Arunaja rose to national fame after her stunning rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier” on the reality TV show “The Stage”. She was only 23 years old then and as a matter of fact, her flight from Kochi to Mumbai was her first time on a plane (she got the window seat too). Prior to setting The Stage (pun intended) on fire, she had been a student of Carnatic music from the age of five.
In fact, before her magical run on The Stage, Arunaja had spent only three years studying Western music. However, the inspirational songstress picked it up very quickly and carved her way into a new career. She was not only a finalist on Season 2 of ‘The Stage’ but was also adjudged the ‘National winner for Western Vocal Solo’ by AIU.
As a performer, Arunaja blends her innocence and humility with bewitching charisma and fiery passion. Over the past three years, she’s been mentored by Branko Stark and is associated with a choir group ‘Rock of Ages’ as a soprano and soloist. Over the years she has won many awards as a soloist. Arunaja and her band perform some wonderful Pop and RnB, which are driven by Arunaja’s powerful pipes.
Arunaja released her debut single “Broken” with Universal Music India and Sterling Reserve Music project in the year 2019. Now, she has released “Cyanide”, her first ever single as an independent artist and that’s the track we will be reviewing here.
“Cyanide” deals with the sense of passion that fades into oblivion as we try to fit in and blend with the surroundings. The song reaches out to every passionate soul that has ever felt lost trying to hold on to something while trying to go with the flow of the times. The term “Cyanide” is perhaps a metaphor to how this cruel world can turn even the purest, most passionate heart into something cold and toxic.
Musically, we have to start with the vocal performance. Hey, it’s a song by Arunaja, what else are we going to start with? How she packs so much power inside such a diminutive frame, is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. The blazing power emanating from her vocal cords can light up every single lightbulb in Kochi.
On top of that, she does it so effortlessly. Her voice doesn’t sound strained for a second. Another great aspect of Arunaja’s singing is that she isn’t a one-dimensional wailer. Her range extends from the soft and soulful to taut and theatrical. We can eulogize her singing chops for days. So for the sake of brevity, let’s just say that they go up to 11.
The instrumental accompaniment is quite powerful as well. It needs to be, in order to keep up with the vocal dynamo that is Arunaja. The beat is very strong and does a great job establishing the song’s rhythm of the song. It also builds up very well with the piercing chorus of the song, resulting in a magical crescendo and a memorable chorus (don’t try singing at home people, it’s not safe for your vocal cords). The mixing and sound engineering on this track are also incredibly precise. It feels (and it’s high praise for an indie track) like it’s produced by a major label.
Still reading? Enough now, go destroy that replay button.
Verdict: More powerful than the Saturn V rocket.