In a world bursting with musical prodigies and overnight sensations, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and self-proclaimed artist BABA shines with a certain authenticity in his pursuit of a world of music that’s much deeper, where each note comes alive like the beat of his heart.
From his fingers dancing across the piano at age 8 to his mastery and love for a plethora of instruments, BABA has evolved into a full-blown and versatile artist influenced by icons like The Beatles and Coldplay.
Resonating with a deep passion BABA paints a vivid tapestry of what it means to find oneself amidst melodies, chords, and lyrics.
In conversation with Earmilk, BABA draws us into his transcendental sonic world, delving into his latest release “Without You,” and how it feels to touch hearts of music lovers from the USA to Japan with his universal musical appeal, among much more.
How did you first get into music, and what inspired you to become a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter?
At age 8, my mother suggested that I pick up an instrument, and I choose to play the piano. After a couple of months of learning, I performed in a small school event, and this was the first time I felt a true sense of identity. At that point, I didn’t fully understand what was this feeling but I surely wanted more so I decided to put more time in music. It soon started becoming a medium of expression and a voice which made me want to learn more tools of this art form resulting in me picking up more instruments as years went by. In search of expanding my voice and expression and discovering my naked identity, the next step felt like song writing and that’s when I started to sing and write and it was a complete paradigm shift. All the years I spent learning came full circle as now I could convert it to a consumable art form for the ma`
I was in 10th grade when I started the project. I used to come back from school and start writing and recording in my bedroom. It was also a pretty big collaboration project as each song had a different vocalist, and the drums for 5 songs out of the 10 were played by another drummer. The process must’ve taken around 6 months to complete. Overall, working with so many people and creating a full-length album taught me a lot of things creatively and commercially. I made a lot of mistakes too which has helped me in my future releases.
What was the response to your Flying Cupid album, and how did that influence your current projects?
Flying Cupid secured great press coverage and reviews from the biggest metal media outlets and the success on the album led to Flying Cupid playing festivals and as well as a India Tour. Playing big venues and getting better at promoting the music is the biggest takeaway from flying cupid. Sonically BABA and Flying Cupid are very different and that was the whole point of having different artist names, each artist represents a different part of my identity.
How do you manage your time and creativity across your three projects – Baba, Baba & Co., and Flying Cupid?
The goal is to be always at work, constantly writing ideas, thinking visuals and promotion management. I also consume a lot of art at every chance I get which keeps me inspired a lot. In terms of writing, I like to always be a year ahead. So I have already finished making music for all three projects a year prior to its release. That gets me sufficient time to plan everything around it.
How does your music resonate with audiences worldwide, from the USA to Japan?
I think a big part of it is that my primary value system of Peace and Love is a very universal concept and it goes beyond location or language and even though I experiment with different things for BABA, I like to stray away from dissonant production decisions and focus on harmonically rich soundscapes.
Can you share more about the process of writing and recording "Without You"?
Everything was done in my studio, I was noodling around my guitar and came up with the intro of the song. That became the main building block and in a couple of hours, the basic instrumental and vocal melodies were done. The next session was layering the song to make it sound grand for which I added a lot of synth pads, crafting each tone to fill the sonic spectrum. I also wrote a string section for the chorus which acted as a counter melody for the vocal melody to add some movement. Once the instrumental was done, I then recorded the final vocals for the song the following week with my co-producer Addy Paul who then added more layers to the stems (particularly for the drums), sang some background vocals and mixed it.
What message do you hope listeners take away from "Without You"?
This feeling of gratitude for your loved ones is what I was feeling when I wrote this song and I want to transfer that to my audience.
Can you share more about your future projects and what fans can expect next?
I am planning an India tour which should happen around the end of this year. Fans can also expect a new single next January.
How has your music evolved over time, and how does "Without You" represent your current musical style?
I started my journey with a lot of metal and post rock as it came very naturally to me but my time in Berklee is when I started experimenting with other genres and wrote hundreds of demos and ideas. Once I was back to India during Covid, I really started taking those demos and crafting them into intricate and complete pieces of songs by using all the knowledge and tools I acquired in the past 12 years. My current style is just a mix of everything that I have done so far as you can see in “Without You,” where the main arrangement is done by using the rock rhythm section which is a mellower version of what I do in arranging flying cupid. But the song also has a large string section as well as electronic parts which are directly influenced by my time writing music back in college.
How has your Indian heritage influenced your music, if at all?
Not for BABA but for sure for my side project, ‘Baba & Co’. I wanted to create a project where I could take my experimenting to the next level and hence Baba & Co was born. This project has a lot of Indian influences fused with different cultures from around the world. The goal is to create intricate arrangements with complex harmonies and unconventional arrangements and push the framework of art.
What challenges have you faced in your musical journey, and how have you overcome them?
Even though I have been doing music for quite some time but I feel like my journey has just begun and the challenges are about to come. Whatever lies ahead, I am excited for it and will give my best in facing them.
How do you stay inspired and motivated to create music?
I try to live life at its fullest and stay positive. I had my vision and goal set way before I took out my first single and I try to not get my mind clouded. Meditation helps a lot to stay focus and having a good balance between family and work also keeps me motivated. As I mentioned I try to consume as much art as possible which keeps me inspired.
Can you share more about your musical influences and favorite artists?
Some of my favorite artists are Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Muse and Adele to name a few. I have a playlist on my Spotify page featuring some of my all-time favorites that people can check out.
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians and artists?
My advice would be to stick by your vision whilst thinking about your brand as a business. Having a good balance between the both will keep one satisfied both mentally and financially.