One man, 28 voices
Musician Clynton Fernandes's original a cappella track is a great example of how self-reliance can produce eclectic and catchy sounds.
As a singer-songwriter, teacher and an entrepreneur, Pune-based Clynton Fernandes found himself "stumbling and fumbling" when the lockdown hit the city. "I was used to running around, meeting students and jamming with artistes. Although life had suddenly slowed down, I wasn't used to it; none of us were," he shares. It is this restlessness that pushed him to be creatively self-reliant, such that he virtually became a one-man orchestra for his new a cappella track, Break the chain, in which he has voiced over 28 kinds of sounds.
With a catchy chorus that goes 'Break the chain before it breaks you,' the song, which has a Gospel genre-like vibe is an instant pick-me-up, and has been getting a lot of attention on social media. But this unique, solo a cappella, wasn't the first thing on his mind when the world shuttered. Fernandes, who hails from Goa and moved to Pune in 2007, has spent the past decade hustling to establish his music career and his coaching academy. "With the sudden restrictions, I was really worried about my academy and how I could create music without meeting my fellow musicians, producer, engineer or the studio. But on the bright side, I had just set up a home studio with some basic equipment, so I was able to start online classes, and eventually also make music," Fernandes says, adding that he found inspiration in the world of Instagram, Indo-China skirmish and even Raksha Bandhan, to compose a few songs during the lockdown.
The idea of doing an a cappella song, something he had never done before, only came up during a conversation with his producer, Johnston D'Souza in June. "At first, I was stumped. But then I decided to give it a shot. And the next thing you know, I was up at 4 am the next day, making random sounds in my recording space. My wife thought I was crazy!" he chuckles. For the next few days, Fernandes made different noises including some Jungle Book-style yodelling, heavy bass sounds, soft piano keys, and all sorts of harmony. "Each time I made a sound, it had a new edge. I didn't know where I was heading with this, but that was the best part, because I was enjoying the process. The idea was to not give up till I found something I liked," he adds. The lyrics — 'Maybe we just run away from every/ Emotion that could set us free/ Always only be the question/ Never really solve the problem,' — too, are a reflection of this desire to explore not just a new format, but also his own capabilities as a musician.
After a few days, when he had an audiobook of sounds he was happy with, he decided to pen down the lyrics. "That was the hardest bit, because unlike my other songs, the lyrics had to match the tune and the sounds. I knew it had to be a song that resonated with the current predicament, and was positive. It was about making the most of the situation," the 34-year-old tells us.
The whole process, from playing around with the sounds, composing the lyrics, to deciding which sounds should go where, and finally, shooting a video, courtesy his selfie camera, took about 20 days. There were numerous blooper moments as he donned several hats — of a composer, singer, conductor, and videographer to name a few — but somehow all of it came together with some virtual help from friends. "Finding a balance in life even when things aren't going great was my idea behind the song, as that's how you break the chain," he shares, adding that we can expect more such a cappella tracks in future.
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