Jan 08, 2021
Whether he’d been performing with jam band Something Relevant, pop-rock outfit The Colour Compound or at venues across Mumbai singing covers, one thing that’s stayed constant for city-based singer-songwriter Rohan Mazumdar aka Rohanmaz is his love for Motown, soul and R&B music. He says, “I’ve always listened to that irrespective of whatever I’ve been doing.” On New Year’s Eve, the vocalist-guitarist took the leap to showcase his soulful songwriting with the release of his debut solo single, the optimistic “I See Fire.”
Some of the reasons it’s taken a while for Mazumdar to venture into soul music officially is because of how niche it is in India and also because he didn’t see many people around him doing it. “Sometimes you just kind of realize that if I’m just being myself and doing me, that’s the best quality commodity that I can put out,” says the artist.
Mazumdar penned “I See Fire” in the wee hours last year during the lockdown. After looking at the way things were taking shape across the globe and closer home with the struggles of the migrant laborers, the singer-songwriter just wanted to forget about negativity and soak himself into the gratification of writing songs. “So, I sort of just put all that I was feeling in that time into a song,” he says. The hopeful and cinematic track builds up beautifully with guitar parts, claps, some stellar melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Adding to the growth of the song is backing vocals by powerhouse singer Vasundhara Vee as well as Azamaan Hoyvoy.
“I See Fire” has been produced by bassist Nathan Thomas aka NATE08 (from live electronica outfit Drum Ani Bass) remotely during the pandemic. “It was a complete hustle, and we did most of it all without meeting,” says Mazumdar.
The track’s accompanying black and white video – shot and edited by Sanya Sagar – showcases Mazumdar and Thomas at spots around Bandra while it’s also interspersed with archival footage from 2019’s Youth Strike Climate Change March, a COVID-19 headline, Black Lives Matter sign and more. The singer-songwriter says, “I wanted it to be like a song coming from a boy stuck in his own hood.” He adds, “It was super DIY, just out of the sheer want of putting it out.”
While the video has already amassed over 10,000 views on YouTube (as of publishing this article), Mazumdar has no plans of slowing down now. He’s already putting together more music and working on collaborations covering the vast spectrum of soul music and drawing from R&B, hip-hop and more. He says, “I think collaborations are a great way to grow quickly because you kind of feed off other people’s energy.” Mazumdar adds, “So yeah, lots of new music coming up.”
Watch the video for “I See Fire” below and stream the song on Apple Music and Spotify.