Non-film music is a space where artists can freely express themselves: Samira Koppikar

Samira Koppikar is a music director, composer, singer and songwriter. In 2015 she made her debut as a Bollywood music composer with the song “Maati Ka Palang” for the film NH10. Hailing from Bandra, Mumbai, she has trained in Hindustani classical music. She has come out with an EP ‘Sang Baarishon Ke’, with its first released song ‘Baat Kya hai’ and ‘Sang Baarishon Ke’ all set to premier today. In a brief interaction, she shared more about the EP, her thoughts and future projects, read to know more.

What was your inspiration behind your new EP and the four songs that are a part of it?

Nature inspires me. Sometimes it brings calmness and solitude, melodies drift into my mind. At other times, it sparks various moods like romance and melancholy. Life and people also fascinate me. The chaos and complications of relationships that are nuanced and layered can spark the journey of a song.

Why did “Baat Kya Hai” come out as a first release?

That’s how a thought, idea, or mood germinates. “Baat kya hai?” one asks oneself, and so a song is born. It’s the first one that sparked this EP journey and was created as part of this song collective. Hence, it’s the first release.

Watch ‘Baat Kya Hai’ here:

Tell us a bit more about your other three tracks.

The second song is called “Sang Baarishon Ke.” It is one of the first songs that I’ve written myself. The vivid imagery, lyrics, and this soulful melody came to me simultaneously. The music is deliberately minimal so as to keep the vocals upfront. The soundscape comprises only acoustic guitars, a live cello, and some ambient elements that give the song an intimate and relatable feel. The song drifts lyrically into a parallel English verse. It’s very different from what one has created and vocally rendered before.

“Boondon ki Saazish” is a song that captures the romance of the monsoons, when one feels like dancing in the rain or going for long drives, taking in countless shades of green. The mood is happy, spontaneous, and groovy, and another song features my lyrics. Musically, a pop song with guitars and an energetic beat driving the lilting melody and vocals.

“Iss Dil Ka” is a melancholic song where one is pining for the beloved. The heart is helpless, and so begins a tug of war between the heart and mind. The soulful melody is beautifully complemented by lyrics by Yash Eshwari. The musical arrangements are soft rock, featuring guitars and an electric solo that has an Indian classical touch, and drum beats that drive the melody of the song. misty monsoon mood for those who can relate to the pain captured by this haunting melody.

‘Sang Baarishon Ke’ premiers here:

How was this EP planned and what were the factors you kept in mind in the due course?

I enjoy the process of composing, writing, creating, and expressing myself through my songs. It’s second nature for me. I’ve been wanting to put out music consistently now, even on the non-film front, which is one’s own thoughts, experiences, and vision. What better way than to put out an EP, a collective of one’s sonic and song-writing vision

I just expressed myself without giving any thought to factors, the market, genres, etc. This EP is called Pue Expression.

How do you navigate between composing music for films and creating your own independent non-film music?

I enjoy both, as they are challenging in their own way. When one is creating for a film, there’s a brief in terms of the film’s script, characters, and the filmmaker’s vision that one needs to keep in mind. Indie music is your own vision. There’s no brief; the topics and musical spaces to explore are endless. It is a space where one can create a unique sonic identity.

How has your experience been working with renowned singers like Shreya Ghoshal, Kailash Kher, and Arijit Singh on your projects?

It’s been amazing to work with these artists, who are so experienced, talented, and sublime in their vocal rendering. They take the song to a level that is beyond one’s imagination and expectations.

As a singer, composer, and lyricist, what do you believe is the most important aspect to consider while creating music?

I believe in good lyrics and melody. This needs to be the spine of the music when creating it. Then I feel it will be timeless.

Which project that you have worked on so far do you feel is closest to your heart, and why?

Working on feature films with brilliant minds like Director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari for “Bareilly ki Barfi” was such a joy! I loved the script, and working on my song “Bairaagi,” brilliantly penned by Puneet Sharma and beautifully sung by Arijit Singh, was really special. Our album was nominated for Filmfare Awards.

My first feature film music album, “Laal Kaptaan,” featuring Saif Ali Khan, was an amazing experience working with Director Navdeep Singh and Color Yellow Productions’ Aanand L. Rai. The music was critically acclaimed, and we received an award for best lyrics for “Lahu ka rang kara.”

In your opinion, how has the independent music space evolved over the years, and what are your thoughts on its current state?

Non-film music is a space where artists can freely express themselves. The wave began a few years ago and is growing abundantly as more consumers listen to music on audio streaming platforms. There are many new artists who are putting out content on their own. Sonically, sometimes it tends to stagnate. But there are some artists who are putting out interesting music.

The current state is that the indie space is growing and evolving. There are bands like “When Chai Met Toast,” one of my favorites, who are now quite popular. Indie artists whose original music is in English also have a growing audience. Hip-hop and rap also have massive listenerships.

Can you tell us a little about your future projects that you are working on?

There are some upcoming Bollywood film projects that are in the pipeline. a few songs for some OTT series as well. Some singles for a few labels that are collaborative with some interesting artists, lots of indie songs are coming up as well. 11 songs until the end of the year, some singles, and an album as well.

Being a female composer, singer, and lyricist in the music industry, have you faced any challenges? If yes, how did you overcome them?

I feel that creation is beyond gender, and yet it makes a difference to some people. I have actually had some hilarious experiences. When I was at Yashraj Studios for a project, I was mistaken for an actress who had come in for an audition. The person concerned couldn’t believe that I’m a music director.

Another backhanded compliment that I received was that “you are quite clear-headed in terms of your musical vision, in spite of being a woman.” to which I replied to the director, saying that “sir, that’s the most layered and critically nuanced compliment that I’ve ever received.”

Overall, I have not had an issue, as people generally appreciate and value talent. The music speaks for itself.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are looking to make a mark in the industry?

Keep creating and putting your content out there. With consistency and perseverance, it is important to bring one’s experiences into one’s music. Keep evolving and reinventing yourself as an artist.

Well, here it is! Samira Koppikar and her latest project, EP by the name ‘Sang Baarishon Ke’. Watch the song ‘Baat Kya Hai’ and watch out for the premier of ‘Sang Baarishon Ke’ at 5 PM today!

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