An Interview With The Folk Singer-Songwriter, Dhruv Visvanath!
Posted On 13 Jun 2018
Meet the singer-songwriter, Dhruv Visvanath!
By the time he was a teenage, the musician had already learned both the piano and guitar and had traveled all over the world with his family. When he was 16, his father passed away and he returned to India, intent on selling his very much non-traditional sound to a New Delhi audience.
Coming from off of his new album, The Lost Cause, his breakout single, “Wild” is a song that lives up to its name. This folk track is universally relatable at its heart, detailing a lust and a search for a childlike sense of freedom.
Visvanath explains: “The music video (for “Wild”) was such an epic journey because there were so many concepts going back and forth and I think it took four months before the mops came to be. The moment I’d head the idea from my director Tanvi Gandhi, I just decided to let her take control and take the idea all the way to the end. I’m so glad the music video turned out the way it did. I’m beyond thrilled that this song is going to champion my album The Lost Cause.”
“I don’t tend to write love songs, as I tend to feel that it shows only one dimension to human emotions. With the video, I felt that with the faceless characters that the mops possess, it felt like anyone could put their faces there and live the same experiences that the mops go through. And that’s how I’ve written the entire album as well. I want to echo the sentiments of humanity, of the little things that matter.”
Learn more about Dhruv Visvanath in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time, Dhruv! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
Thank you for having me here first off! I’m on a train currently from Lynchburg, VA to Washington. It’s my first time to any of these parts here and I’m having a great great time! For now, I think I need to eat something really nice and heavy. I think I need a good solid breakfast.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
Well, so far, I’d like to say that 2018 has been absolutely amazing! I think theres still a long way to go, nothing happens immediately but it’s been a great few months and I have just been thrilled to be a musician in the first place. My one goal was to ensure that my album, The Lost Cause released successfully, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am with the way that it’s been received both in India and around the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all the way to Austin and Toronto to play at SXSW and the Canadian Music Week respectively. I want to ensure that my music allows me to continue to cross borders.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
My piano teacher used to live in the same building as I did and I remember going to class before going to school every morning. In the evenings after everything was done, my parents would switch on a small lamp in my room and make me play a small keyboard for them. I just remember the excitement they had every time I’d play for them. It’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? Has there been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Well there are so many challenges to being a musician, and It’s always going to be an exciting journey. I think the biggest surprise is the fact that I get to do it in the first place! I did know that I’d always have to work hard, but being from an Indian family, being anything other than a doctor or a lawyer (Which is practically what my entire family does) was definitely a defiant move. But I finally feel as if the work I’ve done has warranted the acceptance of it all. Also being your own boss is amazing! I mean I’m a musician traveling through the world and getting to meet amazing people. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better!
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? If you don’t think that it has affected you at all, why is that?
I have lived In many different places, growing up in some interesting cities around the world. I really think that traveling the world at such a young age was such an important experience and really introduced me to many different cultures. I think there were far more important things that affected my journey, more importantly the passing of my father. It was an exceptionally hard mountain to climb but my need to make music at the time of his passing really brought me through a rather tough time.
I find it interesting that sometimes musicians choose to go by something other than their own name so why did you decide to go by your own real name?
Because I know that there won’t be another name like mine at least for a while! But to be honest I never really thought of a moniker, or an alias. I was just happy to keep my name as it is. I didn’t want to change for anyone and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to lie about who I was. Plus it’s such fun teaching people how to say my name!
What was the inspiration for your newest single called “Wild”? How different or similar is it to anything else you have released in the past?
Wild was inspired by this one photograph of my father, my brother and I walking into a forest, and I looked at the photo and found myself wondering about the innocence and happiness I felt at the age of 5. Now, two decades later I thought of the the predicament of being an adult, filled with responsibilities and hindrances and wondered where my little sense of innocence went. Its really very different to anything I’ve ever release purely because of the fact that it sounds like nothing I’ve ever released. I never thought I’d get to use a beautiful string section, thanks to my friend Ajay Jayanthi. Having recorded all of the song in my bedroom, I’m amazed to hear it sound so good!
How creatively involved were you with the making of the music video for “Wild”? Did anything surprise you about the making of a video?
As far as things go creatively, I was not involved with the process of the making of, although my director Tanvi Gandhi took me through the entire story that the only thing I could do was just trust her with it! I was really surprised by the concept and using mops was such an inspiring choice, I was blown away by the idea that something so simple could turn out to be so amazing!
When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs?
I really want to take my time before releasing any new material! I think it’s imperative that my current album lives it’s story and I hope that people around the world continue to listen to it! I’m working on many collaborations with some Indian artists and I hope to continue making some amazing music with some amazing people. I can happily say that I will release some more music this year!
How would you say that you have grown as an artist since you first starting making music?
I think making music has made me fat! Hahaha! But to be honest I think I feel that its every song I’ve written has been an improvement on my ability to play my instrument, or even sing better, and write better songs. I feel like making music feels like a video game, every improvement feels as if I’ve leveled up and makes me feel more powerful!
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows this summer?
I really enjoy an intimate setting for my performances. Any performance where the audience is super comfortable and one where I can make people laugh. I’ve played a bunch of shows in many auditoria, and I still look back to a lot of those performances as some of my best ones. I think one of my best shows was actually my launch gig in Mumbai. It was a super intimate setting and the entire audience sat down, it was definitely a night to remember.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
Well, to be honest, I don’t understand today’s climate, and I don’t tend to write politically charged material, but I like to think that the world still goes around the sun regardless of what we do on this planet. Whether the people in power are good or bad, the rest of the world isn’t filled with politicians. We’ve all got a chance to change the world in our own way, and we all choose to do so in different ways. I do know the Donald Glover’s “This is America” has set many wheels in motion, and brought so much to light, not just about america, but about travesties across the world. I hope his ambition and voice inspires more people to write some inspiring songs.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?
I’m actually so tired of everything that has to do with social media! I do know that it is a tool to access millions of people but honestly, that whole search and demand to be successful can be depressing and rather tiring. It’s a shame that my career depends on it but over the last three weeks I’ve not looked at a single network! This vacation has been much needed break from everything! I’m just happy that I get to really connect with people on a better level. Plus my neck feels so much better! Not having to bend down and look at a tiny screen? Big win!
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I’d absolutely love to work with Newton Faulkner, or even John Mayer, both artists whom I find insanely talented and inspiring. I’ve grown up listening to a lot of guitarists like Mark Tremonti, John Petrucci, Antoine Dufour, Andy Mckee, Erik Mongrain and Don Ross, and I’ve learnt so much just watching them play. It’s been a hell of an experience to play their songs. As of late I’ve really gotten into bands like Snarky Puppy, Roosevelt, Foals, The Reign of Kindo, and have really taken a liking to Kacey Musgraves music, and her album The Golden Hour, has been a wonderful listen!
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you?
My guitar most definitely.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I so so so wish that one of my songs appeared on a Marvel movie! But if I had to mention a TV show on right now, I think Bojack Horseman, or 13 Reasons Why would be a show I’d be proud to be a part of.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I always look to write songs that have a story that inspires people to follow their passions. The only thing I want is for people to sing and hum my tunes wherever they are! I don’t ask for much.
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