Hear Brit Songstress Nikita Bassi’s Tabla-Infused New Song ‘Rescue’
The Punjabi-origin singer-songwriter’s debut EP ‘Satin’ is out on September 19th
Ask London-based singer-songwriter Nikita Bassi about her Indian roots and there’s an intriguing story that goes a couple of generations back. “Both of my parents were born in Birmingham but their parents’ stories were hugely different,” she says.
Her paternal grandfather moved from Jalandhar to Birmingham in the Fifties, but her maternal grandfather moved to the U.K. only after the partition of India, in the Sixties. “He met my grandma, a full English kathak dancer (yes really) and they moved back to Chandigarh for a short time after they married,” Bassi says.
Although she was part of a few cover bands in school, Bassi went solo and found that her own identity as a musician was woven into her Indian roots. She says, “I sadly didn’t show much interest as a child, which I think stems from a lack of confidence and an immature assumption that it might have prevented me from ‘fitting in.’”
While a parallel education of her Punjabi heritage is ongoing, Bassi is releasing her debut EP Satin on September 19th. With the lightheaded, unfussy title track out last month, she treaded into murkier sonic territory with “Rescue,” which takes on the emotions associated with a toxic relationship. The dark synth and vocal layers are set against a tabla sample, over Bassi’s honeyed vocals.
Bassi worked with London-based producer Alex Hayes aka Cores (who’s produced for biggies such as Emeli Sande, Kali Uchis, Solange and Gorgon City) to create Satin, but mentions that she didn’t “consciously think” about adding Indian elements. She adds, “Once, Cores and I added a distorted Bollywood lyric to a really calm point of a track. We just looked at each other like.. ‘no.’”
She agrees that these elements of her music may not attract everyone’s ears, but she prefers to stay true to herself. “When your goals are aligned that way, the focus is just on making music you love with people that get it and seeing how the rest falls into place,” she says.