Catch Up With Arya Dhayal, The Indie Musician Who Is Making A Mark

Arya Dhayal, the singing sensation who made our lockdown blues a tad bit better, has had a unique, unexpected journey in the music industry. This Kannur-based singer took the internet by storm with her mellow and raw voice. Arya isn’t afraid to experiment, does not restrict herself to a genre, and focuses on creating her niche by working with her voice. An exciting artist of our times, her body of work is one to check out.

Like many of us here, we’re excited to watch her perform live at IndieGaga in Kochi on the 21st of January. We chatted quickly with Arya Dhayal, and you might want to check this conversation out.

You’re one of the breakout stars Instagram gave us during the pandemic. What does this Instagram-powered success feel like? 

It feels great. Instagram and other social media platforms play a massive role in everybody’s life, including mine. I’m so happy that I am not only working online but also able to perform offline. I am thrilled that I can do live shows.

Performing covers of already existing songs always get one section of the audience irked. This is even though artists like you and Harish Sivaramakrishnan give these songs a new spin. Has this trolling & criticism ever gotten to you? 

Yes, initially, it consumed a lot of my time and energy. I had the habit of going through all the comments and checking the engagement. But, after a point, I realized it was not about satisfying everybody. I understood that my happiness was more important, and I feel it every time I experiment and bring out something new.

What’s the one thing about an independent artist’s life that isn’t discussed much? 

The songs, of course. There’s a genre called Moving Music that’s taking up a lot of space in the music industry. When it comes to independent artists, many songs are new and unheard of. So, finding an audience for your music is a struggle.

One of your claims to fame was the effortless fashion in which you blended songs with a unique Carnatic flavor – but since then, your singles have primarily been in the pop space. Is this genre shift a deliberate move? 

I love writing in English and have been doing that consistently. Just that one my works had a blended format of Carnatic and English music, which worked. It’s not a genre shift as such. I follow what I want to do.

In your viral rendition of Kannodu Kanbadhellam at the Wonderwall Media concert (High on Music Getaway), you passionately talk to the audience in the interlude about the lyrics of the stanza to follow. Do you generally give a lot of focus to – and enjoy – song lyrics? 

I do enjoy the lyrics a lot. In fact, I love the song in its entirety. And it’s not just about Kannodu Kanbadhellam. I think it’s important to know the lyrics and enjoy the music along with them. It makes singing easier for me.

What is the best aspect of performing a live set?

Even though we have loads of jamming sessions, unpredictability is the best aspect of performing live. You don’t know what’s in store for you when you’re up on the stage. It might be the audience, the musicians I perform with, or me.

How excited are you to perform at IndieGaga? What are you looking forward to at the event? And which band/musicians are you excited to strike up a conversation over there?

I was part of the IndieGaga audience when they played in Kochi last year and in Trivandrum. I have been following their performances in Dubai, Kozhikode, and Bangalore. So to perform at IndieGaga is a whole different ballgame because I have heard only great things about it. It’s a dream stage for me and the right opportunity to step up as an independent artist.

How’s 2023 looking for you?

2023 is looking super fabulous. I see kickstarting January with Indiegaga as prosperous. All I hope is that I can perform beautifully wherever I go.

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Aishwarya Gopinath
A foodie at heart, an aspiring novelist, and an enthusiastic writer by nature, I love to dig deep into culture and lifestyle of the place and people around me. I hope to make people cry, laugh, smile, angry, and satisfied with my writing.

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