BENGALURU: Saahil Karmally was on a flight to Dubai in November last year when he witnessed various accounts of cultural discrimination, including treatment on the basis of caste and religion. The 21-year-old multi-genre electronic music producer channelled his thoughts on the experience into his latest trilingual single Habibi, produced in English, Hindi and Arabic. Bengaluru-based Karmally, who goes by his stage name ‘Melli’, asserts that his idea behind being a music producer is simple – to promote unity through music.
“To make someone smile is enough motivation to make me work harder. We live in a world where cultural discrimination is real and I aspire to break these barriers by doing what I love and loving what I do,” says Karmally, whose music has featured at major music festivals in the world including Belgium’s Tomorrowland, BBC Radio UK and the Spinnin’ Records Headquarters in Amsterdam.
The single features a collaboration of artistes -- singer-songwriter Hatem Mukattash from Dubai, singer Ritvika Sunku from India and rapper Jay Kila from USA. But the idea solidified when Karmally met Mukattash. “He’s an engineer by day and I didn’t know about his musician side until we started spending time together. We sat down and penned down the track, which was then recorded. Jay Kila reached out to us and we recorded and added his parts after that,” says Karmally, adding that while the track had lyrical elements of Arabic and English, he was keen to feature a slice of India and that’s where he brought in Ritvika Sunku.
His tryst with music began at 13, thanks to his mother introducing him to electronic music. “I was intrigued by a DJ console at that age and my mother guided me across different genres. I further went on to explore music production and built on it,” says Karmally. Sonically, Habibi oozes out elements of electronica paired with a blend of melodic verses in Arabic and Hindi. This is stitched together with Kila’s smooth rapping, all in one fast-paced affair. Down the line, Karmally looks to maintain his current theme with collaboration from artistes across cultures. He adds, “I am working on a couple of new songs with Hatem and Jay and one with a singer from Ohio. Another track is with Belgium-based French rapper Loco, who will be a part of my upcoming tracks.”