13th Annual New Age Song Winner
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Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: New Bedford, Massachusetts
Genre: New Age/Contemporary Instrumental
Categories Entered: New Age Song, New Age Album
Work Submitted: “Dreaming the Afterlife”
Artist Featured: Sonaljit
Who are your influences?: Yanni, Peter Kater, David Arkenstone, Kitaro
Describe your nominated work: “Dreaming the Afterlife” is the title track from my debut album. It’s an instrumental composition on piano and Japanese Shakuhachi flute, with some orchestrations using drums, bass, acoustic guitar, and some ambient sounds. I was motivated to work on this music after a vivid and unsettling dream that I had some time ago.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: Nothing unusual as such; just some ambient electronic soundscapes. The main orchestration was with piano and flute.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: For me it was kind of an evolutionary process. I didn’t make any plan or procedure to finish the production. Random tunes came to my mind, and I added in instruments to orchestrate the music. I did have a hard time doing the mixing, because there were many different sounds involved.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I earn a stipend from my academic scholarship in my university. Every month I used to save some money out of it, which I eventually spent in buying the necessary recording equipment and instruments. However it was just a one time investment, as I can use them for my next production as well. My main expenses were during promoting my album. I am expecting almost another year to recoup the expenses.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 13th IMAs?: I have a few friends in the Recording Academy who advised me to apply for the IMAs. I looked into the IMA website, and was quite impressed by the promotional opportunities they offer. So I figured, why not try it.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: For a musician or composer, I believe success is only characterized by the impression he/she leaves in the minds of the audience. More than any award or accolade, that is what matters the most for an artist.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: I will let my fans know about the IMA nomination, and put it up on my website and facebook page. But, I believe more than any award or accolade, that making a career in music depends only on the quality of the music itself, and it’s ability to captivate a listener’s mind.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: Mostly the ones who love contemporary style music. Also, people who like cinematic orchestrations, or symphonic style instrumentals. My fans do listen to various other genre of music, so I haven’t noticed anything unique in them.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: I have only been a studio artist so far; I haven’t done any tours yet.
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Yanni, Kitaro, David Arkenstone, Peter Kater, AR Rahman, Phil Collins, and many more. The list is long.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: I love listening to selected songs in many different genre. For eg, my fans would definitely get surprised if I say I listen to Dream Theatre. But there is one song by them, called ‘Take away my Pain’ which is my absolute favorite. I listen to it quite often.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: For contemporary style, I keep visiting a number of music charts every month, like Billboard, ZMR chart etc. I listen to the samples, and if I like it I purchase it from iTunes or Amazon. Streaming is good for easy listening, but in order to delve into different musical styles, buying is necessary I believe.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: Nowadays musicians make a living mostly by live performances or concerts. In the digital age, the concept of buying music CDs is fading away slowly. But I have to admit, it is difficult for a musician to make a living if all the songs are put out for free.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: Based on the interactions I had with my fans, my impression about them is quite good. They have given me a lot of respect for my hard work, and I am grateful. However, I did come across a few people who fail to understand how hard it is to make a living in the music industry, and even harder to create a work of art that has the capability to enchant and inspire.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: Yes, definitely. I am working on my second album, but given the time it takes for production, I am giving it a year or more.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…a tough place, but can be rewarding if artists learn how to survive in it.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: I am currently orchestrating a pop song which will be released soon. Apart from this, a new age album is in the process.
URLs: You can find my music at my Soundcloud page, and also on Spotify, Reverbnation and Facebook. For purchasing, they are available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Rhapsody etc. The URLs are given below.