From being a pianist in a school band to releasing his solo single on major streaming platforms, Chinmay has come a long way in his journey of music. Gifted with a beautiful voice, he has an undying spirit to keep learning a new art. Having trained for 4 years in Hindustani classical music, Chinmay surely respects his roots, yet has a keen interest in exploring numerous other genres. The singer-songwriter just released his first single at 18 and even has other music in the works.
In talks with Brown, the burgeoning artist shares his inspirations, plans and thoughts on the growing trends in music. Here are some snippets from our conversation!
How did you pass your time during the quarantine? We know you are a pianist, but what are the other hobbies you like to indulge in?
Certainly, the lockdown has been hard, but if I am being honest, the first lockdown was actually kind of productive for me. It was really new to me — to stay home and finally look forward to the day. There were no obligations to go out, no gigs; just solitude. So, I started watching a good handful of movies and also tried reading books, so that was really liberating for me. I started binging movies, and I loved the Shiva Trilogy by Amish, and of course, love The Fault in Our Stars.
How did your journey with music start? What is it you love more, singing or playing your piano?
I would only like myself to be introduced as a pianist first, more than anything else. Maybe this is because I am more confident while I play compared to when I sing. I don’t enjoy singing publicly much, and I blame my stage fear for that. My first preference would always be playing the piano.
My love for music began as just another summer holiday activity. Initially, as a kid, I used to be very active in co-curriculars, be it dancing, swimming and even playing the piano. But unlike some casual summer love, music stayed with me for a long period; here I am composing my own songs! I did not have a proper mentor who taught me how to play the piano, but I took up many theoretical courses. In fact, I am doing one in jazz music currently.
Tell us about your school band. Have you worked with other bands?
As you mentioned, Kabadi The Band was just a school band, and we still play together even now. It was limited to our school, but if we ever have an event or a reunion, Kabadi will be there! I believe I am a versatile keyboardist, and I appreciate all the different genres. Be it pop, rock, death metal, jazz, or even classical — I want to explore all of them; just to have a taste of everything. I have worked with different collaborative bands as well — ATC, Summer Zenith, and The M Space Studio to name a few.
Congratulations on the new track; it is absolutely flawless. Would you share what inspired it?
I always wanted to compose something, but no good came out of deliberately trying to put together sounds. Whenever I used to play my piano, composing was subconsciously always there, but practically, I couldn’t do it. The lockdown gave me the appropriate space and the correct mindset to put forth Itne Door. Suddenly, I was cutting myself some slack by not judging any composition too quickly and letting art flow on its own. It came to me naturally, and I think it was for the best that I waited and gave it adequate time and did not push myself into doing it. This single was my first time composing and after this, there is no holding back. I have composed a lot of jingles and other compositions too, that are on my mind. I am working on them, trying to release more and more of my music for people out there.
We already have your first single. Can we expect an album soon?
No, not yet. I want to drop an instrumental album, but I am sceptical because it does not attract more people. But you can expect more singles from me in the future.
Is your family supportive of your music career?
The reason I am where I am now is all because of my family. My mom always promotes me a lot on all platforms. She sees me as an artist and wants me to make a career in music. She has always encouraged me to work hard and has never pressured me to study. We have a family business running smoothly, but my mother always tries to push me towards music. I consider myself blessed because there are so many musical miracles who are still trapped inside their closets just because their family members are not supportive of them.
What inspires you to make music?
It is just my will to do it, you know? I just want to grow up to be a talented musician so that I can accompany my friends and bandmates, who I look up to. They have put so much faith in me and have taught me so much. Apart from that, I religiously love to explore new music. There never has been a particular artist that inspires me. Sometimes it’s John Mayer, sometimes it’s Stevie Wonder, and sometimes it’s again another unique artist. So, I love taking inspiration from anyone who can help me grow.
Do you like collaborating with other artists too?
As far as collaborations are concerned, I am a guy who is always up for a good collaboration. I always like to make sounds and work with people; it just kindles my spirit. Even now, I am not in a band, but working as a freelancer. So yes, I love collaborations and meeting new people!
What is your view on the growing trends in music? How do you think social media has helped artists?
During the lockdown, everyone had come to terms with the fact that the only platform they could now perform on was social media. There were no other resources to play for the masses. Everybody was helpless, but social media platforms welcomed everyone with open arms. Suddenly, there was a surge in the number of artists online. It in fact has helped me a lot too! I have met so many talented artists through Instagram. If you were to use Instagram wisely, you could network with so many musicians who could watch you grow and help you with your progress as well. The community grows this way; collaborations help you improve your profile, and in that way, you get offered more gigs!
As far as new trends are concerned, I consider myself a hardcore musician and have always been into jazz and western classical music. So sometimes it feels weird to see so many new variants of major genres because I am personally not into them. Rap is growing so much; so is pop, trance, EDM, and indie music. So it is hard to say how the music industry will be, but a few other artists and I are working to bring the authentic jazz music culture and a more musically aware background back to attention.
If someday you had to give away your piano, what other instrument would you like to pick up?
This feels like a betrayal, but my next instrumental crush would be drums! So I have bought a guitar in the past, and it was quite futile. It took a little longer for me to realize that guitars were just not my cup of tea. The guitar is a marvellous instrument, but I don’t like it much. I mean, you could find a guitarist at every other door. I had a drum kit too, and I loved it from the very moment I tried to play it. Drums need more praise. It is a really hard instrument to master, but I just love playing the drums!
Have you tried your hands on music production, sound composition or writing?
The piano I recently bought is very intense. It is all about music production. Music production too is something that is not my forte, but when I was composing, I really had to get my hands on the production, because only I knew how I wanted something to sound at a particular place in the song. It would have been hard to explain to someone how I imagined the intricacies to sound like. So yes, music production is really important. Even if someone is still learning it, an artist should never try to escape it; music production is inevitable. I write my own songs, but I struggle with them a lot.
Is this the career you want to pursue? Do you have other plans for your future?
I have come so far, that now, there is no going back. I wish to work harder each step of the way. If I were not a musical artist, I would have done the same thing that any Marwadi (ethnic group in Rajasthan) would’ve done — sat down to run the family business. But at the end of the day, I am glad I have the freedom to walk on the path that I choose to pave myself.
There is a long way for you to go. What is a piece of advice that you have for other blooming music artists out there?
An unpopular opinion, but I would strongly suggest to not overlook the theoretical aspects of music. I have seen many people who can just play the basic chords and conclude that they know everything about the guitar, and start posting their pieces on Instagram. To those who are really serious about their music career, please don’t hesitate to dig deeper into the theoretical aspects of music. While listening to songs, try to understand the chord structure and the delicacies of the placement of notes to understand why it sounds the way it does.
Trying to understand music wherever you go and overlooking no step in the process is Chinmay’s mantra of success in his melodious journey. One can get where they want by constantly trusting the process and giving it their 100%.