BENGALURU: They say learning never stops. And in the case of Bruce Lee Mani, it doesn’t even after 25 years of experience in songwriting. The city-based musician, and frontman of Thermal and a Quarter, recently took on something called ‘A Song A Day’ project, wherein he wrote original songs daily for 30 days. This concluded on June 3 but all the tracks will soon be available as an album that can be streamed from July 22. “I’ve never consistently produced content in this manner. For the band too, it would take months to come up with new music. My assimilation period of watching and listening to other things before I begin would take a month,” says the 44-year-old. Currently, he is undertaking a new project - a song a week.
The initial project was a suggestion by Mani’s wife, who felt a creative outlet might help the musician deal with the chaos of the pandemic as April and May brought a series of bleak news - two kids down with Covid, vaccine shortage for his 80-year-old mother, an aunt and a cousin in the ICU and an overall sense of despair and hopelessness.
Channelling all this into music and lyrics helped Mani find light at the end of a dark tunnel. “Midway through, I felt excited to wake up and work on this project,” he says, adding that this was all done alongside other daily tasks like running a music academy, teaching students and fatherly responsibilities. Pleasantly, the quick turnaround eliminated any second guessing as Mani aimed to complete and bring out his song for the day, which were posted on his Instagram and YouTube accounts.
With his first solo album just around the corner, one can’t help but wonder if this means things are taking a new and different turn for Mani. “My loyalty will always be with Thermal and a Quarter,” he assures. The band completes 25 years this year and more are yet to come. In fact, Mani and the other members - Rajeev Rajagopal, Leslie Charles and Tony Das - have gone back to jamming in person. Two singles are in the pipeline with a possible retrospective to look back on their journey.
And the other members have been nothing less than supportive of Mani’s solo project. “The project started small but as things got serious, I did worry if I was doing something wrong or was causing a fracture. But there was no conflict, no insecurities, no feeling of my work for the band being shaken by what I am doing on my own. It only made us stronger,” says Mani. Bruce Lee Mani’s solo album comes out on July 22 on Spotify, Gaana, Apple Music and other streaming platforms.