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Sunit Zadav: The Doctor with a Saccharine Sound

The Mumbai-based singer-songwriter’s debut EP ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ is a treat for the ears

David Britto Jan 28, 2019

Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Sunit Zadav. Photo: Somya Garg/Sudeep Gogate

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Last year, Pune-bred singer-songwriter Sunit Zadav dropped his debut single, a breezy pop tune titled “Mush.” While Zadav has the ability to string melodies and lyrics blissfully together, you’d be surprised to know that the musician’s first introduction to English music was through Christmas Carols. “In the seventh grade I decided to participate in the school choir for Christmas and Mrs. Coutinho, the choir conductor, loved my voice so much that she gave me an entire verse to sing solo,” says Zadav, who has just released his five-track debut EP Quarter Life Crisis.

Of all places, it was at Pune’s B. J. Government Medical College that Zadav decided to follow in the footsteps of his favorite singer-songwriters John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz and make the acoustic guitar his utmost priority. “My teacher [Mumbai guitarist] Sanjay Divecha introduced me to some of his favorite singer-songwriters: James Taylor, Michael Franks, and Alison Krause. They’ve all had a subtle impact on my songwriting,” he says.

After completing medical school, Zadav decided to give up on clinical practice and began teaching anatomy ”“ he is currently an Assistant Professor at Mumbai’s Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Medical College, Cooper Hospital. It was at this point that Zadav began to put together songs he’d written over the last couple of years which led to what is now Quarter Life Crisis. Ask Zadav how he balances his music and also being a medical professor and he says, “It’s [anatomy] a very interesting and difficult subject and is quite the creative challenge. Since it’s a nine to four job, I do get ample time to write, practice and perform music in the evenings.” He adds, “Discipline and time management is key, I often find myself struggling with both, to be honest.”

The record is everything and some you’d expect from a singer-songwriter: catchy melodies, lush chords, quirky lyrics, slick arrangements and more. Quarter Life Crisis opens with the melancholic “She Don’t Like Me Anymore” and paints a picture of Zadav’s own heartbreak while the hopeful “A Single Day” is the singer-songwriter’s reassurance of moving on. “Go Find Yourself” is a smoothly produced track with beautiful harmonies by fellow singer-songwriter Aarifah Rebello. The folk leaning “Goodbye Worry” was written on the day Zadav’s medical exams got over. He says, “It was the most difficult examination of my life and all I wanted to do was strum the most easygoing and popular chord progression and hum goodbye to my worries.” The final track on the EP, the ambient “Chandeliers,” is about “letting go gracefully, and finding light inside, not outside.”

Quarter Life Crisis was recorded at Mumbai producer Lima Yanger’s home studio and includes parts by session musicians such as guitarist Mikkimra Shira, bassist Yohaan Pissurlenker, keyboardist Rahul Wadhwani and drums by Vibhas Titu Rahul and Gaute Johannsen. On working with Yanger, Zadav says, “Doing an album all by yourself means limited resources and to be able to make the most of them and still nail it takes a man of incredible intelligence, adaptability and musicianship. Lima is all of that.” Next, the singer-songwriter wants to release a music video of one of the songs from the record, drop a new single by the end of this year and also put a band together to take the EP live. “I also need to work on some research projects in the field of anatomy if I ever wish to be professor,” he says.

Stream ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ below: 

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