A tête-à-tête with Arunaja who is at the top of her ‘GAME’.
Bad News – with the onset of the pandemic, it feels like it’s everywhere, especially when you turn on the TV or go online. Shocking headlines make us feel that the world is falling apart. We never really needed to hold on to our faith as much we do now.
And like an oasis in the desert, Arunaja Nalinakshan’s latest track GAME is here to pacify our hearts, to instil hope and to make a solid place in our playlists. Written and performed by Arunaja, this orchestral pop track is co-composed with Ossi Jauhiainen and mixed and mastered by Mikko Tuomi.
We caught up with the singer-songwriter, who is currently at the top of her ‘GAME’ and here are some excerpts from our super fun and candid chat.
- When did you discover your voice, and were you quick to use it once you realized you could carry a tune like no other?
There was never a point like “aha! I can sing” for me. I have always been singing. Even before my folks decided to enroll me into music classes at the age of 5. It almost feels like I was born with it and it never felt like a special thing for me until I started winning competitions in school. That when it hit me, not everyone can sing… haha
- How did The Stage change your life?
‘The Stage 2’ helped me realize what I can do with music. More like a perspective or rather a direction towards my next step in life. Coz had just finished my Master degree in commerce and it was time for me to decide what next.
- Could you share some hands-on advice for young aspiring musicians or independent artists?
My advice to them would be to dig deep and strive for originality.
- How was your experience during your first Bollywood gig for Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi?
I still remember getting a call from Ehsaan one day out of the blue. He asked me to show up at their studio. I honestly couldn’t believe that I was sitting next to Shankar on a Sofa. Loy, right behind the sofa fiddling with his keys and Ehsaan chilling with the guitar. I had a ton of fun. I got to learn a lot. They are such cool human beings. Down to earth and absolute chillers.
- What’s the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
- Do tell us about your latest gig ‘GAME’ and what you love about it?
The fact that the song is about having faith. The other fact that I love about the song is that I haven’t even seen my collaborators and the connection and chemistry that we have sitting miles away from each other with just vibing off of each other on WhatsApp calls and creating magic with no compromise on the quality. It’s an orchestral pop track that I’ve co-composed with Ossi Jauhiainen and Mikko Tuomi has mixed and mastered it. I honestly can’t wait for you guys to see the video that we are cooking up. It’s gonna be a treat for your eyes.
- You have this incredible ability to infuse emotion into all your words and make the listener feel everything that you’re singing. Can you tell us a little about your songwriting process?
My songwriting process is basically vomiting everything that I feel or am inspired by life at that point in time. Absolute honesty with myself and my pen ‘n’ paper (Yeah, I’m old school that way ) 95% of the time I come up with the melody and my words together and so far it feels right to me. I’m experimenting with other ways of songwriting lately though.
- Which artist do you admire the most (male and female) and why?
Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Legends. GOAT! MJ’s as an artist inspires me to this day. Excites me and makes me giggle like a child, just like years before when I heard him for the first time. Whitney is the greatest singer of all time. Period!
- Has social media played an important role in your career?
Social media is free. It’s the best form of advertisement and helps an artist connect to their fans and listeners from all around the world. For me, I love interacting with my audience. And my target audience is pretty scattered in their taste and geography coz I also do a lot of songs in my mother tongue Malayalam. So, it’s fun to reach out to people with different tastes in music.
- What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your music?
I love it when they say ‘I got goosebumps. Hahaha, I love it!
- How would you describe your sound in 3 words?
Soulful, Honest and dramatic 😛
- 3 things you need in the studio/3 things you can’t live without
Pen and Paper, Warm Water, and Darkness (except for the light on lyrics)
- If you could have your pick of any venue in the world, where would you want to perform?
Royal Albert Hall. ( London, UK )
- If you could have your pick of any artist in the world, who would you want to work with?
AR Rahman and David Foster
- One thing people don’t know about you.
That I’m not a Pasta Fan.
- Your favourite/go-to song?
No go-to songs. But currently, I’m obsessed with Retrograde by James Blake.
- What’s an IG account you’re guilty of stalking/following?
Haha recently, a nail technician who can make nails out of literally anything. You name it. Onion peels, wooden chips, bubble wrap… it’s outrageous, I love it.
- If you could switch lives with one person for a day, who would it be?
Gorden Ramsay. Hahaha for obvious reasons. So creative even while trashing. The Swag.
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