A song for everyone

Singer-songwriters Kamakshi Khanna and Shubham Roy get candid about their relationship with music

Bengaluru’s music scene has always been about inclusiveness. We are known as a city that accepts every artiste and form of music known to man.

Hence, it is no surprise that Delhi’s Kamakshi Khanna Collective and Shillong’s Shubham Roy felt at home at their recent gig at The Humming Tree.

“What we want is for people to listen. We don’t expect them to like our music. We just want their attention,” affirms an enthusiastic Kamakshi before the gig.

Rising to fame after her stint on reality TV show The Stage, the singer-songwriter, who brought the house down with her soul and R&B music at the gig, says she is quite kicked about performing in the music capital for the first time.

“When I formed the Collective, I wanted people to listen to my music in a broader spectrum. I only had two songs back then, but I loved the idea of having the band play my music and express it in their own way” she admits.

The Collective, formed in 2014, has an EP and a full-length album to their credit. There have been multiple changes in the line up which Kamakshi describes as “always evolving and growing.” Working with the band, she confesses, “Is a bit slow but steady and this group has taught me more about music than any school could have.”

The goal of the band, the singing star affirms, is to keep making music. “This is going to be a constant in my life. I want to continue with the Collective as long as I can.”

 

What goes into her song-writing process? Kamakshi explains: “It starts in my room, with an idea. I share it with the band and they add their bit to it, so it is not just my song any more. It is everybody’s interpretation. It is beautiful to see this unfold every time I work with these people.” Making music, at the end of the day, is about “Putting yourself out there, believing in your music and taking in how people respond to it,” she sums up.

Experimenting with folk

Shubham Roy, who also had the crowd on their feet during the gig, also loves to share his passion for folk music with his audience. “Folk is earthy. The kind of folk that I generally play is called Sylhet folk, which is a dialect in Bengali.

However, I wanted to experiment with multilingual folk and fusion. So I dabbled with Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil folk. Now I have a repertoire of songs in seven languages.” The multi-faced artiste, who has a diverse audience at his gigs speaking different languages, tries to sing in all of them so he connects with everyone. Most of his original compositions, however, are in Hindi and Bengali.

Shubham recalls that his love for folk music was rooted in him as a child.

“I have always been into folk as long as I can remember. My mother and grandmother were both musicians and I started singing with them, even before I went to music school. That is how this innate interest came into being in me.” Shubham today adds his own twist to folk music by creating a fusion with other genres.

Where did he get the idea to make fusion music? He replies: “I listened to a lot of artistes who made reggae and blues music. That’s what inspired me to integrate that music with folk. People will naturally listen if folk is fused with something popular, like reggae.”

However, the musician believes that folk, in its original form, is just as pleasing to the ear, as it is in its fused formats. “Folk caters to a very niché audience. Fusing it makes it more interesting to people who otherwise would not listen to it.”

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