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Meet Nexa Music Top 24 Artist: Pelenuo

The Dimapur-based singer-songwriter released the acoustic-folk single ‘Build A Story’ last year

Jessica Xalxo Nov 04, 2019

Dimapur-based singer-songwriter Pelenuo. Photo: Courtesy of artist

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One could say that Pelenuo Yhome — who goes by her first name — was raised by music. Long before she began writing and performing with her guitar, the Dimapur-based singer-songwriter caught the music bug during family sing-alongs orchestrated by her father.

She was later put onto her favorite artist Taya Smith (Australian vocalist for gospel band Hillsong UNITED) by her mother and if two musical influences weren’t enough, Pelenuo also shares her tendency to beat, words and melody with her brother Jonathan Yhome (fellow singer-songwriter and frequent collaborator). Her 2018 single “Build A Story” is a serene acoustic-folk ballad, bearing influences of country music Pelenuo also grew up listening to. Now the singer-songwriter is a part of Nexa Music’s Top 24 — the countrywide hunt for English-language musicians which aims to put the spotlight on emerging artists in India.

“I come from a very small town (Kohima) in the northeastern part of India and so, to be a part of the Nexa Music’s Top 24 seems so unreal,” says the singer-songwriter. Pelenuo has previously cited a language gap that musicians from Nagaland and other parts of northeastern India are hindered with navigating. In turn, she thinks that Nexa Music’s platform can bridge this chasm. With the view of Bollywood music dominating the Indian music landscape, Pelenuo says, “I think English language original music needs a boost because it gets us (as a country) aligned with the rest of the world (in terms of music).”

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The singer-songwriter is looking to learn beyond the traditional boundaries of music, quipping that she would also like to pick up on some life lessons from Nexa Music mentors A. R. Rahman and Clinton Cerejo. “To be able to meet Sir A. R. Rahman and Sir Clinton Cerejo in person and have them as my teachers — no matter how long or short the teaching duration is — is what I am looking forward most to,” she says. Pelenuo describes this stint as a once in a lifetime opportunity. “Its not everyday you get to work on new music with music masters. It would be one of the greatest stepping stones in this musical journey,” she says. 

While the Yhome household was a creative hotbed for Pelenuo and her sibling’s talents, the singer-songwriter is looking to put her music out into the world, starting with India first. “It’s time English language original music gets a little bit of a boost too,” she says.

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