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Aditi Ramesh Cooks Up A Silky New Single ‘Sambar Soul’

The Mumbai-based musician sings about not being tied down to labels on the fresh track

David Britto Oct 23, 2020

Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Aditi Ramesh. Photo: Gorkey Patwal

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While performing at a livestreamed gig this past April, Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Aditi Ramesh came across a comment which read as “sambar soul.” Ramesh says, “I thought to myself that this should be the answer when people ask me for my genre.” The tag stuck with the musician and she decided to use it as the title of her latest honeyed single, which released today.

The idea for the new song stemmed from Ramesh wanting the music she makes to not be tied down to labels or put into a box for that matter. According to the artist, the EPs she released, 2017’s Autocorrect and last year’s Leftovers were both described as Carnatic-jazz. She says, “I love jazz and I love Carnatic music, but the usage of this hyphenated term started to feel limiting and also problematic.” The singer-songwriter explains that she’s still discovering her sound as a musician and just because she’s made music in one particular style in the past, doesn’t mean she’ll continue to do so. Ramesh says, “I love exploring and experimenting with different sounds.”

“Sambar Soul” contains no Carnatic music elements and instead Ramesh has thrown in ingredients such as R&B, soul, pop, jazz harmonies and Latin flavors to cook up the groovy track. Also, the singer-songwriter’s vocal dynamism stands out quite profoundly across the song. On the lyrics, Ramesh says, “In society, we’ve become obsessed with comparing ourselves to others, whether it’s our career choices, or our ideas of beauty, happiness or success. The song tells the listener to stop worrying about labels and go with the flow.”

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The singer-songwriter’s clever lyricism also includes the line, “This song is in the key of sambar soul/ It’s a vegetarian key I’m told.” She says, “It’s meant to be cheeky, making light of labels and genres and being outrightly nonsensical.” Ramesh says, “The Tamil ad-libs you hear in the back are ingredients or instructions for making sambar. Kariveppalei (curry leaves), paruppu pottu (with daal), kadugu molaga (mustard seed), chili, talchikottu (tadka/seasoning).”

Ramesh recorded “Sambar Soul” with her longtime collaborator, guitarist Mohit Rao, who produced, mixed and mastered the song. The singer-songwriter has been working with Rao ever since she started off with music and says, “I have seen him grow into a multitalented musician and producer.”

With the dearth of live gigs, Ramesh focused her attention on teaching vocals online and has thoroughly enjoyed interacting with various people as well as learning about herself through the process. The singer-songwriter has even been busy doing commercial work and also composed the background score for an upcoming Tamil short film called B Selvi and Daughters. Apart from that, Ramesh has more singles she’s currently fleshing out, forthcoming collaborations as well as an animated video for “Sambar Soul” out next month. She says, “I definitely plan to release a lot more music next year as well.”

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Stream “Sambar Soul” on Spotify below and on other platforms

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