Updated: Jun 13, 2020
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. With everybody staying at home, one might feel like breaking the ‘CAGE’ of frustration and rediscovering themselves. Indo-American singer-songwriter Subhi has encapsulated this idea in her new Hindi single CAGE. A graduate in Finance, ‘music’ was Subhi’s true calling. Trained in Indian classical and western music styles, the multifaceted musician loves to experiment and fuse genres. In an exclusive interview with Music Beat, Subhi talks about her single, CAGE, love for modern pop, her various achievements, and more!
When did the bug of singing bite you? Did you always want to become a singer?
I was eight when I started receiving training in Hindustani Classical music and that’s how my interest in music developed. But I had no plans of being a singer. I graduated with a degree in Finance and was doing a corporate job when I realized I wasn’t happy and wanted to do something creative. I quit my job to discover my passion. It wasn’t until I tried out a few different careers that I realized music is my true passion and once I discovered it, there was no going back.
Your debut album was Shaitaan Dil and now you have released CAGE. Can you take us through your journey of music?
My musical journey has been quite an unpredictable and exciting experience. My debut album Shaitaan Dil is a Hindi Pop Jazz Album. I knew Chicago is known for its Jazz and Blues. When I moved to Chicago, I wanted to experiment and collaborate with local musicians there. Since a lot of my Hindi songs have a nice swing to them, I thought they would lend themselves well to Jazz. So I released a few singles with Jazz musicians without any intensions of creating an album. I got such a wonderful response on the singles that I decided to compile my songs into a project and that’s how Shaitaan Dil happened. My debut album release show was co-presented by The Jazz Institute of Chicago and I performed songs from the album at some of the most prestigious venues in the US.
After touring the US, I decided to try out a different sound. Cage has a nice underlying modern pop beat with an overall chill vibe. I love listening to modern pop music and want to work with different producers on my upcoming projects. Cage is a song in that new direction. For me, CAGE equals to writer's block. When I can’t create music, I feel I am in a cage. In a time like this, we are all somehow caged both physically and to some extent mentally. There are times when I feel my thoughts, ideas, and emotions are blocked in some way. It’s as if I am in some sort of rut. CAGE is a song about being frustrated when you are blocked from doing something you love. The song also celebrates the joy you get once you break free of these limitations. It’s about me wanting to be free with no psychological strings attached, so I can fly and re-discover myself.
You have collaborated with designer Alysia Fischer for CAGE. How was the association?
It was wonderful working with Alysia Fischer on Cage. She is such a talented designer who reuses and repurposes the rubber which is part of the inner tubes of tires and other things. Pulkit Datta, the director of my music video knew about Alysia and her work. We reached out to her and she loved the concept of the music video and the message the song sends out. It was a great collaboration where we got to show her meaningful art in a video that talks about rediscovering yourself as you get out of a cage. We wanted the music video to have an edge and I feel her accessories have really helped us get that.
What would you call your style of singing?