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New Delhi Singer-Songwriter Vaibhav Malhotra Sings About Fallouts on Debut EP ‘Afsana’

The five-track record has been produced by Mumbai-based Aditya Ashok aka OX7GEN

David Britto Oct 19, 2020

New Delhi singer-songwriter Vaibhav Malhotra. Photo: Ambica Kaul

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New Delhi singer-songwriter Vaibhav Malhotra’s tryst with music has been gradual. From hearing his mother play the harmonium and picking up the keyboard himself to singing karaoke versions of songs and even covering them with his school friend, Malhotra has come a long way. After teaching himself the guitar in 2017, the musician took a crack at songwriting and released a string of singles last year. He says, “Then the question for me was – ‘What’s next?’” Malhotra found the answer to that in his recently released five-track debut EP Afsana.

Work on the record began late last year when Malhotra tapped into his own personal experiences for inspiration. “I commenced by writing lyrics to a lot of songs, keeping the narrative in mind, so I could pick the ones I liked the most from the pool,” says the artist. He adds, “If I liked how the lyrics flowed, I went ahead and put them into melodies and modified them for a better fit.”

The theme of the melancholic Afsana revolves around the motions stemming from a relationship fallout. The EP flows with the first stage of initially being apart with “Bin Tere” before going into the aftermath of the events on “Bikhra,” which was co-written with Arnav Kaushal. There’s also yearning (“Toota Taara”), love (“Tum Jo Sath”) and acceptance (“Manzoor”). Malhotra says, “I feel that these themes are very relatable as they talk about phases of life every individual goes through at some point or another.” According to the singer-songwriter, he wanted the tracks to be deep-rooted in the acoustic guitar but also wanted to layer them with electronic elements to make for a more dynamic and interesting record. “I wanted it to be a little different from the classic singer-songwriter sound,” he says.

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Malhotra was able to achieve that desired sonic palette with help from Mumbai-based producer Aditya Ashok aka OX7GEN (who also drums for prog rockers Skyharbor and pop-rock band the Colour Compound). “Working with Aditya has been a super positive experience for me, he has a very strong work ethic, is meticulous in what he does and is very diligent,” says Malhotra. Although they worked out of different cities, the singer-songwriter explains that Ashok was always on call whenever he need help with recording sessions as well as contributed to rewriting a few melodic parts across the EP. He says, “Aditya’s musical sensibilities are on point and his understanding of the sound spectrum is phenomenal.” Malhotra also roped in guitarist Zohran Miranda to play on “Bikhra” and “Bin Tere.”

As he shifts his attention to the final year of his undergraduate, Malhotra is happy to let his EP marinate. Coming back to his famous question “what’s next?” the artist plans to consistently write songs and wants to drop a bunch of them next year. He says, “Releasing singles at regular intervals is something that I’d like to focus on,” he says.

Stream ‘Afsana’ below:

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