Tanushree Saha is an acclaimed vocalist, a theatre performer, an independent composer, a stellar designer-strategist, and an ultra-popular musician & performing artist based out of Bangalore, India. She also serves as the Head of Strategy at FRDC, one of India's leading retail design firms.
She is all set to don a whole new avatar as a 'character spirit' in her home production "Sweet Dreams", a kafkaesque gem and a one-of-its-kind thriller music video, as a part of her solo project, Tan Daze. The video releases on May 18th, 2018. You can subscribe to Tanushree's YouTube channel here.
This is an exclusive guest column by Tanushree, on The Times Blog. Here, the up & coming producer opens up about the kind of music she believes in creating, and the inspirations that have shaped up her musical journey so far.
I try to multitask a lot, and I live a multifaceted life, as I see myself yearning to achieve and learn more everyday.
My music videos have been featured in national TV channels, of the likes of 9XO & VH1. Many publications, both online and offline, have endeavored to feature stories about my work and I am grateful for the appreciation that everyone has bestowed so far. As we inch closer to the launch of 'Sweet Dreams', a project that has been close to my heart for quite some time now, I want to take a minute and discuss the milestones that led us (me and the Tan Daze unit) this far.
I was born in West Bengal, and grew up in Guwahati, Assam, for most of my formative years. But I moved to Bangalore almost 15 years back, and found myself surrounded by a stream of different musical schools of thought. As a child, I was trained in hindustani classical vocals, and then in the nineties, the sudden outbreak of Indie-pop and western musical influences brought forth the desire to become a part of the neo-pop music video cult. Growing up, I knew I wanted to feature in music videos that had intriguing storylines.
Folk, Rock & Metal
As a direct consequence of my family and heritage, I received a considerable amount of exposure towards regional (Bengali and Assamese) folk music - such as ghazals and rabindrasangeet. In Bangalore, by contrast, I found myself on stage performing at intercollegiate fests and evolved into the classical rock and heavy metal formats. Truth be told, I have never let myself lose touch with music. Even when I started working right after college, I joined a western classical choir, and kept experimenting and training on different musical styles.
I have never encouraged people to remain genre-specific, as it severely limits both a performer's knowledge and skill. I can best term myself a ‘Genre-no-bar, Language-no-bar’ musician. As I have mentioned earlier, I picked up all types of musical styles while I was growing up and really felt the need to learn new styles, on and off.
My tryst with "World Music"
Eventually, I found my solace in ‘World Music’. I listened to a lot of world-music artists, and found a natural inclination to think and compose with universal appeal. Of all the genres that I work in, that's the one I identify with the most. Also, world-music is so broad as an umbrella, that it encompasses almost all musical styles.
Among all the artists whom I have grown to listen and admire, Yanni deserves a special callout. I have been immensely inspired and moved by his music. I've always felt that his compositions are "from beyond", in a way that never fails to set a magical mood in everyone who's listening.
At one point, it was definitely Yanni and his music, that pushed me to start thinking like a composer.
Career & Music
I didn't begin as what you would call a 'career musician'. My family is best described as a hub of academia. My father is a scientist, and as kids we were encouraged to prioritize our studies above everything else. After high school, I found myself walking through the corridors of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bangalore. A few years later, I earned my postgraduate degree from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.
It's fair to say that at one point, I had decided to sustain music as a hobby rather than a full-time calling, even though I had an inkling of my potential as a musician and a performing artist. It took a lot of contemplation before I decided to take the plunge in 2014, when I summoned the courage to give up a rather hefty paycheck in exchange for a life of equal uncertainty and excitement. But I decided music was worth the risk. The time spent between 2014 to 2017 was very crucial for me, in the way that it shaped up my career as a musician.
The Beginnings & Beyond
I began with a small studio setup, and began exploring beats & tunes, writing lyrics, and this was also the time when I started training seriously in the art of music production. In a span of about two years since the genesis of my 'studio', I had already finished eleven original singles and a few cover tracks.
Meanwhile, I was experimenting with theatrical groups, participating in theatre musicals, and had largely resumed my on-stage appearances. I cherish that decision, because it helped me get where I am today.
Soon, I realized that I would push myself to do anything that I needed to do, to produce my own tracks with a qualitative benchmark, a meaningful message and a sense of unbiased uniqueness. I named my solo project 'Tan Daze', and decided to release all my future tracks under this label.
But reality has its own way of being difficult, and you need to level up at every stage.
"Once you have decided your path, it is your responsibility to stick to it - no matter how tough it gets". Those are words that I have chosen to live by, and they have always kept me going.
Today, I work at FRDC (Future Research Design Company), and simultaneously work on my musical projects. Parallel to my solo project, I sometimes compose music for short films, live theatre groups, perform at various entertainment venues (theatrical and non-theatrical) and also teach vocals, one-on-one.
I guess the struggle that I undertook those many years back, has allowed me to evolve into a version of myself whom I've grown to admire and love for her multitasking abilities. These days, I thoroughly enjoy keeping myself busy for the right reasons; I love it when I'm at my productive best, and I intend to live each day to its fullest potential, one day at a time.
On Tan Daze (My Solo Project)
Tan Daze remains my solo project, my baby, and I intend to keep moving forward with it as it does not fall back on any dependencies. For my video production work under the 'Tan Daze' banner, I double up as the producer, composer, production design manager, financier, distributer and promoter. I like the fact that there is an amount of perpetual struggle in the process, and the thrill of finishing every milestone is worth every drop of sweat and blood that goes into the making of this art.
Having said that - as Tan Daze continues to expand its track list, I am open to collaborate with other artists as I've done in the past, and I will record for other producers as well. At the end of the day, my music is experimental, but what matters most is that it stays high on melody.
My Message & Vision For The Future
I am optimistic about a future that involves a lot of travel, and the opportunity to work with artists both in India and around the world. I am excited at the prospect of collaborating with different cultures, and rekindling genres that are otherwise on the brink of extinction.
Since we as musicians are familiar with the power and potential of it as a medium that speaks to the masses and resonates with hearts, it is a shared responsibility among all of us to leave behind positive messages, and ideas. I truly believe in that, and hope to keep creating music with the right messages.
Stay tuned for an exclusive feature on the launch of Sweet Dreams, Tanushree's latest single, and a conversation with the production and behind-the-scenes crew of the upcoming thriller music video!