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Singer-Songwriters Mahesh Raghunandan, Sidharth Bendi and Alvin Presley Kick Off The Feels Express Tour

10 shows across the span of a month has been put together by Kochi artist tour management company Heartland, along with artist platform The Chennai Scene and label Red Circle 7 Records

Anurag Tagat May 06, 2022

Singer-songwriters Sidharth Bendi, Alvin Presley and Mahesh Raghunandan. Photo: Bharani Kumar

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When the pandemic struck and changed the way we think about public gatherings like concerts and festivals, it was perhaps an opportunity for smaller rooms and intimate shows hosted for singer-songwriters to thrive over big-scale festivals and shows.

Of course, now that shows have resumed for a while, the reality turns out to be more nuanced than that – festivals, packed clubs and outdoor gigs have returned but so have the quieter, intimate gigs. Now, three singer-songwriters have teamed up for The Feels Express tour, which kicked off in April in Kochi and runs through a total of 10 cities this month, from Goa to New Delhi to Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad and more.

The lineup includes Bengaluru-based Mahesh Raghunandan, Chennai-based Alvin Presley and Hyderabad-based Sidharth Bendi, with the tour being put together by Kochi-based Heartland artist management (founded by Manaf Abdul) and artist platform The Chennai Scene, led by Srikanth Natarajan.

Also supporting the 10-city tour is Red Circle 7 Records, a label founded by Raghunandan.  In a video on Instagram, he said, “I think there’s something super special about musicians going up on stage with their instruments in the most wonderful way to share their words, their stories, their emotions and their music with an audience that wants to listen… I think we’ve been very determined to make this happen, so that we can set a template or a path for singer-songwriters to take advantage of in the future.”

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While Raghunandan is back on the road after about two years away due to the pandemic, he’s also showcasing his latest single “Realize.” Hyderabad-based Bendi is touring with a new single as well, with the release of “It’s Over” on May 6th. “The tour, a release, an ongoing vlog, and so much work in the pipelines on the side is enough to drain out a 23-year-old like myself, but I’m the most focused I’ve ever been, and I’m very grateful to be on this journey with you guys watching me every step of the way,” he said online about the ongoing tour and releasing his latest song. It’s the first of three interconnected, self-produced songs that will release in the coming months.

Presley is part of The Feels Express with his own collection of songs set to come out soon. The Chennai trilingual artist – who sings in Tamil, English and Hindi – announced his second EP Geography in March. It follows his standout debut EP Fall Today from 2020 and his 2021 singles “Manathil Aasaigal” and “Dil Ke Dairon Pe.” Although he occasionally performs in Chennai, this tour will have Presley playing in multiple cities for the first time. He took to Instagram to talk about his tour, writing in a post addressed to himself, “I’m touring right now! Can you believe it, Alvin? You’ve wanted to play across India for so long now that it had become a distant dream. It has been hard on you, yeah? Asking people for shows and losing respect in return or just being ghosted.”

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Abdul, who’s managing the tour with the artists, calls The Feels Express as more of a “cultural movement.” He adds, “[It’s] where singer-songwriters find ways to do things as a collective in order to bring attention to their genre of music. The hope with this group is that it’s not limited to just these three artists. In the future, more artists can come in and turn this into a larger movement. We have been doing digital merch sales in order to fund our travels and the community has come together so beautifully to help us out.” Abdul is also writing a book about the tour as the crew and artists trek through the country together.

The Feels Express Tour ft Mahesh, Sidharth Bendi and Alvin Presley  

May 6th – Livelee (New Delhi) at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

May 7th – Veranda (Mumbai) – Nrtya Saturday night Live

May 8th – Sheri (Pune) w/Samar Mehdi and Himanshu Chavan

May 13th – Off The Record (Chennai)

May 14th – Dorian House (Puducherry)

May 15th – Bira Tap Room (Bengaluru)

May 21st – Tabula Rasa (Hyderabad) 

Get tickets here.

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