Interviews ...

“Jag Jaage conveys a beautiful message” – Nihira Joshi-Deshpande

As a singer, Nihira Joshi-Deshpande has lent her voice to several popular songs featured in a bunch of Hindi and Marathi films. In the last few years, however, Nihira’s focus has been on creating and releasing music independently. As an independent musician, she has had several fruitful collaborations with artists from all across the world. Recently, the singer – composer collaborated with Ahmedabad based musician Chirag Todi on a new single titled ‘Jag Jaage’.

‘Jag Jaage’ has elements of jazz in it. There are bits of Indian classical music in it as well. All these diverse elements have come together to create a beautiful melody. When you heard the composition for the first time, how did you respond to it?

‘Jag Jaage’ is a result of a collaborative effort. Chirag is a blues and jazz guitarist. One day, he sent me a guitar riff which I found to be very interesting. After I heard the guitar riff, strains of Bhimpalasi raag started playing in my head and I ended up composing a mukhra. Chirag loved the fusion of these different musical elements. After sharing some ideas with him, I composed the antara of the song. Jonathan Edward came on board as the music producer and took the song to another level.

The song marked your first collaboration with Chirag Todi.

Yes! It was wonderful collaborating with Chirag. He is a highly skilled musician and a very down-to-earth person. At a very young age, he has a very clear vision of what he wants from a track and how he wants to go about it. I have been a student of Hindustani classical music right from the time I was a child. Chirag comes from a very different school of music. He has studied blues and jazz extensively. Since we come from different musical backgrounds, collaborating with him on ‘Jag Jaage’ was a very interesting process. As an independent music, he is doing a lot of varied work. It was our first collaboration and I hope we do more songs together.

I got in touch with Chirag after listening to his music online. He heard some of my music and liked it as well. We decided to work on something together. He sent me the groove. I recorded everything in Germany with the help of my mini home studio setup.

The lyrics, written by Sreenath Sreenivasan, have a philosophical bent to them

Sreenath Sreenivasan has written some beautiful lyrics for the song. Once Chirag, Jonathan and I created a structure for the song, Chirag got in touch with Sreenath. They have been friends for a while. Interestingly, Sreenath is a musician himself. He plays the drums. Once he heard the melody, he worked out a theme for it. He thought it would be nice if the words could reflect a sense of positivity. I reside in Germany, Chirag lives in Ahmedabad, Jonathan is based in Hyderabad and Sreenath lives in Goa. The mixing engineer is in Mumbai.

‘Jag Jaage’ talks about how the happiness we look for in the external world is within ourselves. When your inner world awakens, you start seeing the beauty or positivity in the outside world. That is why the song is called ‘Jag Jaage’. I love songs that have something important to say. ‘Jag Jaage’ conveys a beautiful message. That is why it is very close to my heart.

As a singer-musician based in Germany, does it become difficult for you to collaborate with artists based in India and elsewhere?

Sometimes, the process of collaborating with artists in India does become a little difficult. You are cut off from the core community. There is a time difference as well. Because of these logistical reasons, things become a little inconvenient. The joy of getting together and making music is what you miss when you are isolated from the industry. At the same time, the internet, social media and the growth in technology has resulted in a lot more collaborations happening. Artists from different countries are connecting with each other on social media and collaborating on different projects. If you have a decent recording setup at home, you can record things remotely without facing much of a difficulty. I do miss the pleasure of jamming and making music with other artists in a studio.

Who are some of the artists you would like to collaborate with in the near future?

I have a long wishlist! Some of the artists I hope to collaborate with very soon are Gulraj Singh, Meghdeep Bose, Ronkini Gupta, Chandana Bala Kalyan and Shruti Bhave. I have been a huge fan of British alternative rock bands like Porcupine Tree and Travis and would love to collaborate with them as well. Since I speak Spanish, it would be great to collaborate with some Latin artists. 

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