#IndieFind: Prateek Kuhad

Posted at April 29th, 2016 | by Shivani Goel | in Grapevine

Prateek Kuhad has emerged on the indie-pop scene in the past few years and won people over with his simple, soulful “indie” music. The singer-songwriter didn’t become a full time musician till 2013 after he returned to India after studying at New York University. He makes songs in both English and Hindi and is the perfect bridge in India for mellow music in both languages. His voice, lyrics, and acoustic arrangements are light and pleasing with beautiful narratives and we can’t help but croon along. From his first EP of three songs in English, to his latest single ‘Tune Kaha’, Prateek has defined his niche in the indie folk-pop scene in India and abroad.

 

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Born and raised in Jaipur, he started playing the guitar when he was 16 and didn’t seriously start song-writing till his first year of college. When he’s not listening to Indie/Folk music he’s very open minded about other genres. Apart from psy-trance, metal, and country music, he pretty much listens to everything and some of his favourite artists are Hozier, Tom Odell, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West.

Kuhad had a tough time scoring decent gigs when he was playing during his college years in New York and he knew it was a tough uphill climb to make his voice heard on the island of Manhattan. Meanwhile, his manager at Pagal Haina Records, Dhruv Singh, scored him a few gigs when Kuhad was visiting India. After a few gigs here he realized he now had a fan base; more people would turn up and they actually knew the lyrics to his songs. After this there was no looking back and by now Prateek has played at some of the most prestigious stages and festivals all across India and even some great international venues. He’s played at NH7 Weekender, he’s opened for Alt J, and his latest album, In Tokens and Charms, was the best-selling album on OK Listen for an entire month.

 

 

“It’s a very conscious decision not to play at clubs. For the kind of stuff I write, it’s important to not have people conversing midway or getting drunk on the side.” Prateek‘s music is not designed with catchy hooks and it might take you a few listens to grow fond of his music but once it grows on you, you’ll be listening to it on loop. His lyrics are mostly about love, as, “life is all about human relationships.” Whether you’re in love, going through a heartbreak, or just in a mood, his music is somehow fitting for all such situations.

Raat Raazi, was Kuhad’s breakthrough EP of 4 songs which were released in 2013, and they truly put him on the map. The song Raat Raazi is probably his most appreciated track till date and it really tells you what his music is all about. His lyrics are so beautifully written and he says it comes to him organically as songwriting is his first love.

 

 

When he’s performing as a group on stage he’s often joined by keyboardist Dhruv Bhola and drummer/percussionist Nikhil Vasudevan or members of the Prateek Kuhad Collective. He’s also often shared the stage with other musicians who complement his music and he gives a truly stellar show which is so far from the MDMA fuelled crowd that the nightlife of this country is turning into.

 

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His first full album, In Tokens & Charms, which released in 2015 is a compilation of 10 english songs, beautifully sung and composed. When asked to pick a favourite, Kuhad says that Flames is probably closest to his heart.

 

 

He suggests that it’s best to listen to this album alone so that one can dig deep and understand that many layers and thoughts that are present in the music and lyrics. On why it’s an all English album, Kuhad says, “I’ve always written in both languages. I don’t see why there should be a demarcation. I’ve always consumed pop culture in both languages, so the songwriting is always decided by the moment I’m in.”

 

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His latest single, Tune Kaha, released in 2016 and it proves yet again that the man can weave magic in either language. His songs have a quality that seems really familiar but you can’t exactly name another artist who makes the same kind of music. His music lingers on and you can get lost in his albums. It’s uncomplicated, soulful, and absolutely divine.

 

Follow him on Facebook and SoundCloud to stay updated with his shows and releases.

 

Shivani Goel

मुख्य लेखिका

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