Sonam Kalra Talks Lockdown Learnings and New Material
The New Delhi-based singer-composer and founder of the Sufi Gospel Project on ‘Log Down Song’ and online concerts
About two months ago, New Delhi singer and composer Sonam Kalra sat down on her lawn on a sunny day and shot the video for “Log Down Song,” a playful but focused tune that addressed the hardships artists were facing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing lockdown. “I also wanted to prove to myself that despite the way we were all feeling with the lockdown, I could be down but not out,” Kalra says.
Her phone may have heated up to the point that it needed to be put in the fridge multiple times, so “Log Down Song” certainly reflects the labor of love that Kalra describes it to be, costumes, props and all. She adds, “I wanted it to shot it in one take, a whole video with no cuts. So that was a lot of work, since we had to shoot the whole song multiple times to ensure that we got one, good, seamless take where everything fell into place, including the sunlight.”
While always one to take up fundraisers for non-profit organizations, voiceover work and panel discussions, Kalra says it’s possible that her involvement in such initiatives have become more visible during the lockdown. The artist – who writes and performs with multi-genre act The Sufi Gospel Project – has been “forced to learn new skills, understand and adapt to new technology” in the last six months, stepping out of her comfort zone like many artists.
Kalra admits she misses “the energy, the intimacy, the realness” of having a room or arena full of listeners, but has also found joy in virtual gigs. “I’ve reached a wider audience across the world, I’ve had people say very kind things, and watching them dance on my Zoom screens a few times has almost felt like an ‘in the flesh’ performance for me,” she says.
Performing for HCL Concerts’ series Soundscapes on October 9th, from 7 pm onwards, Kalra has become even more keen on getting the audio output just right for digital shows. During lockdown, the composer says she’s had a better understanding of audio engineering as well as video editing. Kalra adds, “Oh, and I can now make sushi and apple crumble – this from someone who never cooked!”
While the Sufi Gospel Project has been taking private gigs and just wrapped one up a few days ago, Kalra has a new song ready for release by the end of the year or early 2021. “I’m just waiting to do the video. I have a few ideas but nothing that’s exciting me yet so I’m holding off on it till I have an idea that feels right. Perhaps some filmmaker might reach out to me after reading this interview. Who knows, the world is magical like that,” she says.
Sonam Kalra performs at HCL Concerts – Soundscapes on October 9th, 7 pm onwards. Tune in here and watch a trailer below.