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“When An Artist Hits Rock Bottom, The Only Way To Go Is Up”: Bhrigu Sahni

“Everyone has to believe in themselves and push, push and push hard to achieve their goals," Bhrigu Sahni tells us over the phone.

He truly believes that because without this particular motto, he wouldn’t be where he is today: leaving New York City to tour India after the release of his debut album, ‘What Is Now’.

Bhrigu first started making music when he was a teenager, looking for an outlet for his creativity, “I remember vividly writing a piece of music on my guitar, a very old guitar that I used to take to class where everyone else had expensive ones.”

That first track led him on a journey to pursue music full-time. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and "was nominated as one of the first Indians to be featured in the colleges’ prestigious and annually held, ‘Guitar Night 2008’."

Bhrigu was one of the 8 performers selected from 1000 guitar students at Berklee. After graduating, Bhrigu’s gone to become a professional musician: “I was mostly living in New York City, being a session musician for other artists.”

Having gained a reputation for his unique style, Bhrigu said that while in New York, he felt “fairly lost in [the] city. I had these ideas, these songs, just my guitar and voice, maybe an instrumental piece, that’s about it. Maybe.” Bhrigu was particular, finicky even on how he wanted his music to be produced, but it was apparently “hard finding someone to work with.’

“When an artist hits rock bottom, the only way to go is up” and for Bhrigu, that saying couldn’t be truer as he found himself reinvigorated and rejuvenated in Pune. He was able to focus on his music more clearly and started hanging out with his friend Karan Kulkarni.

“We've known each other since we were 15, man.” Bhrigu expressed happily. “He completes my thoughts.”

The two of them started thinking about how to make music together, how to produce tracks with Kulkarni laying beats down, adding electronic elements to the music with Bhrigu’s vocals and guitars layered on top.

Those initial conversations started what was a “strenuous, heartbreaking, draining [both emotionally and financially] process.”

The album was recorded and produced over a year in Bombay with everyone and everything based out of the city. Bhrigu spent a part of the year “on tour to raise funds to pay for this. I also ran an IndieGoGo campaign and of course, [he laughs] my parents helped.”

After completing the 6-track album, he went back to the Big Apple to get it mixed but found that “no one really gave a shit.”

Bhrigu believes that “it’s really important for your first album as an artist to be working with people who really love and believe in your effort, music, art, goals and vision.”

Eventually, he made his way back to Bombay to have it mixed by people he knew, his sound engineer in particular, which re-ignited his love for the album.

“Nowadays, it’s really hard for audiences to stay in the moment and really appreciate what artists are doing, you know. And so we’re trying to create an immersive kind of environment where you have projections, dim lights,” Bhrigu said. He wants audiences to walk into a space and "it’s like an art exhibit."

With shows at The Humming Tree in Bangalore today (9 June), antiSOCIAL in Mumbai on 14 June and a Pune show after that, Bhrigu's journey of making music is coming full circle: "I am extremely grateful for all of this and I couldn't he happier."

Get gig details for Bhrigu Sahni's tour of India and follow him on Facebook here.

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09 June 2017