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Sounds that heal

Trisha Bhattacharya, Oct 5, 2014, DHNS 22:02 IST
Serena Kern, a charming, London-based singer with a melodious voice, also happens to be a law associate at a firm there. Her mother being a Tamilian and her father, Swiss, she grew up in Coonoor and went to school in Ooty.

Speaking about her childhood, the artiste says, “My best memories are those from my childhood. Coonoor is a wonderful place to grow up in and I remember playing for hours in our garden as a little girl. The music video for Lullaby incorporates some of the footage of my fond childhood memories.”

Serena moved to London six years ago to study law at the London School of Economics. It was here that she started writing and recording her own music.

She says, “The reaction I got from my friends encouraged me to continue and market my music widely. My first album was released early last year. I called the album Sui Generis, which is a legal term meaning ‘one of a kind’. The album was well-received and I have since performed some of the songs on BBC Radio. I have also been featured on other radio stations and magazines in the UK, which has all been exciting, encouraging me to create more music.”

She also told us about her collection of music releases, “I have since released two EPs (which are shorter collections of songs). The latest EP is called I Lied and takes its name from the title track. The EP includes two songs ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Better to Have Loved’, which have strong Indian musical flavours and the audience reaction to these has been great. ‘Lullaby’ is a song that is close to my heart as it is inspired by a Tamil lullaby my mother would sing to me.

It also features some beautiful Indian instruments and Spanish guitar. ‘Better to Have Loved’ is one of my favourite pieces. It features renowned tabla player Fazal Qureshi and flutist Rison M. It is a song about love and loss and weaves together Western pop sounds with Indian classical sounds. I find that my music is often a great outlet to a busy day at work. Rarely a day goes by without me working on my music.”

Elaborating on the inspirations for her music, she says, “All my music is inspired by events in my life; it is a means by which I record and communicate the story of my life. I grew up listening to artistes like Celine Dion, Faith Hill and Shania Twain. They each have such rich and distinctive voices, and I still like listening to their songs, many of which, I think, are timeless. I also grew up listening to Tamil and Hindi film songs. Some of my favourites are ‘Chinna China Asai’ from the movie Roja and ‘Chikubukuraile’.”

On her latest release, I Lied, she says, “The EP is a mix of songs that are dear to me. ‘I Lied’ is a love song inspired by the experiences I have had of being separated from my loved ones. I have tried to capture through the music and lyrics, all the feelings that a simple phone call can conjure — the joy of hearing the other person’s voice and the pain when the call finally ends.” Serena speaks a little Hindi and should the opportunity arise, she would love to sing a song in Hindi. She is currently working on a new set of fusion songs.

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