Radha Thomas’ album inspired by Bengaluru

Radha Thomas’ album inspired by Bengaluru

‘Bangalore Blues’ has seven songs made in collaboration with pianist Aman Mahajan

Radha Thomas

Radha Thomas is a composer and vocalist. She started off her musical career as a teenager, when she began headlining with the rock and roll band ‘Human Bondage’. Soon enough, she began combining her love for jazz and Indian classical music to create something new. 

Over the years she has performed at many jazz festivals around the world including the EuropaFest in Romania, the South Asia Performing Arts Festival in New York, Jazz Yatra, Bengaluru Habba and Indigo Fest. She is the leader of UNK: the Radha Thomas Ensemble, which has been appointed by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations as the Indian government’s world-wide ambassador of jazz. 

For her upcoming album ‘Bangalore Blues’ she collaborated with Aman Mahajan. Metrolife caught up with the singer to find out more about her journey, love for jazz and her upcoming album:

When did you find your love for jazz?

I think it came from my mom. She loved jazz and played old vinyls all the time. She used sing Peggy Lee and Doris Day songs when she was carrying me. I guess that’s why I love it.

Who has been a major influence in your musical journey?

Music, at least in my opinion, is the kind of thing that seeps through your soul. It’s not one thing or person or moment that influenced me. It has been the many musicians I met and the many albums I listened to. My ‘favourite’ singers keep changing with every decade. These days, since I’m trying to create original music, I try not to let outside influences interfere too much.

Who is your favourite jazz musician right now?

Aman Mahajan and Chet Baker. 

What is like creating music as a duo?

It has got to be one of the most gratifying and easy ways to create music. There are just two people. We don’t need words (I’m not counting lyrics here) just notes. And since Aman and I have been working on jazz, original music, the blues and so much more for about ten years now, it’s an absolute pleasure. It brings almost as much happiness as actually performing in front of a live audience.

Tell us more about your upcoming album.

‘Bangalore Blues’ is the culmination of something that started a very long time ago for, both, Aman and me. We have been carrying this music with us and have performed it live many times as well. There are seven songs in it and each tells a different story.

Why the name ‘Bangalore Blues’?

It all just came together, really. I had a song by that name, but then I didn’t think of naming the album so. When we started making the video along with Sharath U Holla, we thought of shooting it at Paul Fernandes’ studio. And then, there is the song ‘Load Shedding’, which is an ode to our city’s power cuts. Who knows, maybe our government will make it our city’s anthem (laughs). 

Which is your favourite song from the album?

Funnily, just this morning I was listening to the whole album without stopping and I remembered that I began writing ‘Would I Lie For You’ in 1975; starting and stopping for so many years. Then finally I met Aman and everything fell into place. It’s my favourite song from the album.