Rahul Advani Delivers Sparkling Debut Single ‘Ready to Breathe’
The Bengaluru-based singer-songwriter has also released a witty music video to accompany the song
Having spent most of his life in Singapore, Bengaluru-based singer-songwriter Rahul Advani counts watching the video to Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” as the first time he was captivated by music. He says, “I was an extremely shy child, and it was only on stage that I felt comfortable expressing myself in ways I never could with conversation.” Advani performed with his school choir, where he found his voice, and also began gigging regularly in Singapore.
In 2016, he moved to India for a year of fieldwork as part of his PhD in anthropology. It was then that he discovered the country’s burgeoning independent music scene. At a singing competition in Pune he took part in, Advani got acquainted with one of the judges at the event, Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Tejas. “His encouragement upon hearing my original songs pushed me to get into the studio,” Advani says.
Now, the musician is out with his debut single, the sparkling “Ready to Breathe.” While this song and other tracks had been gathering digital dust on Advani’s computer, he says, “I feel like I’m now ready to finish what I started.”
“Ready to Breathe” captures the pop-rock sound of the early 2000s and also digs into Advani’s love for piano-driven music by artists such as Elton John and Billy Joel. The singer-songwriter delivers hooky vocal parts, singable lyrics, catchy melodies as well as an overall polished sound. “The track represents the element of air and the feeling of freedom,” he says, adding, “Even though the song at a literal level is about breaking free from a suffocating relationship, I intended it to also speak to other aspects of life – from careers to everyday situations where we feel burdened by the pressure of expectations.”
Advani worked with Singapore-based producer Bani Hidir on the track while U.S.-based Scott Hull (who worked on John Mayer’s 2001 debut album Room for Squares) mastered it. The singer-songwriter’s brother Rohan played bass on the track and guitarist Rishabh Sharma also lent his skills to the song. The musician also managed to return to his old high school in Singapore and have the students in the choir sing on the song for the track’s breakdown section. “Recording with my high school choir and former choir teacher felt like coming full circle,” he says. Tejas and fellow Chennai/Mumbai singer-songwriter Mali also lent their voices to the song. “It meant a lot to have them on the track, especially since it was Tejas who first encouraged me to start putting together an EP after he heard an early demo of this song back in 2017.”
The song’s witty music video – directed by Advani and Weiqi Chuah – depicts a call-center worker, played by Vidyuth Gargi (from Amazon Prime’s Die Trying and Pushpavalli), stuck at home who feels immense pressure from both his job as well as social media. “The idea was to set it in one room reflecting the pressurizing environment of life under lockdown, with everything in the video happening through a computer or phone screen,” Advani says. He adds, “The entire planning and filming process happened through Zoom, with Vidyuth sitting in Mumbai, Weiqi in Singapore, and myself in London. It was my first ever experience of working on a music video – all the way from scripting to co-directing – and I can’t wait to find more ways to communicate my music visually.”
Advani is gearing up to follow “Ready to Breathe” with another single before releasing his upcoming four-track debut EP. According to him, the record is based on the “elements of nature and the distinct emotions they represent.” He says, “I’m looking forward to playing the EP for people and seeing how they react to the songs, as well as exploring new sonic textures and sounds and collaborating with other artists in India as I continue to write new material.”
Watch the music video for “Ready to Breathe” below and stream the song Spotify.