SA personal attempt to shed light on underrated and less commercial forms of artistry

Recently, I had an epiphany, I began to question my love and passion for music. Music is universal, yet a subjective experience. It manifests in culture and religion, connecting masses of people on a both conscious & subconscious level , such as what we see in Church choirs, Mosque and Temple prayers. It can also serve to unite people of different time periods, as with the contemporary and evolving genre of ‘fusion’.   Music can also serve as a medium of communication, or rather, language for those in different countries! We see so many cross collaborations these days with Indian Raags being played on atypical instruments like the Oud or even fretless Indian instruments that can play quarter tones .

Music therefore has this intrinsic ability or power to influence human emotions and behavior. With such potent power in this contemporary era, it is evident why the music industry has some of the richest people and some of the not-so-richest, if you will. It essentially boils down to how you use this ‘weapon’ and that gives rise to the conundrum of using the weapon to amass millions and optimize monetary gains vs using the weapon to fulfil your own creative needs and creating a self- serving identity. There is growing competition and although this may result positively in terms of increasing variety and quality for listeners, it also means artists are under constant pressure of having to invest time and money in marketing/promotion sometimes at the expense of making music! Of course, there are cases where it can go hand-in-hand where this ‘trade-off’ ceases to exist. However, I do wonder: In a world devoid of financial interests, would artists express themselves differently? If so, to what extent?

These are questions I hope to find answers for.

Further, I really appreciate artists who have taken bold steps to challenge human conditioning and not succumb to an algorithm that can potentially be used to generate a hit song. Needless to say, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate these hit songs but to really create something that would take time to grow on someone, or would take time to generate feedback/response is definitely a courageous thing. I want to empower and support such artists. For example, a lot of music seems to be written in a 4/4 time. Why are we so attuned to that specific rhythm? Why are we conditioned to think a certain Raag in the Indian scale should evoke the same certain emotions to individuals of different backgrounds & preferences?  Further, Hindustani classical and Carnatic are just ways of learning - why should this be the only option? Why do we fear using microtones in the mainstream Indian classical system? 

These are questions I hope to find answers for.

Another unbridled passion of mine is score writing and the use of unconventional instruments. I find pleasure in dissecting scores and understanding how the sounds are made and produced whether they are live instruments or electronically recreated. Scores are conspicuous by absence. They can control a viewer’s response to a scene in a film and even control a podcast listener’s engagement. However, they are hardly ever released and not to mention, not even spoken much about in mainstream media. Why can’t we make scores more mainstream? Why can’t we give more credit and appreciation to score writers? Why can’t we explicitly mention and talk about those who spend a long time mixing and arranging?

These are questions I hope to find answers for.


Through my initiative, Shedding Light, I hope to connect with like-minded individuals and provide a platform for underrated artistry, appreciate unconventional talent, and communicate my learnings on an ongoing basis through conversation and dialogue.