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Watch: Arunaja Soars on Her Debut Song ‘Broken’

The Mumbai-based singer-songwriter on why she held on to her first ever composition until the time was right

Anurag Tagat Mar 19, 2019

Arunaja and her band. Photo: Anamika Pathak

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A million views might be a big deal for many musicians, but singer-songwriter Arunaja says receiving calls from rock veterans like Nitin Malik from Parikrama, Ehsaan Noorani and Benny Dayal was the real reward after releasing her debut song “Broken.”

Arunaja Nalinakshan, who hails from Kochi, made her way to Mumbai after being part of English-language music competition The Stage for its second season in 2016. Until then, the classically trained Carnatic singer says she had no idea how to write a song. With help from her live band ”“ which includes seasoned indie musicians such as Vigneshkumar Venkatraman from heavy metallers Albatross, bassist Roop Thomas (previously part of rockers Blakc and now part of rap-rock band Chabuk) and drummer Mayank Sharma from metal band Zygnema ”“ Arunaja says she gained confidence to write her first set of songs in 2017, including “Broken.”

After being part of The Stage, Arunaja says she understood the value of good marketing, which is why she waited for the right opportunity to release her debut single. Launched by Universal Music India and alcohol brand Sterling Reserve’s new release series, “Broken” was produced by singer-songwriter Sameer Rahat (from prog rock band Joshish). She admits that she was “scared” about the song not getting its due, but soon realized it could be “a product.” She adds, “It has to be marketed. I felt that was the right way for me.”

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That’s why Arunaja is not entirely surprised that her pained love song ”“ laced with R&B melodies and electro-rock instrumentation and written in memory of her father ”“ has racked up over 1.5 million views since its release on March 8th. She however adds, “I knew it was going to hit 1 million at some point, but I’m very grateful. The response has been amazing.”

While she’s already lent her voice to a Bollywood track ”“ “Dankila,” composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for period drama Manikarnika ”“ Arunaja says “everything is short-term” in terms of plans. There’s a few more demos that are being developed for solo and Bollywood projects, but she says with a laugh, “Thinking too much scares me off. I don’t think too far ahead.”

Watch the video for “Broken” below.

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