The inspiration for musician Mali’s new track talks about how we get a kick out of doing things compulsively even though it could be potentially dangerous. It delves into the realities of addiction, taking a very sharp turn from her former inspirations of lost love and friendships. ’The song’s inspiration came out of nowhere actually. I saw a guy try to light a cigarette and he ended up almost burning his hair off because the lighter flame was set to full. This gave me the idea of writing a song about the very act of smoking and the confusing messaging around it,’ recalls Mali. More about her new track below.
What’s your creative process of writing, producing, and performing your music, and what are some of the tools and techniques you use?
It starts with me writing a song, when I’m completely alone at home. I’ll record it, hear it back and make a basic demo. Once I’m happy with it, I get in touch with a producer who I think would be the right fit and then we begin a process of getting to know each other as people, musicians and music fans. The track begins to take shape over days, weeks or sometimes even months, and is finally mixed and mastered. Getting on the same page as your producer is crucial though. You’ve got to understand their workflow, their strengths and preferences but at the end of the day the most important thing to do is to communicate effectively and honestly or else both parties will be unhappy.
How did you get together with Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor, and what are some of the challenges and benefits of working with a producer from a different genre?
I’ve always looked upto Keshav, not only as a guitar player and producer but also as a trailblazer in the music industry. Something about the sound of this song told me that Keshav would be the best person to take the song to and it would also give us a chance to work together and get to know each other. He’s one of the most easy-going and feel good people to work with and because of that the ideas really flowed. At no point did I feel like our genres and backgrounds proved to be an impediment to our collaboration.
How do you balance your roots in Chennai with your current base in Mumbai, and how does that influence your musical style and vision?
Right now, my life in Chennai is just my family and friends. Most of my work happens in Mumbai and that seems to the case even more as time goes by. So my Chennai trips are reserved for home cooked meals, beach visits and family time.
Who are some of the artists that inspire you, and how do you incorporate their influences into your own sound and style?
I always dread this question because I find that I’m more inspired by specific songs or albums or even eras of music rather than an artist’s full body of work. I could make a playlist of individual songs that influenced me but will find it hard to list all of the artist who did because there are just too many!
What are some of the goals and aspirations you have for your music career, and what are some of the challenges and opportunities you face in achieving them?
I want to take my music to every corner of the world. Especially to countries were English music is consumed far more than in India. Being an artist who writes and sings in English is both a huge boon and a bane. On the one hand, sky is the limit and on the other, it’s much harder to be heard extensively in your own country. I see this as an obstacle only in the short run and I hope to in some small way put India on the map when it comes to Pop music in my lifetime.
Words Hansika Lohani