Knowing what you want out of life from the start isn’t just great on the mind, but the time. You don’t waste time on something you’re not 100% about. How many of us head off to college and pick a major that has NOTHING to do with what we actually care about? *Raises hand* Ishani was not raising her hand with me. She had a plan all along. Knowing what she wanted to use her degree for, she went with it and has not wasted a single second building a name for herself.
Her debut EP will be out later this summer but before we get attached to Stormy Emotions, we have her single “Insomnia” to fall in love with. Well that, and this interview that’ll leave you wanting more.
Kendra: When you were studying TV and film, did you know in the back of your mind that you wanted to eventually pursue music?
Ishani: Yes, one of the reasons I studied it is that I wanted to make my own music videos in the future. I love that I can do that now. I’m a very visual person and so I wanted to express my music in film.
Kendra: Most of the time we hear of musicians who make the switch from some really out there career to singing but you came from a creative field. Did that make heading towards music easier?
Ishani: It’s hard to say. I’m a self-taught musician but my background in theatre and TV did prepare me for some aspects of being a musician. For example performance and writing. It made me more aware of the broader world. Being in video production, helped me understand what it’s like to be both in front of and behind the camera. As I used to direct and sometimes act in different projects.
Therefore, when I decided to pursue music, I wanted to understand it from all angles. I studied sound engineering and learned how to be a producer as well as a performer. That helped me understand the whole creative process. It also helps me to understand and respect all of the people that I work with.
Kendra: Let’s go back for a second. How did it feel when you got love from MTV India?
Ishani: It was really exciting to see my video playing. I watched it whilst on Skype with my manager who was in the UK at the time. I jumped up and down. It was played on MTV India for a year I think, and I remember once visiting a supermarket and hearing a group of young girls singing it together. It was such a surreal experience, but I loved it obviously!
Kendra: Because you have lived all over the place from England to India to Singapore and back to England, is there one place that you feel your sound reps best?
Ishani: Probably the UK. I grew up here and so to come back here, it feels like a full circle. My biggest musical influences are also bands like Massive Attack and Portishead who started up in the UK in the late ’90s.
Kendra: Now let’s talk about “Insomnia.” With a track that has as many layers as this, where do you start? Lyrics, beats, harmonies?
Ishani: For “Insomnia” I had the lyrics and melody in my head. Then I put in a bass line and a beat. My friend Jason came over and played guitar on it. That process was actually quite unusual for me though. I more regularly put a bass line down and build songs from there. But different songs have different journeys.
Kendra: When you can’t sleep and want to just get lost in a TV binge, what’s your go-to show?
Ishani: Arrested Development is a show that always makes me laugh and I’m so happy the new season is out. I try not to watch TV if I can’t sleep. I write music. There is something about the quiet of the night that sparks my creativity.
Kendra: Because you’ve noted how you love being in the studio. How does that differ from being on stage?
Ishani: It’s so different. It’s like getting to know a whole different person. A side of me I’ve never met before. Performing a song that you’ve worked on in a dark studio, it’s not easy. I guess my music is very personal so sharing it live is a whole different world.
Kendra: Do you have any shows coming up we can be on the lookout for or will you be recording all summer?
Ishani: I’ll be recording a fair amount but I will be performing some gigs around London. Please do check out my Facebook page for any gigs that I post there.