IN CONVERSATION WITH KARM SOLAH
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Today, The Vastavik talked with Karm Solah, who has been making and releasing music for 1 year now. We discuss his career so far as a small artist starting up in the tough world of the music industry, as well as talk about what the scene is like for small and rising artists.
“It is the poets, artists, and musicians that will carry us through the pandemic attacks into a new reality. They are the ones who tell us how to navigate, breathe, feel, think, enjoy, and fully live our lives.” ― Erik Pevernagie
Karm Solah has been releasing covers of popular songs for a few years now on his Instagram account, but he considers his real beginnings as an artist to be when he was asked to be part of an original collaborative song on Spotify in September of 2019.
Since then, Karm Solah has amassed 117 thousand streams on Spotify in 2020 with a slew of original music and collaborations with other artists. He takes his inspiration for music not only from within but from the people and places around him.
What was your inspiration to start making music?
“I used to cover popular Bollywood songs on Instagram, and I was approached to make Tu Hai Kaun, which I worked on with G16 and Boyblanck. Before that, I never even thought I had the capabilities to make original music. I never expected to be making my own songs, but after the first song, I slowly started working on my skills and now I’ve reached where I am today.”
What is it like being a small artist in India?
“It’s unreal to even be considered an artist because I know a lot of people trying to get out there and make their own music. There's obviously a level where people know you’re making songs and it doesn't really matter much but, there are some people out who really care about my music and I feel grateful to be someone whose music is considered to be at a certain level. I hope to grow as an artist in India but it's difficult with the current condition of the indie music scene in India, but it is growing and being paid more attention and I'm excited for that.”
What are the best and worst parts of being an artist?
“You get a lot of attention and some people like that and some don’t. It happens with any kind of fame. I'm not saying I'm famous though. I obviously want people to pay attention to my music but I don't like people paying attention to my personal life and talking about that. When you become an artist, you evolve a lot as a person, which I have done and I don't like when I'm judged on who I was previously. I think people should be more accepting of the fact that people can change.”
What role do you believe artists have in society?
“Art is something that everyone does. Writing, singing, anything can be considered unique, because everyone does it their own way. Art plays a very important role because it provides insight into things. Without it, there wouldn't be entertainment, and without enjoying something, you can't really understand the meaning of anything. Without art, society would never have evolved so much and people wouldn't think and reflect as much as they should. Maybe society wouldn't even be here without art.”
What does music mean for you?
“Music is very important to me now. Before Tu Hai Kaun, I didn't really care about music a lot, I would say. I just sang for other people’s entertainment and to be noticed. But I've evolved since then because I’ve seen how music can change and affect people. I’ve received messages from people about how my music has helped them and I’m really glad to be one of those artists that has a good effect on my listeners.”
What is one thing you dislike about the music industry in India, and in general?
“There are a lot of things I don’t like but the foremost is the akin partiality to Bollywood. For many years now, Bollywood always has the attention of the country. It’s obviously changing now for indie artists. For example, Prateek Kuhad is a big name now, but even he had some big Bollywood songs. I think people need to pay more attention to indie artists and look beyond the Bollywood spotlight at the current music scene in India.”
“For a long time, songs were made specifically for movies and not because artists wanted to express themselves. And these movies also generally revolved around love and romanticism, which wasn’t ideal for our generation growing up. These songs had an important part in teaching our generation about how love is supposed to be and set an unrealistic standard for relationships. Outside, artists have merch and other things and they are supported by everyone, which needs to happen more in India.”
What do you think about the impact of the Internet on music?
“100% positive role. Digitalization has helped music has reached online platforms. I understand the appeal of CDs but the internet has helped artists expand their reach to a worldwide audience as well as monetize their content. It’s obviously not about the money but when your music creates some income, it’s much easier to continue making songs and support yourself. Besides that, it has become much easier for people to listen to music, which also helps us as artists. This kind of reach and financial support would not have been possible 50 years ago.”
“Before the internet, record label companies like T-Series and others would always be unfair to smaller artists because these artists didn’t have the capability to distribute music, so the internet has really helped small artists with that.”
Tell us about your latest releases.
“I just released a song on 30 October called Shaam, with a DJ from Nagpur, Greff. He’s played in many Sunburn Festivals including Goa, which is like a huge deal. So we connected in February and he sent me a beat which I added lyrics to in like an hour. We sat on it for like 6 months and finally released it on 30 October. It’s a very lo-fi type song with an amazing drop. Before that on 8th September, i surprised my best friend Mishka with a song on her birthday called For You.”
So it’s fair to say that you have a personal connection to the music you make?
Do you have a process while creating music?
“I usually get beats from Youtube, and i have a few tunes whIch I made myself on the guitar. I hum along to the tunes and try to make some catchy melodies. I make about 10-15 melodies and then choose my favourite. Then i write some lyrics in a diary I have, and record one half of the song in one go and then finish the lyrics and recording later when I know I’m releasing this one. I only write the second half under pressure.”
What are your plans for the future, as far as music goes?
“I really don’t know right now. I’m in 12th right now and im applying for colleges this month. I’m not applying to any music schools because I don’t know yet if my music career right now is going to continue or even survive. I just hope more people start listening because I really need that financial support if I want to continue.”
But given the opportunity, would you make music a full-time career?
“For sure, I would definitely drop everything and go full time. I really enjoy it personally and people relate to my music too, so its great.”
When can we expect a new song from you?
“I just posted a short preview of a remix I made back in March-April, but that’s not an original or anything special. But I do have an original coming out in January in collaboration with a rapper in Mumbai called Yash Raj. Its a beautiful blend of Pop and Rap and i’m very excited since it's one of the biggest projects i've done.“