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How Singer-Songwriter Kanika Patawari Resorts To Music For Safe Space

todayNovember 25, 2023 3

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Belgian-Indian singer, Kanika Patawari does not shy away from being vulnerable about her self-discovery journey. In fact, in an interview with SheThePeople, the 29-year-old confessed, “I think I’m in that stage of my life where I’m defining what it means to ‘make it’. And I don’t have the answer to that yet.” This true-to-self, uninhibited nature is also reflected in her latest release, Aise Kaise, which she hopes is a safe space for her listeners.

Patawari shared that the song came from a personal space of experiencing a low period in life. “I think it’s a very personal song… I realised that I was going through something and thought ‘How do I write that into a song’. It just kind of came naturally, and that’s why… I didn’t really use any fancy, poetic language, where it goes into some metaphors, because it’s exactly how I was feeling,” she said.

Dealing With Moments of Self Doubt

Kanika Patawari expressed that when things around her are not going right, she starts questioning or blaming herself. Further elucidating this, she said, “I wanted to write a song that asks ‘why do we do this’? Why are we always putting ourselves as the problem creator, so I made the song and released it so that more people can hopefully feel like they’re not alone.”

Moments of self-doubt can be the biggest foe of any artist. Patawari shared that the best way she deals with this is by mingling with her support system-– her friends and family– that backs her up whenever needed. Moreover, she added that watching motivational videos on YouTube helps her recentre her thoughts and lift up her spirits.

“My father put me onto this habit that every morning while you’re getting ready, or just brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, just play one of those videos… there have been moments where I’ve just really been having a challenging day, and I hear one line from someone and it just changed my changes my entire perspective of how I see the world, or how my day is going,” she said.

Patawari admitted that she often deals with imposter syndrome, especially because of comparison and competition. 

“I think, especially as an artist, it’s so easy to compare…. I went to music school, to Berklee College of Music, and I was surrounded by the best talent from all across the world… But you have to realise that what you do, nobody else can do… And if you just make your competition with yourself, then the outside chatter doesn’t matter so much anymore,” Patawari reminded.

Why Hindi & Marwari Music?

Despite being born and raised in Belgium, Kanika Patawari says she shares a personal connection with Hindi and Marwari. She was encouraged by her Rajasthani family to learn how to speak, read, and write in Hindi and Marwari since childhood. Not only did Patawari learn, but she also explored music writing in these languages.

“It’s a challenge because bolna ek baat hai (speaking is a different thing) but then writing in a language is a completely different thing. So I’m not shy to admit that it is was a challenge and it still is, but it’s something you just keep working on, and I cross check lyrics with my family members and my friends. I also work with Indian writers, and they helped me elevate my writing and, and put into words what I really wanted to say but I can’t find the words to say,” she said.

Patawari shared that her favourite project to work on was her first Hindi song, Saari Raat which was released four years ago. One of her most renowned songs is Runak Jhunak, which is a Rajasthani folk-fusion number. 

Patawari also said that she is no stranger to Indian culture, as she not only visited India often, but also grew up largely surrounded by the South Asian community in Belgium.

So growing up in Belgium, we have a very big Indian community over there. I think I grew up in sort of a bubble… It’s just a way of your parents trying to protect you within what they can control so nothing bad happens to their kids. So we were very encouraged to be around fellow Indians, and so that’s why I think I am very Indian. And I feel think Belgium was a very welcoming country so I never felt that I’m an outsider,” Patawari expressed.

Experience With Indian Music Industry

Coming from Belgium and the US made Patawari’s career path in the Indian music industry different than usual, but she says she has no complaints. 

“I think I was very welcomed, because I’ve come across people who are in it for the good reasons. They’re in it for the art, they’re in it for the music. And those are the people I always try to surround myself with.”

Patawari credits this to an AR Rahman concert at Berklee, where performed as a vocalist. 

“I think my beginning in the industry here happened because I did a show in Berklee, where we performed with AR Rahman, and those videos have really circulated a lot. A lot of people recognise me from those videos as well… So I think that was my entryway into conversations with the Indian industry,” she said.

Vision For Her Music

Apart from her mesmerising voice, Kanika Patawari is also known for her entrepreneurial endeavours. Patawari is the founder of MusicRecycle, an organisation aimed at using music for environmental change. Speaking about this business, Patawari said, “My family has been in the recycling industry for over three decades, so it’s a very core part of our life… And I found myself in a position where I have access to this amazing network that my family has built over the years, and I’m an individual that works in the music industry. I felt like I’m in this unique position where I can find a way to bring them together.”

Patawari said that she collaborates with fellow musicians and works with music festivals around the world to them more environmentally focused. Patawari is also the founder of Pali House Studios, which is set to launch next year. Her vision with the studio is to create a community space for musicians and by musicians, she said.

Kanika Patawari is keen on making a difference with her musical talents. She believes that she can use music to create a remarkable impact in people’s personal lives, as well as the environment around them. While putting on a strong demeanour is highly expected in society, Patawari hopes to use her music to help people let loose and resonate with freedom in vulnerability.


Suggested Reading: Gaze Towards Women Creators Is Complex: Anisha Dixit Aka Rickshawali





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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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