Chennai’s known in the music circuit for being home to some of the most talented acts in India, and MADM (Sanjana Rajnarayan) has just joined the ranks with her debut self-titled album. Anything we could say about it would be an understatement. Sanjana’s rich and mesmerizing vocals are set against the electronic backdrop masterfully engineered by none other than Sapta, another well-known Chennai-based act. Where most voices would be overshadowed (by the larger-than-life, and at times intimidating, music), Sanjana navigates the terrain expertly with her voice. There is nothing more rewarding than a solid collaboration, and all the songs on ‘MADM’ prove that.
Our pick: Don’t Be A Fool.
We caught up with Sanjana about the before-and-after of releasing the album.
1. Everyone’s talking about the album! How do you feel about all the attention and positive feedback?
I am absolutely over the moon!! People have been so kind and generous with their support and encouragement. It feels like a dream and I don’t want to wake up anytime soon!
2. Have you always been into electronic music or was this your first time venturing into it?
I’ve always loved listening to different kinds of music, electronic included. I enjoyed the entire process of making this album! Both Marti and I never worried too much about the genres or classifications. No benchmarks, nothing. We were within four walls making music and writing lines on the go. It felt like magic.
3. How was it like working with a seasoned duo like Sapta?
They are the best producers an artist could ask for! Both Marti and Tapass are exceptional. They’ve been so inspiring to work with. Marti is the one with the machine and he makes it look easy. He is always up on his feet and ready to make some music. Tapass is like a mentor to me and he has always helped me push boundaries. I’m grateful to Sapta for giving me my break.
4. In songs like Mother and Caroline, you’ve taken a distinct classical sound and made it sound contemporary, something very rarely done in mainstream music. What would you say your style has been influenced or inspired by?
Growing up, I trained in Western Classical music and Carnatic music. These influences consciously or sub-consciously play a part in my songwriting. When I first met Marti, he asked me if I had something we could work on. I hesitantly showed him a song I had just written then — Mother and Caroline. He loved the melody line and we sat down to experiment with it.
5. Instead of sticking to the overdone love song tropes, you’ve explored a lot of other topics. What is your approach to songwriting?
I enjoy communicating through my songs. Love is a beautiful feeling, but so is fear, anger and pride, and there are so many other emotions that you can’t really label. I don’t believe that there is a formula to songwriting. I just soak myself in the mood and realise my thoughts through words.
6. What’s next for you?
Looking forward to performing this album live, very soon.