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Women in the Indie Music scene

Change is the only constant and the ever expanding music industry in India is no stranger to this. The indie music scene in India may have finally found its right chord. There has been a number of fresh talents entering the arena of independent music over the past decade.

It is simple how the entire indie music scene in India started. It is essentially due to the lack of an organised network for musicians. Thus, this resulted in musicians playing independently in various parts of the country. This eventually pushed them to experiment with the existing normative structure of Indian and Western music, and thus led to a warped music scene which as very refreshing to the ears. Although, only a few  musicians have been able to step out of their own comfort zone with respect to showcase their  unique talent.

The music industry from its inception is inherently quite dependent on women. Starting from Classical to Bollywood, women have, and is still playing a major role in changing the industry’s landscape. While hip-hop, jazz, rock, and electronic are still male dominated sections of the music industry as a whole , women in indie music, and especially pop and it’s kind , are the ones taking over, and that does not look like it is going to change any time soon.

Usha Utthup in the early 90’s made a break through with her unconventional covers of famous Hollywood music. We could say that that was where it started. Indie music obviously took its own course and with time it became a whole new den for music lovers all over the world. Kolkata based band, Skinny Alley, with their lead vocalist Jayashree Singh has also made its mark on the rock culture that was starting to develop around the late 90s in Kolkata. Their music is essentially a homage to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin with their own authentic touch of jazz.

Monica Dogra, soon, entered with her fresh beats and in 2005 she formed the electronic rock band named Shaa’ir+Func, along with guitarist Randolph Correia. In 2007, the band released their debut album New Day: The Love Album, followed by Light Tribe in 2008 and Mantis in 2010.

Moving away from the mainstream pop and rock, there was a fresh voice in the industry yet again. It was Vasundhara Vidalur, the funk, RnB and jazz vocalist, who brought back all these genres in the limelight once again. Her popular cover of John Lenon’s Imagine is still one of the best jazz covers of all time. We can find a lot in common with  Suman Sridhar as well.  Her voice will make anybody hold their heart out in their hand and offer it to her. It is very different and feels like Broadway all over again. She’s one such artist who has experimented with almost all the genres, and aced them all.

When the topic of discussion revolves around women kicking ass in the indie music scene, we can never refrain from mentioning Mohini Dey. She is a child prodigy who has played with almost all the top artists in the world, including Roger Waters!  Her music is inspired form the early Beatles and the Mamas and Papas. When she starts playing, she is sure to hold one’s attention with her effortless strumming on the guitar as she reaches to strike the farthest chords ( even in our hearts!).

Gone are the days when Bollywood music ruled each and every household in India. Any music that was different from the mainstream Bollywood beats was considered foreign and too western for one’s musical taste.  It is a completely different story now, genres such as jazz, trip-hop, blues, RnB and funk have paved its way into the Indian music industry and  has given a platform for many young artists to show case their talent, and India, is happily welcoming the change with open arms.

It is now time for you to update your playlist!




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