Named by Rolling Stone India as one of India’s 10 emerging female musicians, Shubhangi Joshi is always experimenting with new songwriting themes and musical elements. Her unique musical style, combining enthralling storytelling and smooth vocals with powerful melodies, has made her and her band ‘The Shubhangi Joshi Collective’ a name to reckon with in the Indie music industry.
Basking in the success of her recently released single ‘Foolish’, the singer-songwriter talks to Rajitha Menon about music, poetry and astrophysics.
When did you realise that you wanted to make a career in music?
This was back in school; I used to play in the school band and would participate in competitions and events. Gradually I realised that music made me happy and it would be great if I could keep at it for the rest of my life. Also, the fact that my family was musical inclined influenced me too — there was always music playing around the house.
Tell us a bit about your new song…
‘Foolish’ is very different from the kind of music I usually create. I collaborated with Ajay Jayanthi for it. He is a celebrated carnatic violinist and I have always admired his work. So when an idea like this struck me, I went with an almost plain composition to him to see what could be done. He turned it into something very lush yet retained its simplicity.
How would you describe your music?
I want each song of mine to explore something new. Lyrically, my works deal with different topics that make people think. Melodically, I am influenced by genres like soul and jazz.
Any time when you felt this was not the right choice to make?
There have been moments of doubt, of course. Like immediately after I quit my corporate job. It was an unnerving shift. And when things take time to happen, like they usually do, you keep asking yourself if this will shape out. Fortunately I have been surrounded by friends who have always believed in my music and they inspire me to carry on.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I read a lot and about different things. So something that forces me to think is fodder for new material. Or something that I see on the streets, social situations where people interact with each other and scenes from daily life — all of these inspire me.
Does being a poet help one be a better musician?
Yes it does. It makes one comfortable with expressing what’s on their mind and that too in limited words. Though the process of writing is different, the sentiment behind writing poetry and writing music is the same. And it has helped my transition from poet to musician.
If not a musician then…
I would love to be an astrophysicist. I have always been an amateur astronomy buff but when I tried to study it properly, I couldn’t make heads or tails of the equations. Maybe in some other life (laughs).
A time when you goofed up on stage?
Once I forgot the lyrics while doing a cover on stage. But I managed to get out of it quite gracefully by humming along with the tune.
A dream venue?
A simple atmosphere where people come to watch the artiste with an open mind and not just keep munching on snacks while one is performing.