Faculty Speaks

Where Do All the Songs Come From?


Where Do All the Songs Come From?

An intimate interview with Aditi Ramesh on her Songwriting and Recording Process

Pranita Nair Pandurangi, the HOD of General Music at The True School of Music, Vijaybhoomi University catches up with independent singer-songwriter Aditi Ramesh to chat about her songwriting and recording process. Pranita has mentored several batches of Contemporary Indian vocalists @TSM to find their own voice as an artist, and confidently create their own oeuvre of work as independent artists beyond the boundaries of language. Her students have written songs in Hindi, Urdu, English, Marathi and Gujarati. 

As part of their final year @TSM, all Contemporary Indian vocalists write and compose their own songs and professionally produce, record, mix and master their tracks as per industry standards. All the other students from TSM – performers, producers and engineers alike come together for each project. Pranita is a versatile artist herself who began releasing music with her debut folk-fusion album, Rang in six different Indian languages: Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Urdu, Hindi and Rajasthani. She then went on to release an Urdu pop original, Namee and her latest release is a traditional ghazal set to electronic music – Beiraada Nazar. Pranita’s voice is also featured on the track ‘Chaap Tilak’ from Season 2 of the popular Netflix series, Masaba Masaba. As someone who leads Songwriting and EP Recording for Contemporary Indian vocalists at TSM@Vijaybhoomi, Pranita was full of questions for Aditi who was gracious enough to be honest and open up about her work

Pranita: What is your general approach to songwriting? Do you sit to write every day, or do you create batches of songs in phases? 

Aditi: There is no one process as every song is different. It could be a structure, or a topic, or a vocal melody which gets me started. Right now, I’m in a phase where I’m working on a whole lot of new music and there are a bunch of songs in the works. Every day, I open one of the songs and work on it a little more. I make a scratch or a demo, have a rough instrumental structure down and then fit vocal melodies, then add a little more detail to production. Then I add the lyrics, and then the final vocals over about 80% of the production – and finally, I come up with the last 20% of instrumentation and production. Right now, I have 5-6 songs which I’m simultaneously working on. Sometimes, I work on a piece and get fed up and then move to a different one. That’s kind of been my process for the last few months. 

Pranita: How do you balance singing, playing and songwriting in your daily schedule? 

Aditi: Practice is something that must happen every day even if I am not in the mood for songwriting every day. The constant in my schedule and what gives me structure is my practice. I wake up every day and start my Carnatic practice and post breakfast I do my piano practice. Between 5am and 10am, my practice fits in. The rest of the day is open for projects, traveling for a gig or songwriting etc.

Pranita: What inspires you to write a song?

 Aditi: Generally, it’s been different things that are on my mind, or my state of mind while writing a
song. There are songwriters that are just talking to someone, and they say, hold up, let me make a
note of that and then write a song about that. In my songs, I like to rant about things that annoy me.
I often use songs as a place to get it all out of my system as it feels cathartic and therapeutic and
people often end up relating to it. This helps me to make songs with genuine lyrics as I pour out an
emotion which I feel strongly.

 Pranita: What do you do to write when you aren’t inspired? 

Aditi: I listen to music. Thats the best way to get inspiration. 

Pranita: What is your songwriting process like?

 Aditi: I generally produce, arrange, write and sing my own songs myself. Sometimes if I’m working on
a song with another artist or another producer then the process varies from person to person. 

Pranita: What makes a good song, according to you? 

Aditi: My philosophy has been not to overcomplicate songs. They should be easy to connect to, easy
to listen to. I personally don’t like to write random words because they rhyme, there should be a
significance behind them. Sometimes, something that is easy to sing along to makes a great song
because it gets stuck in your head.

 Pranita: What do you do apart from songwriting that feeds into it?

Aditi: Listening to music is a big inspiration. I keep changing up my playlists because inspiration comes
from everywhere, and something will come up in a song which I’ve used in one of my songs much
later. I watch a lot of films and series. I also like being in nature. It helps me to streamline my
thoughts. I live near a forest, so I keep going for walks over there and that helps me a lot.


Aditi: What do you do to get into a ‘flow’ state while writing songs? 

Having discipline in my day in the form of a morning practice schedule because then, from 10am to sleeping time is open for me to create and that strict structure along with openness is a balance that helps me get into my flow state.
Pranita: What excites you the most about songwriting? 

Aditi: What’s the most exciting is watching an initial idea finally shape up into something which is very different from it. 

Pranita: What is your favourite original song which you’ve written and why? 

Aditi: All my songs are so different from each other that it’s hard to say. I keep changing and growing with time, both as a person and an artist. When I look back at my older stuff, it feels like a different person made it. Right now, my latest release, Filter Coffee is my favourite but my first song, Efflux of Time is also my favourite because I had no idea about anything when I made it, about the industry or the recording process but it holds a special place in my heart. 

Pranita: How do you select which songs are going to be recorded and released? 

Aditi: Earlier, in 2017 – 2019 I used to play a lot of gigs. A lot of songs would be performed live and then recorded. Now, I produce, and release songs first and then adapt them to live gigs. Mostly, all my songs get produced and recorded. I’m trying to get better at marketing and strategizing. Right now, whichever song gets finished first gets released. Post the Filter Coffee release will be the first time I will be planning out my releases.

Pranita: What is your recording process like? 

Aditi: I have the good fortune of having a studio space at home in Bangalore. In Bombay, I didn’t
have anything and had to go to friends’ houses or studios etc. Everything is done at home right now,
unless I must record live drums. All the production, samples, acoustic guitars, most of it is done at
MIDI, with the vocals being recorded at night post 9pm. For the bunch of songs, I’ve been working
on right now the beats have been programmed but may need live drums which will be done in a
studio. I haven’t tried that yet. 

Pranita: How do you raise funds for recording projects?

Aditi: I don’t have a budget at all. I try to do everything in the least possible money. Whatever I earned during the pandemic was put into creating the studio and buying gear. Sometimes, I pick up projects like ad films, short films, etc. To fund my releases. I cook my own food, have a strict budget for the week, because I have costs like mixing mastering and artwork – for which you need photographer, location, clothes, makeup artist etc. I have only done one music video till date, post which I decided not to do music videos unless it’s funded or is a branded partnership which is why Filter Coffee doesn’t have a video. I do like my songs to have visuals, but I must manage with as low costs as possible. 

Pranita: Do you have a specific promotional plan that you follow or does your promotional strategy differ with every release?

Aditi: I’m not good at it. Things were very different when I first started releasing music, there was no
Spotify etc. I do a bit of social media and share it with people from the industry but I’m trying to
learn and get better at this.

Pranita: What would you like to share (as a piece of advice) with readers who are new to the
songwriting and recording journey?

Aditi: I would say that you should keep listening to a lot of music, but when you sit down to write –
forget all of that. Be your own person.

Join TSM@Vijaybhoomi for a wholesome experience of music learning, and in the process – discover
yourself as an artist.

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