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The sound of pop art love

Updated on: 02 March,2024 08:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shriram Iyengar |

Ananya Jafa’s latest single is a throwback to the harmonising vocals of songs about heartbreak, imbued with complex layers that highlight her growing range as producer

The sound of pop art love

Ananya plays the synthesizer during a rehearsal

February, as the heartbroken would remind TS Eliot, is the cruellest month of the year. It is no surprise then that one of the freshest music releases of the month evokes the sense of struggle with the self that follows a bitter breakup. New Delhi-based singer, and now producer, Ananya Jafa AKA JAFA’s new release, Words leave, stands out for its soothing pop overtones that elevate its lyrical poetry. The song is only the second release from the 23-year-old, but marks a gradual evolution of her style.

Style is a key part of the production as well. The song’s video captures the journey of complex social relationships viewed through the lens of a generation that grew up on Facebook and Instagram. The song is also the second part of a triptych, the singer reveals. “There is a third song as well, Parchment. The three are part of a common narrative. So, 2018 is written from my perspective. Words leave is told from the perspective of a second girl in the situation, while the third song is from the boy’s perspective,” she says over a phone call.

A moment from the music video. Pic Courtesy/Youtube
A moment from the music video. Pic Courtesy/Youtube

Yet, the song brings in the touch of soft melancholy and deep questions. These, layered with complex harmonics and subtle choral elements, add to the listening experience without drowning out the poetry. With the verses exploring themes of love, loss of friendship and rediscovery of the self, the soft-pop sound was a natural choice, says the singer who also produced the track. “I had the freedom to delve into details. It was instinctual since the lyrics were close to my heart. I realised that this is a bit more refined and lyrically complex. Subconsciously, the production style ended up complementing the verse play.
There is a lot happening rhythmically, so I opted for sounds that complement that,” she reveals.

Production is the latest addition to her repertoire, and not an easy one. Working with the Molfa Music Label, JAFA has already finished the master for the third track in the set. “Parchment,” she notes, “Is more complex in terms of harmonics. There is a little musical dissonance in the song, but it is my personal favourite as a musician.” While production is more challenging, the singer shares that she is enjoying it. With Parchment expected to release in April, the singer reveals that she has already started on her next set of projects. “While it is in the writing stage, I am open to experimenting with different sounds,” she says, insisting, “I am still growing a lot as a producer, and there is a lot of learning to do. There is time to experiment with many more styles. I enjoy hip-hop and would like to fiddle with rock sounds as well.”

For now though, it is Words leave that remains at the forefront. “It is a smooth track. The casual listener might not notice the harmonics that are thickening up the track, but they will feel it through the course of the song. As a producer, it is a compliment. If they [the audience] can feel it, without having heard it, that’s the key,” she concludes.
Log on to: Words leave on Spotify; Apple Tunes

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