2019 on shuffle

Updated: 13 December, 2019 08:40 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi | Mumbai

A new feature by a streaming platform is all everyone can talk about.We roped in five musicians to understand what they listened to this year, and why you should check out their top artistes too

Around the world, people seem to be having issues with the idea of sharing. Music is one of the few surviving bastions of hope where sharing is commonplace. Spotify, a streaming platform, is trying to leverage that — plus this generation's obsession with customisation — with a new feature called Spotify Wrapped. These wrap-up cards have been created to help users recap what their year looked like musically, and serve as a personalised and detailed audio trend analysis for both listeners and artistes. The trend exploded on social media, with some sharing their cards and others making jokes and memes of it. Wrap-up cards are a great way to discover new music. So, we spoke to five city-based musicians from across genres to see what their 2019 chartbusters lists look like.

Pop the charts

For singer Lisa Mishra — whose numbers have featured in latest Bollywood films like Judgemental Hai Kya, Good Newwz and The Sky Is Pink — growing up in Chicago meant Kanye West was a go-to artiste. This year, too, Mishra has spent hours listening to the popular American rapper alongside other pop outfits. "Kanye is our hometown hero. He's a music legend, so I'm always listening to his work, and especially his first three albums," she shares. Talking about her analysis, she tells us, "I am not at all surprised by the results. I fell in love with Mabel this year. Her sound is so fresh and a great mix of R&B, EDM, pop and hip-hop. From my top five artistes, I recommend classical composer Erik Satie, whom I discovered during a yoga class in Bali! I heard one of his works called Gymnopedie no 1 and I'm so happy to have that as part of my top songs, because I listen to it whenever I have to relax."

Top Artistes
. Mabel £ Jax Jones
. Alexandre Tharaud £ Zero 7
. Anne Queffélec

Venkat Subramaniyam

Something for the soul

Four-piece ensemble Sanam's bassist, Venkat Subramaniyam, better known as Venky, spent the year listening to soul. The popular musician tells us, "Soul music has definitely been my go to this year. Apart from listening to personal favourites, I also dug curated playlists on the app like Soul Lounge and Rare Soul Grooves. I love the use of images and album art in Wrapped. It's interesting to see how my music taste varied through the year and to my surprise, Lamberghini was the song I had listened to the most number of times." Venky suggests you check out Wes Montogomery. "He is an octave-playing genius on the electric guitar. Fried Pies — Take 2 is my favourite song."

Top Artistes
. Wes Montgomery
. D'Angelo
. Bill Withers
. Bruce Springsteen
. James Brown

Aditi Ramesh

Jazz it up the Brazilian way

"It was cool to see the range of artistes I listened to this year. The analysis was on point because I've definitely binged on each of them at different points," says Carnatic-trained vocalist Aditi Ramesh, whose works are heavily influenced by jazz. For Ramesh, the year was understandably jazz-heavy. Echoing this, she shares, "My favourite artiste from the Wrapped card is Ernest Ranglin. His music is a precursor to modern reggae and he is credited as a forefather of the genre. It's satisfying to listen to the jazzy, bebop-flavoured, reggae and soul sound."

Top Artistes
. Ernest Ranglin £ Astrud Gilberto
. Frank Ocean £ Bob Brookmeyer
. João Gilberto


The raj of reggae

Musician and sound engineer with city-based hip-hop crew Swadesi, Joshua Fernandes found the Wrapped feature to be a useful tool in understanding his growth as a listener. "It is a cool feature because by the end of the year, we can find out what went down in our heads as listeners. And it was nice to see the kind of music I dig," he explains. Reggae was Fernandes' top genre this year and out of his most-listened to artistes he recommends Indian acts, FuzzCulture and Daira. "FuzzCulture is known for their grungy riffs, which they add to pop-heavy electronica music. They have a great sense of sound and therefore, are a must listen. Whereas Daira pioneers Awadhi Rock, a genre that tries to emulate sounds from the region through powerful vocals, riffs and bass lines," he adds.

Top Artistes
. Tigran Hamasyan £ Robert Glasper
. Bob Marley
. FuzzCulture
. Daira

Maalavika Manoj aka Mali

Is indie pop your jam?

A few months ago, independent artiste and singer-songwriter Maalavika Manoj aka Mali caught our attention with her single, Mango Showers that is as beautiful as a song, as it is cautionary in its aesthete. For her, the year teetered towards Indie Pop. "I think the analysis was pretty spot on. I listen to a lot of different music, but there are a few artistes, albums and songs that I tend to obsess over. Of my top artistes, I would personally recommend Weyes Blood, Maggie Rogers and Sharon Van Etten, because they are all stellar songwriters, who've put out great music this year. Also, I think people have a set notion of what a female singer-songwriter should sound like, but these artistes shatter those stereotypes with their compositions and production. I relate to that very much."

Top Artistes
. Maggie Rogers
. Weyes Blood
. I'm With Her
. The Midnight
. Sharon Van Etten

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First Published: 13 December, 2019 08:25 IST

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