Tanmaya Bhatnagar’s melodious voice has once again captivated us, with the release of her debut EP ‘Wherever I Go, I’d Like To Be All I Need’. Her past releases such as ‘Kya Tum Naraaz Ho’ and ‘I Can’t Go Back To Sleep’ have impressed critics and audiences alike.
Tanmaya is a self-taught singer-songwriter based out of Delhi. Along with her musical stints, she also dabbles in modelling and graphic designing. Her music draws inspiration from artists such as Bon Iver, Elliot Smith, Lucy Rose, and she cites her mother as her main source of inspiration. She further adds, “The matters of the heart, strength in vulnerability, truth, pain, and most importantly, hope, inspire to do what I do. I’ve written these songs (of her debut EP) over the span of 3-4 years and they all fit together as an EP because they are from a particular time in my life. It almost feels like a mini storybook to me because all the songs are emotionally interrelated.” The production, mixing and mastering of her debut EP has been carried out by ‘Ghar Ka Studio’, a recording studio based in Delhi.
Tanmaya’s voice brings charm and poise, and is uniquely innocent in its own way. The EP is conceptualised around Tanmaya’s personal experiences, with life, love and vulnerability. Raw, heart-warming and fulfilling, the EP is a masterpiece of emotions. The instrumentation is subtle, with soft piano tunes, mellow guitar chords, spaced-out vocals, and the focal point being Tanmaya’s voice. The song order is carefully arranged to take the listener on an emotional journey. While listening to each of the tracks, I could resonate with the words and truly understand what it means to be in love, and at the same time be out of it too. Themes of self-love, heartbreak and loneliness are intertwined together, for a perfect listen with a cup of coffee or tea.
The first track titled ‘Quietly” is an introduction to Tanmaya’s EP. The track encapsulates the emotion of loneliness, which comes during periods of isolation. It is a dreamy blend of subtle piano arrangements, and the outro resembles a sweet lullaby.
The second track ‘Wherever I Go, I’d Like To Be All I Need’, describes a deep desire to feel whole, validated and happy with oneself. The artist recognizes that it can be difficult to be by oneself, yet is hopeful that the light will find her eventually. This track also conveys is that we can choose to be happy with ourselves, and we don’t have to depend on other people for our own happiness. As they say, happiness is found in the little things, not the big ones, like the smell of fresh flowers and morning dew.
‘Careful! It’s my heart’, is a song about giving your heart to someone, along with warning to not break it. We all know how much pain heartbreaks bring, and through this song, Tanmaya is requesting her significant other to be careful with her feelings. The track begins very slowly, and then, after a brief pause, surprisingly transitions into a rock track. Having experienced difficult experiences with people in her life in general, Tanmaya sings about her heart and hopes that it will be treated more gently by the people she loves.
The final track, ‘I Can’t Go Back To Sleep’, is a melancholic melody about her past love. The background story behind the track is intriguing. Three years ago, Tanmaya was woken up by a dream where she dreamt about the happy moments that were tainted by reality, memories she had with someone she loved and all the “could have been(s)”, whilst this recurring melody played in the background. Still hazy from her dream, she felt almost compelled to write about what she had just dreamt of and wrote this song. The gentle guitar strums on this track makes it even moodier.
When asked about the memorable incidents that influenced her EP, she says, “It’s funny how sometimes, a song can come to you in your dream, some come to you when you’re absolutely gutted and broken and some come to you when you’re happy. It’s all in the heart and I love that music has the ability to make these emotions into something tangible and that’s what I had hoped to do with this EP.”
Regarding female representation in the indie music industry, Tanmaya says, “I feel like there is definitely a lack of female representation in the industry and I miss having the presence of a female workforce in the studio, at a shoot, or at a gig venue. I hope for change, most importantly growth, and more representation in the indie music industry. I mean, how many times would you turn around and ask a male singer-songwriter the same question? Gender inequality exists and is a very real issue and I hope we all as a community can work towards diminishing categories and opportunities based on gender. An artist is an artist.” When asked about the memorable incidents that influenced her EP, she says, “It’s funny how sometimes, a song can come to you in your dream, some come to you when you’re absolutely gutted and broken and some come to you when you’re happy. It’s all in the heart and I love that music has the ability to make these emotions into something tangible and that’s what I had hoped to do with this EP.”
Tanmaya’s debut EP is truly an emotional roller coaster ride, evoking the good and not-so-good memories that we all have. I feel that through her music, Tanmaya is also asking her audience to acknowledge and accept their emotions, as they are. Recently, she has also released her heartfelt single, ‘Sapne’ which is a story of a resilient girl, wanting to fulfil her dreams and reach greater heights. Tanmaya also gives due credit to her team, Amar Pandey on bass and drums, Ritwik De on guitar and keys, Subu for backing vocals, and finally her manager Reuksh Alagh for their constant support and guidance. Tanmaya is hopeful for the future, and she aspires to collaborate with artists Billie Marten and Phoebe Bridgers. She also wishes to release more music, work on telling her stories in different ways, learn more instruments, tour, and finally hopes to meet great people who would inspire her to grow.