The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard, but if there has been a silver lining, that has been for the independent music space, which in the absence of live shows and film projects, has flourished like never before. The volume of indie music that has been released in that last 15 months has been astounding, with many calling it the return of the ‘90s era when indie pop music ruled the charts. We talk to musicians who share their thoughts about this resurgence of indie music.
The rise of indie music scene in India was happening in the last two-three years, already. In the pandemic, of course, there was a surge in the number of indie music coming out. The growth is still on and it’s going to only get better and be the best phase in indie music really soon. I like that as an indie music artist, we get to work according to our taste, experiment on our music choices, and go all out in our songs and videos. We’re the face of our own songs, and there’s always scope of growing into something better.
The popularity of indie music will continue to grow, it’s going to get better from hereon, and not slow down anytime soon. It’s not like a phase or something, it’s going to stay even if film music keeps coming back. But, indie music will keep rising on a global level with bigger collaborations. There are lot of emotions and we have lot of sides as an artiste, which we can’t show, or we don’t have a place to express ourselves. But with indie music, there’s freedom to express our creativity. It’s based more from a personal experience. Sometimes, you’re trained in a particular art form, which hasn’t been used anywhere in regular songs, indie music gives us a lot of space to showcase that, and gives your audience to see this side of your versatility, too.
Indie music has already taken off. I wasn’t forced to get into indie songs, I wanted to do it. In films, there’s a boundary, a script that you’ve to follow. There are character arcs. The scope is limited. What about the emotions you feel apart from that? It’s my duty as a musician to give something to people who like music. Those honest expressions can only come out in the indie music space. I started with Sajna Ve and everything was fine at that time. Since then, I’ve released a lot of songs. No matter how many films I do, I’d continue to do my own songs. It’s a beautiful time now. There are so many musicians that are coming now and I’d urge everyone to put their own music out.
I’m happy to see how audiences in India have grown to accept and appreciate independent music over the last couple years, especially during lockdown when there was a rise of indie music releases and less film music. It’s nice to see more artistes exploring their musicality in the independent space as well. We’ve seen the rise of budding artistes whose music has become as known as some of the more popular film songs. So, hopefully the rise of independent music will continue. What I enjoy the most about independent music is the freedom to do whatever I want — vocally and creatively. There are fewer cooks in the kitchen with opinions, and I can pick the team I want to create with, to have the process and vibe that cater to me and my musical taste.
We’re living in the times where the ‘90s are coming back, the indie music space is returning. I’m very happy for the artistes in the country because now they don’t need a film to become musicians. They can literally produce music, put it online and start building from scratch. And when an artiste begins his journey from scratch, he or she learns more and grows better as musicians. It’s very important to have that journey. I know so many who’ve had a parachute entry in Bollywood music scene and they ended up becoming a one hit wonder. Being an artiste is about growing with our own music. I love the freedom that comes with indie music. That’s a great satisfaction for me as artiste.
Saksham Jain, aka Essjay
Independent music gives an artiste a freedom of expression. In case of film music, you’ve to think and compose as per the demand of the story and makers. But when you’re not bound by any script or contract, your creativity soars. Indie music not only resembles music that’s created without record label contracts, it also resembles a much deeper message of creativity. Now is a great time for every talented musician out there because there’s no dearth of platforms to showcase your talent. If you have it in you, you’ll shine. There’s no dependency on a label to promote your work. It’s a great time for musicians to come up with unadulterated work.