Sounds like reality

Updated: Feb 09, 2019, 15:58 IST | Karishma Kuenzang

A Mumbai artiste talks about why she studied music production and wanted her crowdfunded video to have snippets of women alone

Sounds like reality
Radha Priya

When she moved to Mumbai from Delhi to pursue a course in advertising in 2013, guitarist and vocalist Radha Priya aka noni-mouse decided to record her original work, which requires a lot more than simply recording the compostion. So, she reached out to acquaintances to suggest solutions.

Soon, she grew tired of the mansplaining that she faced. So, last year, she decided to embrace another passion - learning music production, which would also arm her with all the information she needed to produce, mix and master tracks all by herself.

Stills from the video
Stills from the video

"Just having control over an instrument wasn't enough for me. I wanted to do it all by myself - the engineering and mixing. Another reason I wanted to be good at it was so that I don't have to sit next to a guy and have him explain something to me and make it a process which inflates his ego, or have the chance to make himself feel bigger than me," explains Priya.

And so, she enrolled for a year-long course in music production at a recording school in Vancouver. Now, the 28-year-old is back in Mumbai, and is making all the right noises with the crowdfunded music video of the original, Closer To You. The video is a series of snippets sent by people, where they are either singing the song, fixing their hair or even lighting a cigarette. She uploaded a story on Instagram and sent emails to those who responded, accompanied by the lyrics of Closer To You, asking them to send her a video of themselves doing whatever they want to in front of their laptop camera with the song playing in the background.

Stills from the video
Stills from the video

Though the lyrics echo the isolation and rejection she experienced in Canada, where her only conversation with people was via Skype, and the composition stems from her final project at the recording school, composed during a beat exercise in class, followed by a vocal melody jotted down in the evening. She initially wanted to only include snippets of women. "That would have been even closer to my perspective. Generally, in this industry, there aren't too many women, especially when it comes to the technical aspect," informs Priya. While at recording school, she noticed that the only other girl in her course was her flatmate!

"I know women who are interested in music production and are curious to learn the skill. They need to be given the space to do it; on some counts, I feel they might even do it better. But mansplaining is a big problem. And men start treating it like a sport - where they become competitive about it. Women are competitive too, but not in the same way. This attitude also throws a lot of women off from taking the technical route because of the territorial landscape.

It is quite intimidating, and women feel like they are overstepping. The more women inform themselves, the less they will have to hear men explain," she elaborates. And though there are women who are entering the field, they need more recognition that will hopefully spur and inspire other women, too.

The song also features fellow student and vocalist Matt Dumas. Priya is currently working on her debut EP - a mix of trip hop with pop - which should be out by the end of this month. Expect hook-ey pop-inspired melodies, with a generous sprinkling of organic percussions to add to the texture. "A feel-good factor with a little bit of melancholy is the best way to put it. They will be accompanied by videos," Priya signs off.

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