Interview: Mumbai-based singer Anurag Mishra talks about his debut album and journey in music
When Odisha-born Anurag Mishra took to the stage to perform a cover song during a talent show in college, he didn’t receive a great response. “I was booed off the stage,” he recollects. That was followed by not making it to the music club of Indian Institute of Management (Indore). However, he didn’t give up and went on to win an inter-college tournament, which he says helped him gain all his confidence back.
Six years later, the Mumbai-based singer has released his debut album, Project Swa. The eight-track project is all about celebrating emotions that we often tend to ignore. While the melodious Chal Pada revolves around a victory over depression, Pyaar Ek Dokha Hai is a sarcastic take on heartbreaks. “The idea is to celebrate everything we feel, especially ‘moving on’. We go through bad times and we fight and overcome them. Most times, we forget to celebrate the fact that we managed to move on. Chal Pada, as the name suggests, is about being proud of yourself for having the courage to take that step,” says Anurag.
Chal Pada also has a touching video featuring four others who have fought against depression, which is also one of the most viewed songs of the album. To record the videos, Anurag also started a crowdfunding project to raise 1.5 lakh rupees. Similarly, Teri Meri Kahaaniyan features as a short film — a romantic one with a cinematic vision. Composed by Rohit Dubey, it was produced by Vaibhav Pani and written by Dev Pandey. Although the concept, curation and vocals were by Anurag himself, he collaborated with many other musicians for lyrics, music and production. “I started my professional training just recently. With Project Swa, I wanted to bring together a mix of genres and ideas by getting onboard popular artistes. This production process has also helped me understand music and songwriting better,” he informs.
Each of the musicians — including Rupali Moghe, Akanksha Bhandari, Prasanna Suresh, Keshuv Huria, Vyaasa M and Lalit Bohra — have given the album a better dimension. While Anurag is highly influenced by Classical and Sufi music, it was the collaborations that brought in other genres as well. There’s a bit of electronica in Paas Aao Na, a touch of rock in Pyaar Ek Dokha Hai and pop in Yaadon. The other tracks like Mumbai and Maa are an ode to the city and mother (respectively), backed by soft vocals of Anurag, while Arzi is a musical prayer.
Available on all music streaming platforms.