Hear Singer-Songwriter Akshay Mehra’s Breezy Debut EP ‘Paradise Bound’
The Mumbai-bred musician’s record includes catchy melodies, ditties and more
Like many singer-songwriters coming through the scene over the last 10 years, the likes of John Mayer and Jack Johnson have been huge inspirations for artists to pick up an instrument and write their own songs. That’s exactly what led Mumbai’s Akshay Mehra to churn out his own material. Earlier this month Mehra released his debut three-track EP Paradise Bound — a mellifluous record that includes his relaxed musical style as well as his Mayer and Johnson influences creeping in.
Mehra – who is currently pursuing an MBA at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. – tells us that he’s always set time aside to write music. He says, “While working in New York, my bedtime guitar sessions were therapeutic, they enabled me to compose melodies and think through ideas.” The musician admits that he did struggle for a while to pen down lyrics and that it wasn’t until last year during a trip to Japan where that changed for him. “[That’s when] I took an intentional step to work on the three-track EP,” he says.
According to Mehra, Paradise Bound is divided into two sections, relationships and societal issues. The EP opens with the silky “Guest in My Life” and the singer-songwriter says of the song, “It is [about] a dark phase, but I wanted to compose a track that had a fun vibe to it. [American rock band] Vampire Weekend was the biggest inspiration for the sound here.” On the title track, the musician pulls back with subtle acoustic guitar plucked over a smooth melody and simple groove. “[This song] portrays the confused state in a relationship, depicting how at times it takes work for a relationship to feel in its right place.”
The somber EP closer “Frida” follows the story about a less privileged woman navigating through the world. Mehra’s influences definitely come through on this track as a narrative piece, much like Johnson’s track “Taylor” [off 2003’s On and On]. The vocalist-guitarist says, “‘Frida’ stems from an idea I’ve had for a few years. Post the 2016 U.S. [Presidential] elections, the broad-based nationalistic view was something that made several immigrants feel out of place. That idea, combined with the notion of a privileged few, prompted me to write a song about systemic issues in our society.”
The singer-songwriter recorded Paradise Bound at Mumbai’s True School of Music. Musicians such as German-bred Mumbai-based keyboardist-vocalist Lydia Hendrikje, bassist Anand Masrani and drummer Swapnil Dhawale contributed towards the EP. The record was mixed and mastered by engineers Hersh Desai and Sid Shirodkar respectively.
Next, a music video for “Guest in My Life” is in the pipeline. Mehra is also planning to play a few shows while he is Stateside. The musician wants to start work on a follow-up single soon as well. He says, “I’m being proactively introspective on the type of sound I’d like to pursue; that process might be a while but I’m excited to put out more music and play live shows in the future.”
Listen to ‘Paradise Bound’ below: