher and funkier with every song.

A must-listen: Schoolbus (593, Vol I., 2020)

CORNER CAFÉ CHRONICLES

First-release: 2016

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