5 Reasons Why Sid Sriram’s Album Is a Contemporary Classical Masterpiece
Sholeen Damarwala · February 06, 2019 · 4 Minute Read
Twenty-eight-year old singer/songwriter Sid Sriram ended 2018 with a bang. His two major song releases, “It Isn’t True” and “6 Weeks”, have been extremely well received and the singer also unleashed an array of (almost sold out) tour dates in most major North American cities. And we haven’t even discussed his roster of hits for Tamil and Telugu cinema yet!
But the most exciting thing he has lined up for 2019? The official release of his first 12-track solo album, Entropy. While two of his tracks are already garnering rave reviews, fans have been eagerly awaiting the full album drop, which is expected in February 2019. In the words of the artist himself, Sriram has described his first solo effort “as a coming-of-age moment that marks the union of my personal and musical journey.” Blending his years of training in Carnatic music with his varied musical influences, Sriram’s album is a unique and brave marriage of contemporary and classical sounds. Call it experimental or a masterpiece – either way, Sriram’s Entropy promises to be path-breaking and provoking.
Still on the fence about the musical talents of Sid Sriram as a solo artist? Here are five reasons why we believe his album is worth the hype!
A Solo Masterpiece
Famous for his collaborations with stalwart musicians such as A. R Rahman, Leon James, Anirudh Ravichander, and the ultimate in cinematic magic, Rajnikanth (he sang a verse in the mega superstar’s latest blockbuster film), Sriram has had the opportunity to train and tune his instruments from the finest. But his very first album marks his journey as a solo musician. Save for soothing strings played by his longtime friend and collaborator, Sean Tracey in “It Isn’t True”, the album is “…Sid Sriram, 100 percent.” Completely written, composed, and produced by him, Entropy marks Sriram’s musical evolution from a young, naive 20-something trying to find his own sound to a 28-year-old successful musician who knows and understands the power of his voice and music.
The Modern Diaspora Story
A narrative that runs strong in most first- and second-generation children who grow up in South Asian diaspora communities around the world, is an urgent need to make sense of their two disparaging identities. Their South Asian cultural roots and their strong identities shaped by the country they call home. Growing up in Freemont, California, Sriram was strongly connected to his Tamilian roots through Carnatic music, while his surroundings gave him an introduction to new-age sounds like jazz, hip-hop, and R&B elements. The end result? A beautiful, unique new sound that echoes his background, both personally and musically. Besides a few snippets sung in Tamil, the majority of Entropy is recorded in English, with Carnatic music forming the foundation head as the defining sound. How’s that for classical contemporary?
It’s Deeply Personal
It’s a well-known fact that Sriram is a thoughtful musician who pours a little bit of himself into everything he creates. So why would it be any different for his first solo venture? If anything at all, it’s going to be a lot more personal, poignant, and reflective. Case in point: the story behind two of his first releases, “It Isn’t True” and “6 Weeks.” From making sense of a crumbling relationship to putting into context his own space in this vast universe, Sriram’s lyrics delve deep, allowing fans to step into his world and mind.
Haven’t watched Sriram break down the lyrics of“It Isn’t True” and “6 Weeks” yet? Fret not, we got you covered.
Musical influences aside, Sriram confessed that his free-flowing style of writing was a result of doodling and reading books by Haruki Murakami.
On doodling: “I hit major writer’s block in 2014, so I began doing sketches in my lyrics sheet. I don’t want this to be a museum piece…nah, it’s just for me. Before I used to use regular ballpoints and pencils, but now I can get more intricate with it. It’s almost like meditation and it’s opened up a whole bunch of portals in my head about how I want to approach music or how I want to approach improvising when I am at a Carnatic concert.”
On Murakami: “My girlfriend put me onto Haruki Murakami over a year ago, and that really switched up the way I write. The way Murakami uses words to describe, it’s not in your face, it’s not tedious, and yet, there’s a lot of information at the same time. That uncanny ability to be descriptive without being taxing to your reader, I think that was huge for me. And that’s what I wanted to achieve with my songwriting, and I wanted to describe experiences and people, and do it in such a way that it just flows. Because the music flows for sure, and I wanted the lyrics to move in the same way.”
It’s Only the Beginning
The thing about Sriram, though, is he isn’t a sum total of his current successes; rather, he’s an evolution constantly in progress. Sharpening his skills, strengthening his instrument, and digging in deeper to share parts of his intimate self with his fans. While his first solo album is a fine example of how far Sriram has come in his musical journey, it just marks the beginning of how much more he has to offer. “Every day I wake up and I’m living a dream for sure, but in terms of broader goals, I am not even close to what I want to achieve,” he confessed during an earlier interview with On Record. “And the long-term goal isn’t earning accolades or record deals, but it is to change the world and I mean that in earnest. The ability to shape how people think in a positive way through music and the power of the internet,” he added. “It’s a long way to go, but I am here for that.”