Watch Chennai Singer-Songwriter Tabitha Kagoo’s Stirring Compass Box Live Sessions Performance
Among the winners of a singer-songwriter contest hosted by the Ahmedabad studio, the artist performs ‘Ephesians 4:26’
What was originally an acoustic guitar-aided vulnerable song of conflict, struggle and love finds an evocative rendition for Chennai artist Tabitha Kagoo, one among three winners of Compass Box Studio’s singer-songwriter contest. “Ephesians 4:26” was recorded at the Ahmedabad studio with upright bass, clarinet, violin and more to become a sprawling tune.
Written as a reminder to herself to let go, Kagoo traveled to Ahmedabad one morning and rearranged “Ephesians 4:26” (her submission for the contest held last year) with Compass Box Studio founder and producer-bassist Raag Sethi, guitarist Chirag Todi, violinist Protyay Chakraborty, drummer Divyang Arora and clarinet artist Harmish Joshi. “It was very fun but I was nervous about it. I don’t know how to read music even, but the band made me feel so comfortable and really understood my sound,” she says. The additional surprise for Kagoo at the rehearsal and recording was finding fellow singer-songwriter (and contest winner) Anoushka Maskey in the studio, ready to add lush backing vocal harmonies. “It flowed so well, it was wonderful,” Kagoo says.
Interestingly, it’s not the first time she’s had to come in and record a song in one day. When she and bandmate Sanjai Shine recorded their debut single “Easy” for music series Indie100 in 2019, she got a firsthand experience of what a time crunch is like in the studio. With Compass Box Studio, however, she says it was a different selection process compared to most competitions. “You’re usually expected to go [sing like] Whitney Houston in your singing auditions, but here, they just wanted someone to tell their story,” she says.
Kagoo joins Maskey and Sheil Sagar as the three winners who have recorded for Compass Box Live Sessions, picked out from over 300 entries received for the contest. The judges included singer-songwriter Nikhil D’Souza, pop artist Mali and music company OK Listen founder Vijay Basrur. The studio’s founder Raag Sethi says, “We spent more time than usual on all three submissions, the Compass Box crew was hard at work figuring out changing and augmenting the structure, reharmonizing parts, and creating arrangements. This was also the first time we were recording the upright bass, clarinet and trumpet for a live session. We are really happy and proud with what we have created with these three artists.”