Watch: Mrs. Ippi Gets Snarky on New Video ‘Between Your Knees’
New Delhi blues and jazz singer Ipshita Roy talks about her debut solo album ‘Love, Life and Melody’
When blues and jazz vocalist-composer Ipshita Roy sings “Between Your Knees,” which essentially puts men in their place for all the times they think with anything other than their brains, she says she’s evoked “lots of little wicked smiles” from women in the audience. Roy adds, “I feel like I’m voicing out a lot of angry women’s opinions. I always feel a little funny to sing it in front of the boys, because I wonder if they get conscious.”
The song leads her recently released solo debut album Love, Life and Melody, which comes after a year of production and a couple of years after leaving New Delhi band Big Bang Blues and moving to Mumbai. She says although the band tried to make it work with a member out of the city, the logistics proved difficult. “I am still attached to the music and the guys, but I needed to write my own songs and get it out of my system,” she says.
The move to becoming a solo artist was also prompted by a shift in Roy’s listening tastes. She name-checks contemporary pop jazz/blues artists like Melody Gardot, Gregory Porter, Madeleine Peyroux and Jamie Cullum. “At some point, I had convinced myself that I didn’t want to do straight up blues and blues-rock anymore,” she says. After teaching and studying at New Delhi’s Global Music Institute and One World College of Music in Gurugram, Roy says her “musical universe was slowly growing.” Love, Life and Melody features Roy’s favored collaborators such as pianist Rythem Bansal, producer Siddharth Jain, guitarist Kapil Chetri, bassist Abhinav Khokhar and guitarist Adhir Ghosh, among others.
Watch the video for “Between Your Knees” below.
Yet, the six-track album is a rare vocal-led jazz and blues release in India. Roy cites the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall and Stacey Kent as major influences on carrying forward a sound that puts the voice at the front. Whether it’s the smooth opener “Take Me Back to Amalfi,” the groovy and playful “Because It’s Lonely,” the jazzy “Time Capsule” or the guitar-assisted “Somebody Better,” Roy’s voice shines in all its power and rawness, while occasionally allowing the instrumentation to take the lead. She says over the last two years, she’s got over a sense of self-doubt about performing solo. She adds with a laugh, “I still have that sometimes, but I feel I put a good act to hide it.”
In April, Roy even went on to perform a fully solo set in Melbourne, playing an 88-key digital piano she had lugged via flight. “I do have family in Australia, I was traveling anyway, [so] the gig was a cherry on top.” Amongst the 50 people in the crowd, the singer received kudos from many who had heard Mrs. Ippi music for the first time. “There was this guy in the audience, must be like 65 or something, and in a very fatherly kind of a tone he said, ”˜Young lady, you are going to go places.’ That just made my day,” she says.
Although there was a full band performance to launch Love, Life and Melody earlier this month in New Delhi, she says experiences like Melbourne have made her confident about performing solo. And that’s something she’ll need, considering Roy is moving to study jazz vocals at the University of North Texas, something the 30-year-old describes as “a long term dream.” She adds, “I want to test my capability as a musician where it’s much harder to make it. There are so many great musicians in America, and it’s really hard to crack it but that’s the real challenge.” Roy promises, however, that there will be shows in India before the move. She says, “I am trying to squeeze as many dates as I can before I leave in August.”
Buy ‘Love, Life and Melody’ here.