Around last December, architect-turned-singer Anirudh Deshmukh had released his first single, a soothing love ballad titled Besabriyan. Now, a few months and more tracks later, Deshmukh’s popularity as an indie singer-songwriter seems to have considerably risen. Apart from his talent and gleeful personality, Deshmukh has made good use of the social media app Clubhouse.
In fact, one can even refer to him as a ‘Clubhouse star’ as the app has even roped him in as their ‘first Indian icon’. For the ones unacquainted with Clubhouse, it began as a social media startup with the app launching in March, 2020.
The purpose of Clubhouse is to create chat rooms of all sorts where people and artists can connect together and debate, discuss, or just engage in everyday chitter-chatter. The timing of the release seemed to be perfect as lockdown season had just commenced. However, Indian users gained access only this year.
One popular Clubhouse room is Deshmukh’s Late Night Jams, a show that he hosts every day. Musicians, singers, poets, and other creatives come together to share their art and encourage each other with Deshmukh hosting this wholesome safe space.
Today, the Clubhouse club called ANIRUDH (that hosts Late Night Jams) has over 73k members. Deshmukh’s personal profile on the app has 42.6k followers.
If this wasn’t enough, he has also become the face of the app (quite literally). Just search for Clubhouse on the Google Play Store and you will find Deshmukh’s face.
So, before these whopping numbers, how did Anirudh’s Clubhouse journey begin?
‘I first heard about Clubhouse in February 2021 through a friend. The app was invite-only then, and she sent me one. It was the first time I had heard of an audio-only app, so I was extremely curious to see how that worked as a concept.’ Deshmukh says while going back to the start. He adds that the app proved to be the perfect getaway as it opened the possibility of meeting and interacting new people in the pandemic.
In the face of dwindling physical performances, virtual concerts proved to be a marketable opportunity for some singers in the post-pandemic era.
Our story’s protagonist similarly utilised Clubhouse by just letting his voice do the talking. ‘As a musician, the best part about the app for me is the ability to just unmute and start singing! I don’t have to worry about anything else and being able to perform from the comfort of my home has been one of the most liberating feelings.’
With more and more people finding a platform to share and appreciate art, ANIRUDH started gaining more followers. Clubhouse allowed his music and presence to also reach overseas. Even people from Canada and USA actively participated in the club. No complex marketing strategies were required.
Anirudh’s club simply started growing from word of mouth and the sheer talent of its members. Every night in the club goes on a non-scripted, impromptu note as Anirudh opens the show at 10PM IST and members start joining in with their performances, one by one.
How does Anirudh feel about his newfound fame on Clubhouse? When asked about this, the singer was humble enough to see this rise in popularity as ‘the building of a strong community’.
Just look at how he describes the exhilaration of his first Late Night Jam session. ‘The “Late Night Jam” started on 22 May after my first vaccine jab. I was feeling low after the shot and thought music would help. It was around the same time that Clubhouse had announced they were opening the app to Android users, and when I opened the room to jam that night, a lot more people joined than we would normally have seen then. There were other musicians who joined in too, and we ended up jamming till around 7am in the morning!’
Clubhouse has hence been a productive venture for the singer. This story feels pretty optimistic in the face of social media toxicity that only seems to grow year by year. Deshmukh feels that no app is inherently toxic but rather, it is the users that can make it toxic.
As more and more musicians are trying to helm their own social media campaigns, Deshmukh’s rise to fame seems to set a precedent.
‘I’ve always tried to not focus on the numbers, be it on my social media or as streams and the progress of my songs. But I’m starting to learn how if these numbers are supported by a strong community, it can do wonders for artists and creators who work with social media. These are the people who believe in you and will stand by you and your work, and we should never take them for granted.’ He adds.
As of now, he continues to host his sessions on Clubhouse every night at 10 while working on his upcoming singles. While his first two songs Besabriyan and Rehnuma talked about a love that couldn’t be, the upcoming releases would cover the stages that lie ahead.
In 2017, he made the switch from an architect to a full-time musician. He has never looked back since. And his Clubhouse fanbase definitely gives him enough reasons to make more music and connect with more artists.