[Interview] Rahul Advani: Taking the stage at Esplanade

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Researcher by day, musician by night – that’s the life of Rahul Advani, who juggles his job at the Institute for South Asian Studies at NUS and his newfound passion for song writing. Having performed at numerous events, Rahul will be taking the stage at the Esplanade this November with a repertoire of original songs, performed in distinct musical styles. Here, THE RIDGE caught up with Rahul to find out more about his music.

Hi Rahul! What have you been up to?

Rahul Advani: Apart from the performance preparations, work is really all that I’ve been able to do! It’s a struggle trying to juggle work in the daytime and music in the night, but I’m enjoying it. Also, I’ve just returned from Bihar, India, where I was doing fieldwork for a project on the social and political aspirations of young people in India. This involved interviewing young people about their views on political institutions, political parties, social issues, their level of political engagement, their use of social media, etc. It was the first time I’ve ever done fieldwork as well as the first time visiting Bihar! It was a pretty incredible experience and I met some amazing people during my time there.

Sounds like an awesome experience! Tell us more about your music.

Rahul: I’ve recently started writing my own songs and the whole process was rather unplanned! It was only when I received an email a couple of months ago asking about whether I had any original material that I realised I didn’t have any songs of my own I could perform. It was at that moment that I took the plunge to give song-writing a go. It has been an incredibly therapeutic process, and so whenever I’m feeling stressed, the first thing I do is mess around on the piano (which has led to quite a few songs being written!).

Who are your musical influences?

Rahul: My musical tastes are fairly diverse – I love anything that has a great melody. There’s definitely a strong influence from singer-songwriters like Michelle Branch, Katharine McPhee and Sara Bareilles in my music. The way I sing, I think, is shaped by the two singers I listen to almost every day – Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. There are some amazing local bands such as Seyra, Arajua, Gentle Bones, The Sam Willows and NUS’ very own Take Two who I always try to catch live whenever I can.

What can we expect at your performance at the Esplanade?

Rahul: I’ll be performing my original songs at the Esplanade Concourse over 5 days and on some days I’ll be performing my songs in a Western acoustic setup while on other days, I’ll be performing with Vinod on the ghatam and Lakshminarasimhan on the violin, both of whom are from the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble. I’ve never performed with classical Indian musicians before but these guys are amazing musicians and my songs sound far better than I had envisioned them to be!

What’s up next for your music plans?

Rahul: Now that I’ve started writing my own music, I really don’t know where my music will take me! It’s exciting though. I definitely will continue to write music and hopefully get the chance to record it on an EP perhaps. We’ll see how it goes. After these Esplanade shows though, I’m going to take a well-deserved break!

Catch Rahul Advani’s performance (for free!) on the following dates:

Event: In The Spotlight.. Rahul Advani

Venue: Esplanade Concourse

Dates: 3th November 5.15-7.45pm,

4th, 13th, 14th, 29th November 7.15- 8.45pm

Nearest MRT Stations: Esplanade MRT Station, City Hall MRT Station

To hear more of Rahul Avandi’s music, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/rahuladvani08.

Image Credit: Rahul Advani