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Creativity thrives on chaos, not on rules and processes: Jaimin Rajani

The Kolkata-based singer-songwriter talks about his new single, ‘No Vices’, his collab with Kadambari Zokarkar, upcoming album and more

Manisha Maity | Published 20.04.24, 04:13 PM
Singer-songwriter Jaimin Rajani

Singer-songwriter Jaimin Rajani

Photos: Jaimin Rajani

From folk fusion to electronica, India’s indie scene is a vibrant kaleidoscope of genres, with new artistes emerging regularly. Amidst this dynamic landscape, Kolkata-based singer-songwriter Jaimin Rajani, known simply as Jaimin, stands out with a style that evokes a nostalgic charm. Even after two years since the release of his debut album, Cutting Loose, fans are still discovering new depths to Jaimin’s music. His distinctive tones and relatable storytelling continue to resonate — drawing everyone back for repeat listens.

This time, Jaimin returns with his new single, No Vices, where he trades his usual soft-rock sound for a stripped-down acoustic duet with simple yet evocative lyrics. Primarily sung by Kadambari Zokarkar, known for her work in brand strategy and marketing, it marks her debut release as a singer.

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‘No Vices’ is a ballad about a missed connection

‘No Vices’ is a ballad about a missed connection

Set against the backdrop of a bustling bar scene, the song captures the social tension between two strangers yearning to connect – a woman in search of companionship and a man, who steers clear of alcohol. As their paths intertwine, they realise the futility of trying to make acquaintances due to their vastly different preferences.

The sound of No Vices is characterised by its playful yet elegant melody, with delicate piano playing and emotive vocals leading the way. Maintaining a subdued tempo throughout, the song sets a sombre tone that perfectly complements the poignant lyrics.

Jaimin’s distinctive songwriting style shines through, leaving ample room for interpretation and engaging the listener’s imagination. The lines — Left alone to his devices / Seemed like he didn’t have vices/ No beer, no brandy, no gin, no rum, no whiskey — not only reveals the core conflict but also uses a playful alphabetical listing of drinks, infusing a whimsical charm into the narrative.

With Kadambari’s vocals anchoring the narrative, she lends the perfect voice to the song’s protagonist. Additionally, the song features a talented ensemble of musicians, including Kolkata-based Latin-jazz pianist Pradyumna Singh Manot (Paddy), American bassist Charles Parker Mertens, jazz drummer Arjun Chakraborty and 18-year-old guitar prodigy Anchit Sengupta, who’s on his way to London’s Royal Academy of Music. Music educator and guitarist Subharaj Ghosh serves as the song’s producer.

Kadambari Zokarkar: ‘No Vices’ marks her debut release as a singer

Kadambari Zokarkar: ‘No Vices’ marks her debut release as a singer

Speaking to My Kolkata, Kadambari said, “Music continues to be a big part of how I understand and appreciate the world. Lately, I have been inclined towards exploring diverse arrangements in Jazz, R&B, acoustic interpretations of rock and more. So, when Jaimin reached out with his idea of No Vices and its initial composition, I was immediately on board, given its playful yet charming spirit.”

No Vices embodies the enduring power of storytelling through a song, weaving a relatable tale of a missed connection into a beautiful waltz-style melody, exemplifying Jaimin’s knack for captivating narratives within his music. In a candid chat, Jaimin reveals more about his music, the inspiration behind No Vices, and life as an indie artist. Read on…

My Kolkata: What fuels your passion for composing music?

Jaimin: A strong melody is the heartbeat of a song. Crafting them excites me, driving my passion to write songs. Secondly, I’m very reticent, and to a large extent, my lyrics act as a gateway to my subconscious — it’s like self-discovery. This mechanism behind songwriting fascinates me enough to keep going.

Could you guide us through your creative process? How did you conceive this song?

For me, creativity thrives on chaos, not on rules and processes. And in my case, it demands solitude. Songwriting isn’t a chore, it’s a hunt. The melody usually leads, while the perfect set of lyrics is already out there in some dimension, and I’m just the matchmaker who has to draw them out.

When I penned this song back in January 2020, its first draft was a solo version, maintaining the same storyline. I played it to a friend, who tossed out the idea of turning it into a duet. For once, I listened to his suggestion and gave it a shot, rewriting parts of it to offer a fresh perspective.

‘Creativity, for me, thrives on chaos, not on rules and processes,’ says Jaimin

‘Creativity, for me, thrives on chaos, not on rules and processes,’ says Jaimin

How do you select the musicians, who collaborate on your tracks, to ensure the perfect fit?

Being based in Kolkata, I’m surrounded by excellent musicians, many of whom contributed to this song. If I find someone impressive, I don’t hesitate to approach them with a request to enhance a song — especially where I sense a potential for musical alchemy. Kadambari is one such example. We’ve been connected on social media, and I absolutely loved her voice in the snippets she would post. So, I asked her to lend her voice on this one, and thankfully, she was kind enough to agree! These decisions are almost entirely intuitive, and of course, there’s no way of knowing how exactly it’s going to turn out in the end. I trust my instincts and hope for the best.

Could you share insights into your journey as an independent English-language songwriter in India, including the challenges you’ve faced?

Regardless of the language, one of the biggest hurdles is breaking through the clutter, especially for newcomers. Industry wisdom says stay active, release music and hit the stage. Me? I did the opposite. The duration of my debut album scared the listeners away and stage fright keeps me off the scene.

What does success mean to you? Do you believe a singer-songwriter can find success solely as a recording artiste without performing live?

It means to create a ripple that touches lives and creates a positive echo in the cosmos. I don't know about success, but in today’s world, it’s almost impossible to achieve substantial recognition or build a substantial following, without performing live.

Are there any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

I’m currently in the midst of recording another album, but I have no idea when I’m going to finish it. Before that, I’ll try to drop another single later this year.

Last updated on 21.04.24, 11:36 AM
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