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Watch Manas Jha Address Anxiety in New Animated Video For ‘Shades’

The track is from the New York City-based musician’s 2019 EP ‘Reimagined’

David Britto Jul 22, 2020

New York City-based singer-songwriter Manas Jha. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Mumbai-bred musician Manas Jha is deep-rooted in the country’s independent music scene. From purchasing music publication Rock Street Journal’s latest issues to scoring their compilation cassettes Great Indian Rock and even queuing up early for Independence Rock at the now-defunct Rang Bhavan, Jha did everything he could to keep up with his favorite bands Pentagram, Zero and Orange Street. All this interest eventually led him to form his own bands Stonefree and Revolver and perform across Mumbai at venues Razzberry Rhinoceros, (Not Just) Jazz By The Bay and Hard Rock Café, Worli. He says, “We continued playing the indie scene for a while.”

In 2009, Jha moved to the U.S. to pursue his education and has since settled down in New York City where he has collaborated with like-minded artists and even put out two EPs. The singer-songwriter now has a new animated visual to go with the rock offering “Shades” off last year’s five-track Reimagined EP.

While the song falls in the Nineties rock category with Jha’s soaring vocals, a fiery guitar solo and the track’s energetic pace, the musician says, “It speaks to anxiety disorder in children. Something I struggled with personally.” He adds, “At school, every day was a struggle… Praying my name wasn’t called to speak in class. Avoiding friends on the football field. Engaging in substances that we were far too young to experience.”

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The song’s accompanying video – produced by Mumbai’s Ekabhuya Animation Studio who’s also worked on clips for artists such as The Local Train, Nucleya and Swadesi – brings the song to life with its visual translation. In the animated stick figure clip, we see references of anxiety Jha faced throughout his life, from being alone at points to him being unable to fall asleep. He says, “I wanted to share my story with others who may have experienced similar anxiety issues as children and with parents whose kids may be experiencing it now.”

With this video, Jha hopes to raise awareness about anxiety and encourages people who may struggle with it to seek support from friends and family as well as reach out for professional help. “Anxiety disorder is a debilitating condition, but an addressable one. I’d recommend the non-profit Anxiety and Depression Association of America (adaa.org). They offer some great resources, and the team is very responsive to community needs,” he says.

During the lockdown, Jha has kept tabs on all the livestreams that artists from India’s indie scene have been doing. He’s also been working on the script for his next music video with his wife for “Curtains” which is also off Reimagined. “It tells an introvert’s love story,” he says. In the pipeline is also a new single produced by Indo-American prog-rockers Skyharbor’s guitarist Keshav Dhar.

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Watch the video for “Shades” below:

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