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Inga’s Melodic Mantra: Celebrating Self-Love through Song

Rising independent musician Inga, also known as Aishwarya Sridharan, is fast becoming synonymous with the free-spirited ethos of folk-pop music. Her new track ‘Oooh Lady!’, along with her earlier works ‘Days Go By’ and ‘Blown My Cover’, channels the essence of the 1960s psychedelic movement, characterized by soul-stirring vocals and entrancing rhythms. These songs, crafted around 2017, were originally part of a planned EP titled You Are Here. The title pays homage to Inga’s stage name which, in Tamil, signifies ‘presence’.

Speaking from Mumbai during a phone interview, Inga recounts the conceptual underpinning of her music, stating, “It is sort of a hat tip to being aware in the moment. But also, I have always written to encapsulate a certain emotional state.” For ‘Oooh Lady!’, that emotion is self-love, a theme that resonates robustly throughout the song, evidencing Inga’s profound personal journey.

As she shuttles between Bengaluru and Mumbai, Inga reveals the cathartic nature of the song, confessing, “It was written as a love song to myself. I used to loathe myself so much that this song was a revelation. It’s a realization that I do, in fact, care deeply about myself.” This self-affection has been a key ingredient in her artistic evolution.

Her collaboration with musicians Rohit Chacko (keys and arrangement), Arnav Lou Fernandes (bass), and Shahrukh Sherief Padiyath (percussion) has fueled this progress, creating a palpable energy in her current collection of released songs. “I would compose on this broken ukulele I had, which I hadn’t used at all,” reminisces Inga on her creative process with these artists.

Meanwhile, Inga’s talents have been recognized beyond these solo endeavors, showcased by her victory at the Nexa Music talent exhibition, where she met and impressed music legend AR Rahman. This exposure led to the release of tracks such as ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Bad Intentions.’

The recent release of ‘Oooh Lady!’ has brought a feeling of fruition for Inga, who likens the long process to gestation, humorously commenting, “You’re pregnant for so long and then you give birth. I’m wondering, ‘When will the next creative offspring come?’” However, the prospect of outshining her previous work doesn’t intimidate her; she remains resolute that her future projects will stand on their own merits without comparison.

In fact, Inga is already deep into her next endeavor, a six or seven-track collection named Intimates, prefacing a shift towards more electronic soundscapes, a departure from the analogue roots of her prior works. Created predominantly on Logic, a digital audio workstation, this new phase reflects a contemporary creative direction.

Transitioning to her live performances, Inga has graced stages across India, including her hometown of New Delhi and the vibrant landscapes of Goa. The dynamics of each performance are refreshed by the changing ensemble of musicians in every city. However, it is with her Bangalore band—keyboardist Lionel Jude, drummer Rohit PS, bassist Vishal Varier, guitarist Shashank Kandachar and the Barna brothers Jonathan, Joshua, and Nathanael—that she finds the most synergy.

Selecting the right musical compatriots is an essential part of Inga’s approach, with an insistence on aligning with kindred spirits. Her music, both recorded and live, is an exposition of raw, kinetic power and polished craft, emanating from her need for vigorous expression. “The rawness comes from my need for things to be larger than life when on stage,” Inga elaborates. “In my everyday existence, I feel confined, and the stage is where I unleash my full self.”

In an era seeking genuine artistic expression, Inga is a beacon for those yearning to connect with music that’s both primal and elegant, inviting listeners into her world—a place where self-love and musical liberation intersect in perfect harmony.