Janaki Easwar releases new single & takes the stage again

By Indira Laisram
Janaki Easwar. Pic supplied

After appearing on Australian singing competition television series—The Voice—last year as the youngest ever competitor, Janaki Easwar has made rapid progress in her musical journey. She has produced her singles and recently returned from India where she appeared in a number of shows in Kerala such as Top Singer on Flowers TV, Club FM, a Malayalam FM channel, 24 NEwS, to name a few. What’s more, she also going to sing in a Malayalam movie. Percussionist Varun Sunil, founder of Masala Coffee, has announced on his social media that Easwar will be recording one of his upcoming songs.

For someone as young her (Easwar just turned 13), it takes a lot of confidence to pull off what she displays—style, emotion, range, and a kind of cutesy character—fitting in the context of the rise of this new crop of young internet-savvy talents.

Based in Melbourne, Easwar was introduced to various musical instruments and classical music at the age of five by her parents Anoop Divakaran and Divya Ravindran. She grew up listening to different genres of music and picked up her nylon stringed classical guitar in 2019 under the tutelage of Matt Creedon. Now she is training under Santosh Chandran, a classical guitarist in India. During the 2020 lockdown, Easwar started writing songs. In conversation with Janaki Easwar.

Tell us about your new releases. Who are your music collaborators and producers?

I released my first single Clown just before The Voice. It is a song that I wrote and composed during the 2020 lockdown. I had written and composed a few more songs and was looking for the right producer to produce the track. That’s when Rich Fayden reached out to us through Instagram. He has been in the music industry for more than 20 years, so we decided to go ahead with the track. I sent him a few demos and he picked ‘I’ve been waiting’ as the hero single (which I Initially named ‘Stay“). I’ve been waiting’ was released on January 7 on all platforms.

Janaki Easwar. Pic supplied

We worked remotely and within two weeks I had the master in my hand. My next single is also ready to be released, produced by SB90, a very talented young music producer from Melbourne. I will hold the release for a bit, as there are a couple of releases lined up before that which includes a Tamil original and a Carnatic fusion track that I did while I was on holiday in India.

I have also been approached to sing an English song for a Malayalam movie.

What has been the production processes and experiences like?

I’m still getting to know how all this works—experimenting with, working with different people and trying different sounds. I did my first single Clown with The RedMoone. I had shared a snippet on Instagram and had mentioned I was looking for someone who can relate with the track, to produce it for me. Alan Joy (who goes by the name The RedMoone) reached out and we had several zoom sessions. I recorded vocals, added strings and a few layers of harmonies and sent him the track so he has a clear idea about the mood that I am looking for. He started adding layers to it and after a few revisions, we finally had the version that we released.

With Rich Fayden, it was different because he is someone who has been in the industry for a while. I sent him the demo with my guitar chords and a couple of songs as references. He then worked on the track and sent me the rough mix with minimal arrangement, giving prominence to the vocals, which we went ahead with without much changes.

Janaki Easwar. Pic supplied
You write and compose your own songs? What and who are your influences?

I write and compose my originals. I listen to a lot of genres and draw influence from all those artists. I have been learning Carnatic music since the age of six, so people say there is an influence of Carnatic music in my songs. These days I listen to a lot of Korean R&B and there are some really cool artists there.

There is a Japanese Indie band called Lamp that I love listening to. I also listen to Yebba, Tori Kelly and Billie Eilish. I used to perform a lot of Eva Cassidy songs and I have performed Ella Flitzgerald and Whitney houston songs too. I love AR Rahman and Amit Trivedi. Among young singers, I listen to Sid Sriram. I haven’t restricted my listening.  I also listen to all new and upcoming independent musicians.  There are many good singer-songwriters at Jaanz Singing School, where I go to. I learn and draw inspiration from all these people.

What’s your process for creating and writing songs?

I sit with my classical guitar and usually come up with a melody first, then write lyrics for that. Sometimes I scribble first and once I have a structure, I come up with a tune. I enjoy my writing process.

Janaki Easwar. Pic supplied
What was the first song you wrote that gave you the confidence to go further with your music?

I first started writing songs during our Jaanz camp, where there was a song writing session, where we had to come up with something of our own. I sat with two other friends and we came up with a cute little song. But I seriously started writing during the 2020 lockdown. When ‘Clown’ was released, a lot of people within the music Industry reached out through Instagram expressing their admiration towards the track. People said it is hard to believe that the deep and profound lyrics and delicate vocal harmonies came from a 12-year-old, which gave me a lot of confidence to write more and release originals.

Top 3 songs on your playlist now?

Hard to pick three. On my recent trip to India, I made a playlist on Spotify to listen to on my flight. The playlist has songs from my favourite Korean bands Stray kids, EXO, TXT, ENHYPEN, TWICE and so on.

■ Your message to your fans and readers of this magazine.

I started my journey pretty early and I am glad I did. I enjoy this journey that I have started, and there is a lot of music that I want to put out there.

I really want to blur the musical boundaries and transcend the genres. I want to make music that lasts longer than I do. Please be with me on this beautiful journey and keep supporting me.

Connect with Indira Laisram on Twitter

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