Tejas Drops ‘Lead’ Single Off Forthcoming Sophomore LP ‘Outlast’
The Mumbai-based singer-songwriter offers a first glimpse of the new record, talks about carving a new future with his latest song
If you’ve had the chance to interact with Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Tejas or caught him live at a gig, you may have noticed that the musician is always planning ahead and not one to sit still. Not too long after releasing his debut full-length album Make It Happen in 2017, the singer-songwriter quickly began writing and performing songs from his forthcoming sophomore effort, the eight-track Outlast. “I have to keep moving forward and that’s the only way I can survive,” says Tejas. The musician has just released the first single off the imminent album in the shape of the hopeful “Lead.” Tejas says, “It’s one of those songs that you don’t work on for too long because most of it is instinctual.”
According to the musician, he feels that people perceive him as a “make it happen” kind of guy but tells us it’s been a “tough” journey over the last three years to get to where he is now. He says, “I want to be inspiring and I want to give out hope, but I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to do it.” A man of his words, the singer-songwriter is doing just that by leading from the front with his brand of pop music interjected with splendid melodies, dynamism and a strong team of backing musicians.
The new song, “Lead,” opens with triumphant horn parts, simmering acoustic guitar strumming, a steady groove, the singer-songwriter’s captivating vocals as well as clever lyrics such as, “I’m sorry Mary I can’t be your sheep/Show me where I’ve got to lead.” He says, “That line just came to me very naturally.” Lyrically the song is a commentary on the singer-songwriter’s own life of being a proprietor of his own projects such as his label Kadak Apple Records or podcast Geek Fruit. He says, “Being the leader doesn’t mean being the most important, smartest or talented person. It just means that person who will put progress before perfection and do what needs to be done to take something forward.”
There’s also a second message that the musician conveys in the song, which is leaving behind legacies one might have inherited. Tejas moved to India 13 years ago from Dubai at the age of 18 and says, “I came to Bombay as a nobody.” The singer-songwriter also tells us that he’s had a topsy-turvy childhood and that his parents are now separated. He says, “If you’re burdened by your own legacy, it sucks.” Tejas adds, “You have to relinquish that if you want to kind of move forward and build a new name.”
“Lead” has been co-produced and recorded at the home studios of Tejas and drummer Jehangir Jehangir. The drums and bass parts by Jehangir and Adil Kurwa respectively were tracked at Mumbai’s Island City Studios. The song also features backing vocals from artists Mallika Barot and Aria Nanji as well as horn parts by U.S.-based musician Will Allen Jr., whom Tejas found on online freelance service Fiverr. “I just had to tell him [Allen Jr.]; ‘This is what the song is about’ and he just delivered so quickly.” “Lead” has been mastered by Shawn Hatfield at Audible Oddities.
Tejas confirms that “Lead” will be the first song on the tracklisting for Outlast. The musician is also gearing up to release a couple more singles before the album comes out later this year, one of which will be the super funky and dynamic “The Bombay Doors.” Recently while in lockdown, Tejas also directed and wrote a humorous musical called Conference Call with his bandmate Dinkar Dwivedi from pop-punk outfit Toycatcher. “It [the musical] was really just kind of thinking of all the things that I really wanted to do, and I’ve been putting off.”
Apart from his own music, Tejas has also received offers for collaborations but is picking his projects wisely. The musician feels he still needs to continue putting albums out before he’s open to doing more collaborations. Away from music, he’s been keeping busy interviewing people on everything pop culture for Geek Fruit on their new series Crossover Event, including Mumbai guitar virtuoso Warren Mendonsa. “I feel the musical that we put out has freed me of the expectations of my own music in some ways. It’s just like, ‘Alright, it’s cool. I can do that and I can do this,’” says Tejas.
Stream “Lead” on Spotify below and click here to listen to it on other platforms.