Bruce Lee Mani reflects on the pandemic through his first solo album, We’re All We’ve Got
In this inteview, the artiste tells us more...
LIKE MANY OF us, musician Bruce Lee Mani had a tough April 2021. “I started on a project thanks to my wife Bindu, who advised me to find a creative outlet for all the messed-up energy in my head,” he tells us. Taking to social media, the artiste started releasing one song per day, expressing all that was happening around us and the emotions it invoked — misery, hopelessness, anger, grief, and even happiness and joy. Bruce now compiles all the songs into one album titled We’re All We’ve Got: Songs from a Pandemic. “I guess the title says it all,” he adds.
Bruce, who is the frontman of Bengaluru’s much-loved blues rock band, Thermal and a Quarter, explains that the album is a snapshot of his experience during a very difficult time, boiled down into 30 bite-sized songs. “I oscillated wildly between many emotions then, and the resulting songs do the same. There was just so much going on, the songs were pretty much lying around. I just had to pick them up,” says the artiste who acknowledges he is not much of a ‘social media butterfly’ but having followers and listeners gave the project a daily dose of love and encouragement.
Thematically, the songs range from the personal to the political. Out of the 30 tracks on the album, some of our favourite titles are Being Positive, The Kindness of Strangers, What Bizarre Puppets and Engineered Inning. Bruce says that the songs were driven more by instinct and intuition, and the lyrics came to him naturally. The music for all the tracks was written in under an hour. And after that it was just about working out arrangements of the different instruments, recording, mixing and making the videos.
We’re All We’ve Got also features many collaborations with names such as Rajeev Ravindranathan, Sunil Chandy, Abhishek Mittal, Vasundhara Vee and Pallavi MD. The artistes have also decided that all the proceeds from the album will be donated to charity. While this may be a solo album, Bruce insists that he is not leaving the band. He admits that the experience of working on his own was ‘very strange and unusual.’ He says, “This flying solo thing was very new. I learnt a lot about my own process and what I could possibly do through it.” Up next, Bruce and the band are gearing up to celebrate TAAQ’s 25th anniversary. “We’ve actually got a lot of different ideas brewing!” he signs off, without revealing too much more.
Available on online streaming platforms