Mumbai-based Indie singer A L R aka Abhilash L R, who is best known for his 2019 single Under the Sheets, has come out with a new track titled Reminiscing. With a preppy melody, Reminiscing is A L R’s personal story of coping with his grandmother’s death.
Talking about the song in a free-wheeling chat with News18, A L R said, “If you look at the lyrics, it has a very sad undertone to it. But when you hear the song, you will feel like it is a very happy song. There is a melancholic, kind of a bitter-sweet thing going on here. That was the whole idea behind the song as well. I loved my grandmother and I lost her somewhere around 2018-19, so this song was for me a process to come to terms with the fact that she is in a better place now and this is how life was meant to be. So this was my personal process.
“But in 2020 when Covid happened and I was hearing about my friends losing their parents or somebody they love and were close to. So that was when I felt like I should work on this song because that was a personal song for me. I did not want to really release it. But when this situation was happening, I thought that maybe this was a song that will resonate with a lot of people. That is why I kind of picked that song back up and re-worked a couple of lines here and there. It took us almost 8 months to put it together,” he said.
A L R’s songwriting process is uniquely descriptive, almost like going on a road-trip. “The story that you have listened to in the song is something that I have done all my life. My grandmom used to live in Kerala and I used to live in Rajasthan. Every year during the summer breaks, we would take a trip to Kerala. We had our own rituals like that. I think I am more of a storyteller when I am writing songs. Not just this song, but my previous song that I released, ‘Under the Sheets,’ also has a love story between two people. When you are listening to the song, you will be able to picturise it. When I am talking about my song-writing approach, it is always story first and then figuring out which lines go with what and then rhyming it and then forming the melody. That is the whole process,” he said.
His previous single Under the Sheets garnered a lot appreciation in indie-music circles and was also featured in Rolling Stone as one of the top releases of the month. When asked how the appreciation impacted him, he said, “This is like a passion-project for me. I work as a marketing professional throughout the day. I’m not a full-time singer-songwriter. So for me, recognition, even though it is not the most important thing, is something that is telling you that you are doing something right and people are listening to you and liking it. Earlier, what I did was make songs and pass it around to my friends. But now, when I release it on Spotify and when random people who don’t know me get to hear it, and when they leave comments like ‘this is so amazing,’ that just makes you feel good. With everything that is going on right now, whether you go and watch the news or go and look up social media or anywhere else, I think there is a lot of negative stuff going around. So my idea was to do my bit to spread some love and some positivity with the world.”
He also said that the single’s success enabled him to work with professional artists and with better infrastructure in his next single. “If you listen to the production quality of this song than the previous one, you will notice a difference because this time I worked (with experts). Keba Jeramiah has played the guitar, who has played for AR Rahman in Rockstar and a lot of other films. After releasing the first song, I got the confidence of investing more money in it. It is a journey when you see the recognition come to you, you put the motivation back to it,” he said.
So what is in store for this rising singer? “I am working on three singles at the same time and one of them is with a friend of mine who was my band-mate in college. I’m also trying to do something in Hindi, because since childhood I have always ung Hindi songs, and later my music taste changed and shifted towards English. So it will be a way for me to go back to my roots. But writing in Hindi is not an easy thing for me because English comes more naturally. I’m planning to release them within 6 months to the end of the year. The eventual aspiration is to be able to release an album, maybe of 10-12 songs because that is a big moment an artist works for. An album is more precious and takes much more effort. That is something that will happen but for this year, I’ll be releasing three singles and one of them will be in Hindi,” he signed off.