'Music is my therapy'

'Music is my therapy'

Tipriti ‘Tips’ Kharbangar, the vocalist of Shillong-based blues band ‘Soulmate’, was recently in town to perform at Octoberfest. Metrolife caught up with her to find out about her music, her personal style and plans for the future.

Being one of the pioneer bands to come out of the North-East, one has seen a lot of new music emerge from there.

“North-Eastern bands are definitely picking up. But the fact is that North-Eastern people are very shy. They have the talent but they don’t show it. I think we’ve proven that wrong and encouraged them to come out,” says Tipriti.

She shares that the band is presently working on their third album, though it’s
not sure when it will come out.

“All the material for the album is ready. We just have to give time to record it. We keep saying ‘soon’ but with gigs and the music season going on right now, it’s hard to get down to doing it,” she explains.

When it comes to writing the blues, she believes that the essence with which she started her musical journey has slowly started fading away.

“The blues is about the real deal; it’s what everybody has. Personally, most of
my songs have got so much to do with what I went through. When I wrote them, I always had tears rolling down my face. Now, that doesn’t happen and I don’t know why!” says the baffled musician.

Reasoning this out, she adds, “Of late, life’s been quite easy for me and we’ve not been working as hard as we used to before. We have a manager to deal with people and we just have to concentrate on the music. I keep wondering – Damn! Where’s that blues?”
She observes that the band’s music has become happy blues. “You’re happy, you sing happy blues; you’re sad, you sing sad blues. I’m the sad blues woman. I went through a lot in life at a very young age. But music has made me stronger and has made me into who I am today. Music is my therapy. If I don’t sing, I feel it’s pointless,” she says with a smile.

One can always see her experimenting with her look on stage. She says, “For me, style is based on being comfortable. I don’t like to wear something that I have to think about on stage. I like tribal patterns, be it Mizo, Khasi, Manipuri or South American. For me, fashion is about finding something and creating your own style.”

Another thing that stands out about her is that she is almost always barefoot on stage.
But that’s a painful choice, since she’s been electrocuted a lot of times playing the guitar and singing.

“I hope I get electrocuted and die on stage rather than suffer from some weird disease,” reveals Tipriti.

In fact, when her mother asks her if she plans to be a rock star till her hair turns grey, she has joked and replied, “Mom, I’m probably going to die on stage!”

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