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Exclusive Premiere: New York-Based Singer-Songwriter Shilpa Ananth’s Soothing ‘Align’

Bringing together Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and English lyrics over wavy soul-jazz and electronic music, the artist kicks off an India tour this month

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Anurag Tagat Jan 02, 2020

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Shilpa Ananth. Photo: Leo Mascaro

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Ask Brooklyn, New York singer-songwriter Shilpa Ananth about what it’s like planning an India tour and she likens it to a “proper Bollywood plot.” The multilingual soul-jazz singer says, “A lot of twists, moments of almost giving up, nothing working out, people who never respond, then everyone reaching out at the same time to confirm the same weekend dates, and just endless days of feeling stuck and hopeless.”

The silver lining? Apart from the fact that it’s all come together and there’s six cities this month, Ananth says she’s seen “so much beauty, connectivity, and a thriving community coming together to lift each other up.” It’s perhaps a reassuring moment considering the singer-songwriter introspects on her craft and artistry on her latest song, the electronic-tinged “Align.”

Singing in Malayalam and English, Ananth’s smooth croon over buoyant soundscapes often stretches from soul vocal harmonies to a very warm Indian style. She says, “Maybe it’s my Carnatic training coming through, but after Berklee I was sure that I wanted to write music that reflected my roots, culture, heritage, and fuse it with the styles of Western music like jazz, R&B, soul, that I had felt a close relationship with while studying there.”

Watch the video for “Align” below.

The song is her second single following the 2019 track “Face Myself.” In 2015, the Berklee College of Music graduate released her debut EP Indian Soul. Raised in Dubai and currently based in Brooklyn, Ananth studied media communication and psychology in Bengaluru. She says of her time in the city, “I was mainly focusing on participating at the interstate college cultural festivals, and karaoke havens like Opus were my second home.”

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Apart from producer-bassist Drew ofthe Drew, Ananth has recruited pianist/keyboardists Aman Mahajan and Anurag Naidu (the latter came recommended from fellow Berklee grad and guitarist/singer-songwriter Bhrigu Sahni) and drummer Rohit P.S. Ananth says, “At our rehearsals, the level of professionalism, focus, and heart I see in my band members have helped ground me, and reaffirm my faith in the bigger picture of my mission to empower women and the LGBTQI+ community, through my story and music. I feel this is only the beginning of my musical adventures with the Indian indie scene.”

With her next EP Reproduction in the works for a summer 2020 release, her next single will be called “Fear,” which will also feature a music video.

Shilpa Ananth – The Align Tour 2020

January 3rd – The Piano Man Jazz Club, New Delhi

January 4th – The Piano Man, Gurugram

January 5th – PVR Home, New Delhi

January 9th – Levi’s Lounge, Mumbai

January 10th – Secret Show, Hyderabad

January 11th – The Blue Room, Bengaluru

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