In conversation with Kamakshi Khanna

Kamakshi Khanna

Your journey in music started in school after which you started going places and also perform for the Mozart Choir of India. Tell us your best experience till date in performing for the choir. 

My journey with professional music started with touring Austria and India with the Mozart Choir of India trained and guided by Pt. Ravi Shankar and Gerald Wirth. The best experience with the choir was when we performed at the very prestigious Golden Hall in Vienna. The choir and Orchestra comprised of at least 200-300 people with a packed audience in thousands. We sang the piece Gloria In Exelsis Deo. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of something so grand ever again in my life.

You’ve mentioned that you love the concept of Chorale singing. Tell us about your learning experience and how this thought developed.

Chorale singing, acapella music is something I’ve always loved and been very passionate about. I believe that the more you sing with people, the more you learn about your voice, tone, control, blending and that’s what helped me develop my musicality. I’ve been performing and singing with my collective for years now. Two albums down, I do want to now explore the world of looping where I’ll layer up my own voice with minimal instrumentation.

After having entered the Indie music space in Delhi, what were the challenges you initially faced in a place with a whole lot of talent and competition?

I see the Indie music space in Delhi as a movement that we’re all a part of and striving in. Rather than competition, I see us as threads belonging to the same fabric. We’re all growing and building the scene together.

How was Kamakshi Khanna Collective born along with your other band River?

The collective was something I started long before River. River came along because of our joint love for harmonies, acapella and similar sensibilities and keenness for writing music that stirs the soul and moves people. It’s been an incredible experience working with Abhilasha Sinha, Tarana Marwah and Utkarsh Varma. They all have their own solo projects too that I absolutely love.

Through your years in the music industry, who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and why?

I find inspiration in experiences. Places I go, people I meet, feelings I feel and so much more. In the music industry, the one thing that keeps me going is believing in the power of creation and how it contributes to the world even if its in the smallest of ways.

Tell us about your best live performance till date and what made it so special?

Definitely NH7 pune 2017-8th December with Pranav Pahwa on guitars, Gautam Menon on Drums, Harshit Misra on Bass and Pranay Parti on keys. I felt like we were all a part of one giant ball of positive energy. Everyone was engaged and having a good time. We got the best platform and crowd we could have asked for and all the blood, sweat and tears felt like they were worth it.

You gained recognition after The Stage, how was your experience in participating in the it and what was your biggest takeaway?

The best part of The Stage for me was how it pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. As a songwriter, you have so much liberty as to what you want to do with your art and how and when you want to share it with the world that sometimes you get caught up in your own head. The Stage helped me unravel a part of myself that was in there hiding. The judges have been such great mentors all along. Especially, Ehsaan Noorani is someone I have worked with in delivering songwriting workshops and has really guided me through my journey as an independent musician.

If you had the chance to collaborate with an artist, who would it be and why?

AR Rahman is my ultimate god. If an artist could be a home, that would be Rahman. My dream is to work with him one day.

Upcoming projects

The beginning of 2017, I released my album, Cakewalk and the music videos for the songs I Tried and I’m In My Own Way are now out. The plan for next year is to release a lot more music, collaborate with people and also finally perform and release material from my solo looping set.

She recently released her second video for her well received track ‘I tried’ today, a song from her debut album ‘Cakewalk’ that was launched in January this year, it is the second track to be turned into a video. Earlier this year in September, Kamakshi presented a video of the track ‘I’m In My Own Way’ which was released on VH1 and all other digital platforms simultaneously.

According to Kamakshi, “I’m in my Own Way is a song about realising that sometimes we slow ourselves down and hold ourselves back from the endless potential that we all possess as human beings which we will only see if we truly accept ourselves for who we are. Loneliness is nothing but the inability to communicate with oneself.” This vulnerable and sometimes painful process of self-reflection and soul searching is what this song encourages one to love and embrace.

‘I Tried’ talks about relationships falling apart, losing someone you once loved. “It strives to heal and takes you back home to the bitter sweet, wistfulness of knowing that you tried and finding the strength to move on.”

This interview was featured in our January 2018 issue: http://bit.ly/2EZwaWk