Indo-American singer-songwriter Subhi creates a captivating mix of Hindi folk and American pop in her songs. Trained in Hindustani Classical music, Broadway vocal as well Opera, Subhi holds a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School, New York City. Her latest single, Cage, defines what it takes to deal with the lockdown. Excerpts from an interview:
How did you create Cage?
For me, a ‘cage’ is about experiencing a writer’s block, a time when I cannot create. As a songwriter, there are times I feel as though my thoughts, ideas, and emotions are blocked. Cage is all that. Although Cage talks about being frustrated when you are blocked from doing what you love, it celebrates the joy you get once you break free from those limitations, with no psychological strings attached, so I can fly and re-discover myself. I feel people will be able to relate to it as we are all tied up these days, physically and mentally, due to COVID19.
Tell us more about your other single, Mehfil.
Mehfil is a love song that emphasises the right to choose who you want to love. Everyone should be free to love who they want to irrespective of their gender, religion, caste, or creed. In a world where there is so much hate, I want to create music that feels good and positive. The music video and song have a simple message, ‘Love who you want to love because love is love’. The song has been well received and was also on the Spotify curated playlist ‘Women of Indie India’.
How are you reaching out to your listeners/fans in the pandemic?
I have decided to release one song per month for the rest of the year. It is a challenge, but I feel people need music today more than ever. Music is a beautiful tool that not only calms your mind, but also gives a sense of hope and comfort. I am also doing acoustic live Instagram shows from home, and trying to engage with my fans on social media more than ever before.
What more can we expect?
I will release my debut English EP by the end of this year. Once the COVID-19 situation is under control, I will plan a North America tour followed by a tour in India. I don’t think there will be any big gatherings or festivals this year, but I look forward to performing live at smaller intimate venues. There is a sense of warmth in performing live and interacting with the audience. I miss these human connections and am eagerly looking forward to those days.
How did you come up with the idea of blending Hindi folk and American pop?
When I decided to pursue music full time, I had just moved to Chicago. Chicago is known for the jazz and the blues, and so I decided to combine Hindi folk songs with pop jazz in my debut album, Shaitaan Dil. After this, I started performing live solos, as well as with other musicians in a duo setting. Jazz wasn’t my calling, but it allowed me to experiment. The American and European musicians I worked with followed the emotion of the song to play along as they didn’t understand Hindi. All this resulted in fusion of Hindi Folk and American Pop. These days I am experimenting with modern American pop.