Sanjeeta Bhattacharya Experiments on New Single ‘Red,’ Collabs With Madagascar Singer-Songwriter Niu Raza
The New Delhi musician has explored the terrains of neo-soul and hip-hop on the new track
When the name Sanjeeta Bhattacharya comes up, it’s always been synonymous with jazz and melancholic acoustic music. However, like every developing artist, the New Delhi singer-songwriter is also evolving her sound and is keen on exploring and extending her art to all possibilities. She’s gone and done just that by going down a whole new direction on her latest single, the extravagant “Red.” She says, “I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh it sounded.”
“Red” ties in elements from neo-soul and hip-hop but also retains a bit of Bhattacharya’s jazz influences. While we already know Bhattacharya to be a proficient vocalist, she does surprise us with her ability to rap and drop bars on the song. “I wrote that rap verse last summer while going through a couple of emotionally tumultuous months. It was part rage, part frustration and part check before wreck,” she says.
The rap section fell in place quite well to fit with a vocal part the musician recorded on her phone which turned into the song’s chorus. Bhattacharya sings, “I know I ain’t wasting my time on you/You make me want to make more time.” She adds, “I decided to think of it as ‘I’m not wasting time on myself, I’ve got to make more time for myself.’”
As Bhattacharya addresses how one can lose perspective easily while seeking success with her effervescent delivery, midway through the track we’re treated to a beautiful verse by Madagascar-based singer-songwriter Niu Raza, who adds flair to the song in her native language. Raza and Bhattacharya were first acquainted at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and recently reconnected on Instagram after a few years. “I’d always been a fan of her voice. I sent her the initial idea of ‘Red’ and she smashed it,” says Bhattacharya.
New Delhi musician Pranay Parti and Boston-based guitarist Aman Sagar aka A.S.J. (who also attended Berklee with Bhattacharya) contributed to the track with their instrumentation and production inputs. Sagar also mixed and mastered the song. “It was a very organic, very spontaneous and seamless collaboration,” says Bhattacharya. The track’s accompanying sultry clip – directed by Karan Kapoor – also sees the singer-songwriter dancing for the first time in a music video and includes Raza singing her verse as well as cameos by fellow musicians Kamakshi Khanna, Vasuda Sharma, Zoe Siddharth and more. The artwork for the song, created by New Delhi illustrator Ishita Thawait, depicts the coming together of two cultures, Bengali and Malagasy, as both use face paint in traditional rituals.
2020 has been quite a fruitful year for Bhattacharya as she also dropped the singles “Watercolour” and “Everything’s Fine?” earlier this year. “It wasn’t planned but I’m really happy about how this year has been musically for me and the musicians around me. It’s inspiring,” says the artist. Next on her agenda is a rock ballad called “X Marks the Spot” and an untitled bossa nova track. “I want to continue to mess around,” she says.