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Hear Chai Lenin Juxtapose Her Carnatic Vocals with Electro Elements on New Single ‘Tomorrow’

The track follows the Singapore-bred singer-songwriter’s 2019 song ‘Rebirth’

David Britto Sep 22, 2020

Singapore-bred singer-songwriter Chai Lenin. Photo: Chloé

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Growing up in Singapore to parents who ran their own music school called Prenavam Sangeetha and were involved in the Indian classical Carnatic music scene there, was sure to lead singer-songwriter Chai Lenin down a musical path. “Carnatic music thus became a huge part of my identity and articulation of self as I continued to grow older,” says Lenin. That identity is heard very clearly on the musician’s latest single “Tomorrow.”

Lenin – who released her debut track “Rebirth” in 2019 – first started putting “Tomorrow” together after getting off a call with an old friend who was going through a tough time. She says, “I felt overcome by a sense of helplessness and couldn’t help but cry about how far away I felt from my closest friends I grew up with, and how I could do nothing to be there for them.” The musician sings about hope on the track and explains that “the answer lies in our very ability to care, to empathize [and] to be there in solidarity with others.”

Being an artist that resonates with various genres and considers herself to be a fluid listener comes as no surprise on the fusing of sounds on “Tomorrow.” The highlight of the track is Lenin’s ability to weave in and out of her Carnatic vocals while delicately throwing in Western music elements. The song features chunky guitar parts, electronica, synths and percussion parts including claps. She says, “I experimented with the raga Behag.” The singer adds, “In this manner, Carnatic music and its improvisational elements and electro elements’ sense of groove and unfolding helped me articulate a deeply interpersonal and yet at the same time, personal way of transcending our individualities to collectively reminisce about what it entails to hope.”

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The singer-songwriter recorded “Tomorrow” at Kochi’s My Studio and produced the track herself while Sai Prakash helped fine-tune her vocals. It was arranged and programmed by Nihil Jimmy and mixed and mastered by Harishankar V. “They embraced my vision and my unique ideas with both hands, supported me through everything from the very beginning and have been a part of making my creative visions a reality,” says Lenin.

Currently, Lenin is back in Singapore where she’s pursuing her education. Due to COVID-19, she’s found herself feeling mellow at times while on other occasions she’s been doing alright. She says, “To say I am safe and well is a privilege itself, but my heart goes out to those who are going through rough and tremendously testing times.” Next, the musician is working on a new song which she hopes to release by the end of the year. “I know for a fact I want to pursue graduate school, keep making music and continue to think and rethink what it means for me to bring forward this sort of holistic engagement in my life and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me,” says Lenin.

Stream “Tomorrow” below:

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