#KetchupTalks: Mallika Mehta talks about her latest song 'Keh Bhi De' and more

Smrithi Mohan
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Mallika Mehta

Here's what Indian independent singer-songwriter, Mallika Mehta had to share about her latest song 'Keh Bhi De', her love for music, and so much more.

Life without music is one without any zest, color, or celebration. Music is a depiction of human emotions. In a way, it puts words to our feelings. Indian art has talent in abundance and is filled with artists who dedicate themselves to produce and create music that can reflect one's pain, happiness and regrets. Over the years, we've seen independent artists making it big in the industry by producing music that is unique to them. And Mallika Mehta happens to be one of them.

An artist who released her own debut, EP 'Evolve: The Story of Her' in 2019, went on to create tracks that have been loved by people. Each of her songs from her EP has a deeper meaning to them, touching on the unsaid emotions that give our lives more meaning. The songs on the EP are interconnected to formulate a love story while the final chapter on the EP talks about self-love, being independent, and being enough.

This singer has not only created her own music but was also given the title of 'Adele of Mumbai' by a leading international magazine. Mallika has, over the years, opened for industry maestros like Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Kailash Kher. Continuing her dream of creating new music, she released her latest single 'Keh Bhi De' in June. Mallika Mehta had a chat with us about the song and her musical journey so far.

Here's what she had to say:

How did your musical journey begin?

"My musical journey started with playing the keyboard. I was about 4-5 years old when I’d listen to my mom play and I’d pick up some lines and play them on my own. That’s when my parents realized that I had a ear for music and bought me my own keyboard. I used to sing alongside the keyboard soon after. I have been singing ever since I remember. I began participating in school and inter-school competitions for playing the keyboard and singing. I’d also win at the state level. I was that kid that would sing whenever and wherever I could. Throughout my school life, I sang. I absolutely loved it from the beginning, and about 2 or 3 years after I finished school, I recorded my very first original single – “War Solo”.

What is your song 'Keh Bhi De' about? What was your inspiration behind the song?

"Keh Bhi De is my 7th original song and my 3rd Hindi original single. It’s in the contemporary pop genre. The song has been written and composed keeping in mind the frustration, desperation, and restlessness one feels when their lover does not accept or admit their feelings in spite of being in love. Keh Bhi De is a very simple yet very important facet of an array of emotions - ‘Tell the person you love that you love them’. Keh Bhi De has been written acoustically on the keyboard but is a very dramatic song in terms of lyrics and melody. So, while producing it. that element of passion yet frustration in the music was brought on by drums, piano, and strings. 

Soon after I wrote my first Hindi single, 'Kahan Hai Tu', I remember having a conversation with my dad where I casually asked him how I’d come up with a new concept and write a new song again. I really wanted to compose something new. I tend to always write something new before the release of a project so that I have something to work on right after. Just like that, I started playing some chords on my keyboard, and in a couple of minutes I had my very first draft ready."

How would you describe your music genre?

"I love and enjoy singing songs in multiple languages, genres, and covering multiple eras and emotions. But at the end of the day, what matters to me the most is the lyrics of the song. I believe that music and lyrics are easily relatable and a song is only a hit when your audience connects with it. So, when I make music I make sure that it’s something that one can not only listen to but also feel, connect and heal with. That’s the end goal. Apart from that I specifically enjoy making and singing pop music. Most of my originals have been in that genre. I’ve also written one of my singles 'Way Too Long' in soft rock and I’d like to explore a number of other genres along the way."

You have worked with Indian music geniuses like Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Kailash Kher. How was the whole experience and how did it happen?

"It has been a true honour. Being on the same stage as music maestros like Kailash Kher and Shankar Ehsaan and Loy is nothing less than a dream. I have grown up listening to their music and I truly look up to their art. 

In 2016, I had my very first solo concert called “Rhythm” in Mumbai where I sang 51 songs in 4 languages and we had a full house of music lovers as our audience. There were a lot of people from the industry and from PR companies that were a part of the audience and someone from Mr. Kailash Kher’s PR team was there as well. They saw me perform and contacted us, offering me the opening act spot for his concert 'Kailasa'. When my dad first told me about this, I was absolutely speechless.

Opening for Shankar Ehsaan and Loy was such a beautiful feeling as well. I love their music and have always tried to sing it to the best of my abilities. I got a chance to sing in front of them and I think that’s a night I will never forget."

Which artists (Indian and International) inspire your music?

"There are a number of artists I look up to. To name a few, Adele, Taylor Swift, Sia, Kishoreda, Ashaji, Lataji, Arijit Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and the list can go on. I look up to, listen to and sing a lot of songs by male artists as well and have always loved R D Burman’s unique style of making music."

Do you think Reels or short-video formats play an important part in making a song popular?

"I love the concept of reels because I think it’s perfect for the average attention span of people. They give you the flavor you’re looking to show but also don’t need hours of shooting. (although haha reels are pretty time consuming to create as well) But yes with the IG algorithm that pushes reels to the explore page I believe that if made well, it can make your content viral and make your song popular."

If there is one emotion that you can always make songs on, what would that be and why?

"As a creator of music, I’d definitely say - something to do with love and heartbreak. The reason being that is it’s an emotion everyone has felt at some stage and you definitely feel heartbreak deeply. Also, music helps people heal and so if songs on love or heartbreak help people connect, accept and heal, I’d love to create more music covering that space.

I watched this interview of Taylor Swift where she said that she makes sad songs and sings them because they are always relatable and also super fun to make. And I totally felt that, I love making songs on love and heartbreak because there is just so much more you can say and so I guess that’s the emotion I’d pick to write more music on."

What does your playlist look like? Can you share your top five songs?

"Wow, well my playlist is a mixed kind. I love mixing up genres, languages and vibes. My top five would definitely be Bekhayali by Arijit Singh, Rolling In The Deep by Adele, Love Story by Taylor Swift, Gulabi Aankhein by Mohd Rafi and Tum Hi Aana by Jubin Nautiyal."

Who is that artist that you listen to when you are:

Happy – Taylor Swift 

Sad – Arijit Singh

Excited – Adele

Always makes it to the list – Kishoreda

Check out the song here:

If you haven't yet, listen to her songs on Spotify today!

Also Read: MJ5 members talk about their debut music single ‘Bawaal’

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