When we talk about music in India, or Hindi music, it is often assumed that there is nothing more than Bollywood music. There are so many talented musicians and singers who we are unaware about. Music in India is so much more than just Bollywood. And today when most songs are just being remixed, here’s a refresher. These are Indian indie music artists you’ll want more of!
1. When Chai met Toast
Came across this Kerala based band while searching for fireflies by Owl City. Saw their song firefly listed below and clicked on it. That was how I discovered their beautiful music. The band began with Ashwin and Achyuth and later Pai Sailesh and Palee Francis joined the duo. Their songs are in English with a few lines of hindi and tamil. Some of their songs include beautiful world, khoj and believe. YouTube has given us the opportunity to discover this great indie-band. Once you listen to them, you’ll be playing their songs on loop.
2. Osho Jain
Osho Jain is an artist from Indore who has been producing some quality Indie Fusion music. His songs often include socially relevant topics and Hindi and Urdu literature. His song Khush Toh Hai Na is one I fell in love with the first time I heard it. His songs, Allah Shankar, Paisa, Jannat put forth their messages very well. Some of his other songs include Khud Se, Makhmali and Tujhse Badhkar Nahi Hai. His music is soulful while still sending across a strong message and it needs so much more appreciation.
Maalavika Manoj, stage name Mali, is a super talented musician based in Mumbai. Originally from Chennai, her interest and drive for music brought her to Mumbai. Her most recent release, Absolute, and singles like play are soulful and would definitely be something you’d hear repeatedly. Her album ‘Rush’, includes songs like dreaming, sooner or later and other gems. Her voice does its magic in a few tamil feature films, while her youtube channel has songs sung in English, inspired by situations in her daily life. Definitely check her channel to discover some great music!
4. Prateek Kuhad
His name must be one you’ve heard, but he had to be on the list if we’re speaking of talented music artists in India. Prateek grew up in Jaipur and moved to the US for further studies. Got to know him through a friend’s recommendation, and I was impressed. Tune Kaha instantly was one of my favourites. His debut album In Tokens and Charms includes songs like Flames, Be at Ease, Artist. Recently his song Cold/Mess got him some well deserved exposure, when it featured on Obama’s list of favourite music. India is truly blessed with extremely talented artists like him.
5. Dream Note
Dream Note is a Rajasthan based Indie-Rock band formed in 2014. I came across their song Waqt ki Baatein and instantly fell in love with it. The band was formed by Sachin Singh and Gaurav Tiwari and later joined by Yash Verma, Taresh Agarwal, Saurabh Parihar and Bharat Pareek. The band earlier performed covers and then began creating their own soulful music. Some of their songs include Na Kehna Tum, Khidkiyan and Tere Janey Ke Baad. The songs are in Hindi and are sure to touch your heart. Their music definitely needs more exposure, so be sure to check them out!
6. Taba Chake
Taba Chake is an indie music artist from Arunachal Pradesh currently living in Mumbai. Nature, birds and tribal folklore inspire his music. He writes and performs in four languages, Assamese, Nyishi, Hindi and English. His latest song on YouTube, Walk with Me, is pure bliss. It also has a cool animation video. Some of his other songs include Shaayad, Morning Sun, My other Side and Ngo Akin which is a Nyishi Tribe Song. Also check out his album Bombay Dreams. His music will make you realise that language is no barrier as you’re sure to enjoy it in all languages.
7. The local train
The local train is a Delhi based Hindi Rock band. They’ve gained more exposure compared to some on this list, but there are so many people who haven’t discovered them yet. A song they released last year Mere Yaar has been a favourite ever since. Raman Negi, Paras Thakur, Ramit Mehra and Sahil Sarin are the ones currently creating this beautiful music. Some of their other songs include Dil Mere, Aaoge Tum Kabhi. Their debut album Aalas ka Pedh was released in 2015 and their second album, Vaaqif, in 2018. If you’ve heard them before, that’s great and if you haven’t, do it now!
8. Anuv Jain
Anuv Jain is a soft/pop rock artist from Ludhiana. His first studio recorded single, Baarishein has been one of his most popular songs. Anuv Jain started off when he was only 17, with baarishein recorded in its purest form. Today, almost 8 years later, he has come a long way. His song Ocean (a song on the ukulele) is another favourite. Some of his other songs include Riha and Maula that are sure to be some of your most played songs once you listen to them.
Parvaaz is a Bangalore based Rock band formed in 2010. I came across their song Color White and felt compelled to check out their work. Khalid Ahmed, Kashif Iqbal, Fidel D’Souza and Sachin Banandur are the ones creating this great music. Some of their other songs include Shaad, Soye Ja and Dasht-Ba-Dasht. The band has a niche audience who love their unique style that showcases their own version of progressive/psychedelic rock. If this style of music is something that you crave for, you should definitely listen to music by this Indian Band.
10. Zoe Siddharth
A talented singer and songwriter, Zoe Siddharth was a finalist on The Stage 3 in 2017. She learnt the keyboard and guitar as a child itself and went on to study music in Singapore. After recording and performing covers, recently she released her single Human, a beautiful song about appreciation and gratitude. Her musical style is a mix of genres combining pop and R&B. A budding artist we can’t wait to hear more from!
So these were people and songs that never forget to amaze me. Their authentic and unique music style is captivating. The next time someone asks about music in India, use these as examples too. I’m pretty sure there are many more indie music artists who are supremely talented, and while not all have been covered, enjoy these ones, share them and also your other favourites too!
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