KOCHI: For many of us, music is a friend for every ride. For Swapna Abraham, her fondness for it began when she was just four years old, at a boarding school in Ooty. Coming from a lineage of church music, with her father being a choir master, she was inclined towards gospel music. Swapna started writing her songs while she was 15 years old. When she joined college, she started performing and soon branched into western music. Fast forward to now, Swapna has released 22 albums, 19 of them with gospel tunes. Her newest release is from her upcoming album ‘Loved’.
“Musicians these days tend to gauge success by fame and money. If you ask me, it doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t think what is mainstream is going viral for its quality. So I keep making music that means something to me, and I don’t think about how many views it gets,” says Swapna. But she had her days when she struggled to keep her passion burning. “Sometime in 2017, after nearly 25 years of making music, I decided to quit. But I thought to myself, I will do something extremely difficult and then stop. So I decided to do a 1,000 days, 1,000 songs challenge,” she says.
And she did. Between April 8, 2017 and January 2, 2020, Swapna wrote and performed 1,000 songs and now owns a place in the Golden Book of World Records in four categories, including the ‘quotidian feat of composing, producing and publishing a song live unceasingly for 1,000 days’. “I put out 1,000, but I would have composed around 2,300 songs during the time. Almost 200 of them were for kids,” she says.
Looking back, Swapna remembers the grit it took. While she was visiting her parents in Tripunithura, Kochi, she would run pillar to post for a stable internet network. “The worst was when I was visiting my daughter in the US and caught the influenza. My daughter told me to put the challenge on hold. But I kept going with it,” she says.
Immediately after she finished the challenge, Swapna quit her job as an administration manager. “I have been working on my album since. ‘Loved’ is very personal to me. The eponymous first song that I just released is an ode to my children. All the other 11 songs have something to do with the many shades of love – some of them I have experienced, some I have witnessed. It brings out love in all the places,” she says. Swapna is also gearing up to set a Guinness World Record. “It is all about keeping yourself happy and fulfilled. Like the song from my album goes ‘love yourself for a little while’.”