Indian culture has permeated the world, be it through the country’s cuisine or our dress sense, but one area in which India could do better in, particularly on a worldwide scale, is music. Papon’s new song might be popular in the country at the moment, but ask people abroad if they have heard of it and they most definitely wouldn’t have.
Numerous artists have recorded huge success on this side of the pond, but cracking America or Europe has, historically, been a struggle. Mohammed Rafi is a name some people might know, but other than that it’s slim pickings. Success is as much of a gamble as playing a blackjack game for Indian players – artists must take risks. The talent is there, though. Momentum is certainly growing as numerous artists aim to buck the trend and tap into the mainstream. It’s surely only a matter of time before a top musician from India has worldwide success.
With so much Indian music out there, though, who are the independent artists making a real name for themselves 2020? Here’s a look at a few below.
With one of the most memorable voices in Indian music at the moment, Prateek Kuhad is a hidden gem for so many music lovers in the country. The singer-songwriter made a real name for himself in 2019 after Barrack Obama revealed he is a fan of his. Since then, his rise has been fairly noticeable, particularly on Spotify where he was the most-streamed artist on Spotify India in 2019. Prateek Kuhad’s talent is undeniable, which is why even bigger things are expected from him.
A well-known Bollywood composer and lyricist, Ankur Tewari is also a singer-songwriter with an abundance of talent. Also, part of the band ‘The Ghalat Family’, his lyrics take you on a journey as his storytelling connects with you immediately. As a lyricist, he is simply spectacular, with highly emotive and powerful words leaving a lasting impression on his fans. If you haven’t heard of Ankur Tewari then definitely give him a listen.
If pop mixed with rock and roll sounds like your cup of tea, then The F16s need to be added to your playlist immediately. Hailing from Chennai, the band has five immensely talented members who have helped contribute towards three excellent albums already, Kaleidoscope, Triggerpunkte, and Wknd Frnds. If you’re a fan of Indian rock and like to support up and coming bands from this part of the world, then The F16s are a great option. They’re only going to get bigger and better, too.
Parekh and Singh
A lot of people have heard of Parekh and Singh, but not everyone has. The pop duo from Kolkata is unique in terms of their style as they indulge in experimental sounds. Nischay Parekh, on guitar and vocals, is immensely gifted, as is Jivraj Singh and his intriguing array of effects and solid drum playing. The song ‘Ghost’ is well worth a listen, then from there you might fancy diving into more.
A band with a dedicated and loyal following in southern India, Black Letters were initially a metal band in 2007, only to change styles and transform into a rock band from 2010 onwards. With four first-rate members and a sound hard to find elsewhere around the country, Black Letters are expected to build on their recent success and carry their momentum further into 2020 and beyond.
Other artists worth checking out are Taba Chake, The Yellow Diary, Peter Cat Recording Co. and Anuv Jain.