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From classic ragas to electro riffs

San Francisco-based singer Devika Chawla talks to Abhishai Fernandez about her self-titled debut album Devika.
Hindustan Times | By Abhishai Fernandez, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 06, 2007 03:40 PM IST

Three artistes from three countries - India, Pakistan and the US come together to produce an album and from this union emerges a new sound, a new genre and a new star called Devika Chawla. The San Francisco-based singer talks about her self-titled debut album.

What is Devika about?
The theme of the album is romance and every song shows a different mood - passion, desperation, agony, joy. The musical style includes lounge, club, traditional Punjabi and film.

What came before this album?
My first recording was a blend of classical music and electronic music. The next was a classical composition for a San Francisco-based independent film Panchali.

You teamed up with famous electronic music producer Holmes Iveson his album Satyriasis?
It was my first attempt at recording. I met Holmes through a friend at Georgetown University while we were doing some music for a school project.

He heard me sing and wanted to build a work of fusion and intersection of Western electronic music and classical Indian vocals. It was a really fun experience.

How did the collaboration between three artists from three differentcountries come about?
I met Noor Lodhi (from Pakistan) and ManeshJudge (Indian origin) and Anshuman Chandra (Indian origin) in the San Francisco Bay Area to brainstorm about the album.

Through Noor, I connected with Shahil (composer of Mann Ki Lagan from movie Paap) over thephone, in Pakistan. This is how the original connectionwas established.

How did you get into music?
I started singing when Iwas in the third grade. I started learning the basics at amusic school in Delhi.First I learnt the harmonium, then I advanced to Hindustani classical music.

I used to perform and competed in classical music solo competitions in school. But I saw that the kids would keep falling asleep. So I tried different music. My classical base helped me sing other popular numbers well.

What made you comeback to India to launch this album?
Fundamentally, the album is an Indian pop album, so Iwanted it released in India. It’s important to stand out and make your mark in a sea of very talented people here.

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