Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A not so brief introduction -- Part 1

I’ve been writing songs for over 35 years and have over a hundred finished songs. I also have hundreds of snippets of songs, lyrics, song titles, and hooks on napkins, books, recorded on my phone, or rattling around in my head somewhere. I enjoy a career in marketing which pays my mortgage, but songwriting is what I enjoy doing the most. It is also what I believe I was born to do and a true reflection of who I am as a person.

I am not famous as a musician or songwriter. But in the small music circle I hang out in, I am respected as a prolific songwriter. I perform at a few open mics and small venues in the New York Hudson Valley region – mainly to road test my songs. I have released a couple of CDs of my music which are available in all the digital music stores worldwide.

I was about 17-years-old when I wrote my first song, “Distant Thunder.” I made a demo recording of it last year which you can listen to on my website. I grew up in Bangalore, India which is now considered the IT capital of the world. In those days, it was known as the Pensioner’s Paradise for its salubrious conditions. It’s crowded and polluted now because of expansion gone amok. I wrote a song about it called “Bangalore."

I loved growing up in Bangalore. I went to Bishop Cotton Boys’ School which was modeled after a British public school. People are surprised by the fact that, until I graduated from high school, I only spoke English. India is a land of many languages and it was just easier for everyone to just use English all the time – at least in school. We only spoke English at home as well. Many of my friends spoke in their mother tongue at home. But when we were together, we only spoke in English. Kids who went to schools like Bishop Cotton also shared a common culture – which comprised of a mixture of British, American and Indian influences. We used American slang, aped British accents, watched only Western movies, read British and American fiction, wore imitation blue jeans, went to restaurants where they served steaks, chicken pot-pie, and spaghetti Bolognese, and listened to folk, country, blues, and rock music. We still enjoyed our Indian food, and for many of us that was the extent of our Indian-ness.

My musical influences from a young age tended to be singer/songwriters or bands who wrote their own music — Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, The Beatles, The Eagles, Dire Straits, Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, ELO, Jim Croche, JJ Cale, Gordon Lightfoot, The Grateful Dead… I was drawn to intelligent lyrics and good melodies. I got into Dylan only in my early twenties. He was a bit too rough musically for my ears before that. However, in the years since, he has become my biggest influence as a songwriter.

To be continued...

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