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Interview with Mallika Mehta

Multilingual vocalist Mallika Mehta shares her journey of becoming the Adele of Mumbai

Give an introduction to yourself, how you got into music, where you are today, and where you'd like to be.

I am Mallika Mehta, a singer-songwriter and a performer. Humbled to have been titled as the “Adele of Mumbai” by renowned national and international media. I believe that different languages bring out different emotions in music and so singing in one language was never enough. I sing in 5 languages so far and I intend on expanding the list as I move forward in my musical journey. I have been singing ever since I remember. My mother used to play the keyboard when I was really little, about 4-5 years old and I’d listen to her play and pick up some lines and play them on my own. That’s when my parents realized that I had an ear for music and bought me my own keyboard. I used to sing alongside the keyboard soon after. I began participating in school and inter-school competitions for keyboard playing and I’d win at the state level. Throughout my school life, I sang. I absolutely loved it from the beginning, and about 2 or 3 years after I finished school, I had recorded my very first original single and had my first ever solo concert “Rhythm”.

 Today, I have a 4 track English EP called ‘Evolve: The Story of Her’ an English single called ‘Way Too Long’, and 3 Hindi singles called ‘Kahan Hai Tu’ and ‘Kaafi’ and ‘Keh Bhi De’ to my name. I also just released my first ever Hip-Hop and Rap song – “Bling & Pictures”. I intend and hope to write more songs and tell more stories that people connect and heal with. 

Mehta featured as "Adele of Mumbai" in The Washington Mail

Tell us about your latest release, what's it about?

My latest release “Bling & Pictures” was released on 15th October 2021. It’s my eighth original song but my first ever Hip-Hop & Rap release. 

The lyrics, tone, and texture of singing highlight the rebellious mood of the song. I wrote this song with two other talented songwriters when I was attending a songwriting program at NYU in 2019. The production gives a live performance-like feel to the track with multiple layers on the chorus and hooks to portray an audience singing and clapping along. 

Fame, fortune, attention, bling & pictures come to an artist when they excel at their craft and start gaining success. But not every artist gets into the music industry for just these things. An artist true to their craft wants to make music to heal themselves and others, to tell stories through their music that their listeners would resonate with, to bring smiles on as many faces as they can but primarily for their boundless love and passion for music. I chose to be a singer because I breathe music and not just for the bling and pictures. “Bling & Pictures” talks about how an artist works hard to achieve their dreams and goals little by little, the amount of time and effort they put in to make a song trending and how once they achieve a certain level of fame there are many trying to copy their journey and what they do. 

How did you record it?

I’ve always loved recording original music professionally in the recording studio, it has its own vibe. In fact, I also recorded my debut EP, “Evolve: The Story of Her” in New York at VA Studio. 

I recorded “Bling & Pictures” at WIBE studio (Mumbai) where Aasa Singh arranged and produced the track as well as mixed and mastered my vocals. 

Mehta in New York at VA Studio

How do you promote your music?

I am an indie artist and I haven’t signed with any music label at the moment. Each one of my singles is my babies and I treat them like one. Right from the time I write it till the time I put it out there for it to be heard and loved by everyone. Promoting music is incredibly taxing and a lot of work but also super fun and rewarding process. I’ve studied marketing at Harvard University and Kellogg University since marketing always interested me. That has certainly helped me to market or promote my music. I usually promote it through social media and make a promotion plan based on the song. 

The music industry is in a state of flux right now, where do you see it heading?

The pandemic created or gave birth to a lot of new talent. I think it gave people the time to explore their talents and interests and suddenly we see a lot of new artists and music coming out on a daily basis. I think it’s great to get more beautiful music but it also increases a lot of competition. Releasing music is an entire process that is tedious and expensive, but it’s really easy to just put out a song if you exempt all promotions, schedules, launches, etc. and I think that is why the quality of the music is being put out is not very well monitored. 

Mehta writing on a paper

Which artist do you look up to the most and why?

I look up to and admire a number of artists across different countries, genres, and languages. When it comes to English music, I am extremely fond of Adele and Taylor Swift. I love the way Adele delivers those powerful vocals and no one can match up to Taylor’s deep songwriting. Both these artists greatly influence my style of singing and songwriting. When it comes to Hindi or Bollywood music I have an incredibly long list of favorites. To name a few, I look up to Kishoreda, R D Burman, Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Arijit Singh, etc.

What artist tools/services can't you live without?

I would not survive a day without my portable Bose speaker, it was a birthday gift from my parents on my 18th birthday and I use it every single day till the battery drains out. Other than that, I can’t live without my keyboard, mic, and my air pods. 

What is your advice to other indie artists to help fund their work/produce music?

Take up smaller, affordable projects that you can afford without any trouble. What’s key is to put out a great song of supreme audio quality, do not compromise on that. For beginners, it’s absolutely okay to save on other things like high-end music videos, effects, outdoor marketing, etc. 

Mallika Mehta

Anything else you'd like to plug?

I’ve put my heart and soul into my recent release and I love how the video has turned out. I’d love for you all to quickly go check it out on youtube, Spotify, apple music, amazon music, wynk, gaana, SoundCloud, etc. 

Come say hi on my socials - @mallikamehtamusic, I love meeting new people!