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New York-Based Guitarist Aayushi Karnik Releases Raw EP ‘The Summer Children’

After spending a few years in the blues circuit in India, the Surat-bred artist is currently studying jazz guitar at The Julliard School

Anurag Tagat Apr 08, 2021

New York-based singer-songwriter Aayushi Karnik. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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From being a self-taught teenaged blues guitarist who was already performing alongside Indian guitar greats such as Rudy Wallang and Sanjay Divecha to studying jazz guitar at New York’s feted Julliard School, Aayushi Karnik shows leaps and bounds of evolving interests on her debut EP The Summer Children.

Starting at Julliard in 2018, Karnik says she was in for “some sort of a cultural shock from an educational point of view.” She adds, “During my first year, I had one leg in overwhelming inspiration and the second one in existential crisis. But through all of this, I was going through a lot of classes at Juilliard that made me a way better musician than what I was since I got here.”

We hear exactly that level of comfort and conviction in Karnik’s artistry on the four-track The Summer Children. In addition to agile and intricate guitar work, the singer in Karnik leaps out expressively and unfiltered, aided by the depth of the upright bass performed by her schoolmate Gabe Rupe. The duo recorded the acoustic tracks live in single takes, as though they were performing. While there’s certainly jazz influences as well as a major nod to American folk songwriting, Karnik tells us she’ll always be a blues guitar player and did get to bring that into the EP. “The blues is an attitude and I hope people hear that in my music,” she adds.

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Songs such as “Sunrise” and “At the Burby” were written even before the singer-songwriter moved to New York. The EP thematically covers solitude, modern day living, a New York hangout spot and the inner child. A constant songwriter, Karnik says music school has taught her that there’s no such thing as a writer’s block. While she did have to leave New York at the start of the global pandemic in March last year, she spent her time back home practicing and returned to the U.S. in October. Karnik adds, “It was sad to see a lot of jazz clubs dying out here because of the current economic situation worldwide. A lot of history was made in those places!”

As the situation slowly heals, she’s “shredding hard” and there’s plenty of music with friends in the works. “I’m in the middle of writing for a jazz trio and I’m just working on how I should be executing this music,” Karnik says.

Stream ‘The Summer Children’ EP below.

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