Surii’s debut single, You’re Not Alone, paints a melodic story of finding yourself amid loss

A debut single recently released by the 26-year-old, the song was first written a few years ago following the demise of the youngster’s grandfather.

Rebecca Vargese Published :  25th September 2020 09:40 AM   |   Published :   |  25th September 2020 09:40 AM
Surya_Giri

Surya_Giri

For someone loves the cold, calculated maths of music, Surya Giri’s You’re Not Alone is surprisingly emotional. A debut single recently released by the 26-year-old, the song was first written a few years ago following the demise of the youngster’s grandfather. “You’re Not Alone is a dedication to my grandfather. I wrote it just after his passing, amid all the clamour and noise of the funeral. I remember it was at 4 am, when there was this moment of silence and clarity, that I sat down and sketched the song and the verses came together,” offers the musician, who has taken on the moniker of Surii for this project. 

A retrospective conversation between a young man and his father about life and its unexplored possibilities, the lyrics primarily drive the tale of coming to terms with loss and finding one’s roots. However, it is the soaring Carnatic-tinged vocals of Sid Sriram and Shilpa Rao, accompanying the sparse guitar lines and a heavy-riffed orchestral crescendo — that ultimately bring the track to life. “Both Sid and Shilpa are old friends. And I wrote the song keeping them in mind. During the first sessions, I was nearly in tears the moment I heard them voice something that I had in my head for so long,” he shares. 

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Who are your favourite artists?

Radio Head, Bon Iver, AR Rahman...    

How would you define your musical aesthetics?  

I love to build really personal epics with orchestral arrangements.    

What do you love about orchestral music?  

I grew up listening to a lot of Beethoven and Bach. The maths behind the music is fascinating. Like maths, nothing in music is ever random. Of the infinite set of possibilities, why these musicians chose the notes they did is no mistake. And that intrigues me.

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While You’re Not Alone is the first solo music project by this third culture kid who grew up between Chennai, Chicago, Los Angeles and Singapore, Surya tells us that dabbling with creative arts has been an outlet for much of his diasporic angst. In 2018, Surya, along with his mother (a member of Kerala’s royal family), launched a luxury womenswear label, SGBG Atelier, to spotlight traditional Indian weaves. “The idea was to preserve my culture through stories, and both music and fashion can communicate these layered, abstract concepts equally well.” Running us through his creative process, the trained classical musician, who has written scores for films and documentaries, tells us his fashion design process is similar to writing music. “I compose the score, run it through a program, and it creates the shapes that influence the silhouettes.”

With other tracks in the pipeline, we learn that an EP/album is in the works. But, expect music drops in the form of singles only! “The economics of the music industry is rapidly changing. Streaming has given us access to everything under the sun, but it has also shrunk our attention span sizeably. It makes sense to release individual songs rather than force a bundled package of music on the listener,” offers the Economics major, who graduated from the University of Chicago. But what of the risks of being a one-hit-wonder? “Singles or an entire album, consistency is always key.”

 

(You can contact the writer via mail at rebecca@newindianexpress.com or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_vargese)

 

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