The Many Hats Of Kavya Trehan And The One That Matters Most

The Many Hats Of Kavya Trehan And The One That Matters Most
Nayantara Parikh

[On 16th-19th January, 2019, Homegrown is throwing a first-of-its-kind music festival in Mumbai designed to celebrate the city’s vast and diverse music culture. Dive deep into a wide variety of dynamic workshops, exhibitions, curated tours, panels, pop-ups, performances and parties that promise to be inclusive of all kinds of tastes and people.

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I’ve been called a blogger, I’ve been called a this, I’ve been called a that. But this time I just wanted to be like -

Fuck you guys.

I’m a musician.

I’m coming up with my shit.

And it’s all going to be about ‘Underscore’.

Kavya Trehan dons multiple hats with grace and grit. A true-blue, modern-day renaissance woman, there’s a good chance you’ve come across her work in some form or the other. Whether it’s as the magnetic front-woman of the Delhi band, Mosko; the silvery voice featuring chart-topping hits by the likes of Nucleya or Dualist Inquiry; or even as the frolicking protagonist of the latest Tinder commercial; it’s definitely been a minute since Kavya has made her presence felt. This time around, however, she’s circling her way back to her roots and emotionally investing in the creative pursuit that started it all : KAYVA. A solo project with complete artistic control. Just her, and her music. And she’s already out with her debut single called ‘Underscore’.

“After a point, I really missed the fact that I could have the freedom of making the kind of music I wanted and also go live with it, just the way I started off”, she says, having played her first gig at the age of 14. Over the years, as she honed her craft as a vocalist, she simultaneously polished the much needed team-skills that are essential in collaborative projects like a band. But even the zest of the musicianship that comes along by being in a stellar live outfit like Mosko didn’t appease her palette, as she yearned the solace of creating something that was all her own. The kind of silence that would nurture a cathartic and honest form of self-expression via the medium of music. “My solo project is just me in my room alone, with my influences, my experiences and my strengths and weaknesses”, she explains.

Even though her creative process starts the same way, a voice-note of just her and her guitar, the real quest begins in translating it into a digital audio workstation, a skill she has been trying to sharpen for the past year. But beyond just trial and errors along with YouTube remedies, Kavya had the wonderful advantage of having an excellent network of talented musicians to learn from. “While I wanted to produce this on my own, I also had been listening to well produced music for the longest time. So there was this active comparison and the feeling of - why am I not being able to reach that level? This is why it took so long and also why I got Rohan Rajadhyaksha and Rohan Ramanna on board”, she talks about the proficient folks of Salvage Audio Collective responsible for producing and mixing her material. It can’t be ignored that Kavya’s solo project will have a stronger sense of critique, since people are already invested in her work so far, and she’s hyper aware of that. But for her, the excitement of sharing her music definitely trumped over the nervousness of being judged.

“I’m not the kind of kid who makes things and simply sits with them. Even if it has not reached my idea of perfection, I want to put it out to get feedback and have my friends and family be a part of the journey”, Kayva says, talking about her debut single, ‘Underscore’, which was written almost a year ago. A charming electronic track which kicks off with a sweet hypnotic melody as Kavya’s voice takes over only to transcend into a bouncier space with punchy productions. Thematically, the song explores the perils of sometimes trying a bit too hard in a creative endeavour, an issue which had been vexing Kavya throughout the production process. She’s crossed over to the other side with a brighter attitude though and has no qualms of not coming off as mysterious or complicated, but wants to reminisce and cherish the innocence of her creativity. There’s lots more where it came from too.

“Woohoo! This is the first time I’m talking about the EP,” Kayva bubbles with excitement as our brief conversation comes to an end. Bringing up her much-awaited 4-track EP, which she is planning to put out in 2018, Kavya describes it as a heartfelt passion project that has been in the works for almost a year. She also promises that the rest of the tracks are sonically varied from this debut. Beyond the EP, she has a bunch of things lined up for the rest of the year too, starting off with a music video for Underscore which will be exclusively aired on VH1 India from the 6th and 7th September onwards. Shot in Los Angeles, the entire video has been single-handedly put together by Shawn Thomas, a director who has also worked with the likes of DIVINE and Raja Kumari. Music, EPs, videos seems to be doable for an individual who’s already carving out space in the realm of modelling, acting and more. A fiercely dynamic female artist is what our creative industry needs. So here’s wishing all the more success to Kavya, for KAVYA.

Directed, produced and edited by Shawn Thomas

Featured photographed by Nayantara Parikh.

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