Artists To Watch Out For: Nischay Parekh
Kolkata-based singer is wooing fans with dreamy pop rock
WHO: A 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist, singer-composer and student of the exalted Berklee College of Music in Boston, Kolkata’s Nischay Parekh has it all going for him. With him, is his 25-year-old partner-in-pulse rate, Jivraj Singh. Together they seem like twins born to music. A toast of the indie music scene of India and pinup of the festival circuit, Parekh’s recently-released debut solo album, Ocean, separates the men from the boys, in favour of the unfussy, unassuming and unhurried lives of the boys, of course. There is a hint of yearning in his voice when Parekh sings, ”˜I used to be a panda in my past life’, in Ocean. That’s what he’s so much about ”” a preppy pro given to writing music even on subjects like life in the animal kingdom (he’s taken in by the Romantic poet William Blake), with easy, deckchair-listening attributes that have a universal chime.
SOUND: Parekh’s music can hook mature audiences as well as act as a gateway drug to those at the door front of the vibrant but teething, English-speaking, Indian independent music arena. It provides all the pleasure of pure pop harmonies, but carries strong strains of rock, electro and R&B too. It is accessible, but immensely intelligent; young without being bubble-gum. It is strong on the hummability-index, yet long-lasting. Like high-altitude mountain air, the music ”” based on delightful chordal cross stitches ”” is fresh. While Parekh’s mellow, paper-thin voice is ringed often by ambient keyboard strings, beat miester Singh brings up an edgy other half to the music. While the album Ocean finds Singh largely sticking to the straight and narrow, the impulsive urges of his drumming often shine through in concerts. On stage, and opposed to Parekh’s blue-whale, ocean-cool carriage, Singh is eel-ish ”” thrusting, holding back, hand on knobs of his beat machine or delicately scratching the clash cymbal, furious sometimes or occasionally restrained through empty passages.
ON THE CARDS: A collaborative album with Singh for which they plan to carve out a big chunk of time next year. The album, says Parekh, should follow the experimental streak of their live act and “should be a mash of ideas.” “In Ocean, the compositions were all there and Jivraj played on top of the songs. But for the next album, I would like to have him come in at every level. I’ve already started work on a few ideas but don’t want to progress any further till Jivraj comes in,” says Parekh.
BIG BREAK: Winning the music competition at 2011’s Autumn Music Fest organized by the American Centre in Kolkata was good for his “self-confidence”; getting a slot at the Bengaluru leg of 2012’s NH7 Weekender festival was when their music reached wider audiences. That concert led to other concerts like a slot with Norah Jones and M. Ward in Mumbai during their India tour this year and the current NH7 series where Parekh and Singh are playing at all four Weekender cities.Â