currentMood interviews Harshita Kalee.
currentMood: So how did you get into music? Was it something you always wanted to do while growing up?
Harshita Kalee: I loved music and it was my refuge, but I never thought that I’d make a career out of it. In my hometown, Patna, one only gets to hear Bollywood music and it’s only when I moved to Mumbai and started attending gigs that I realised that there’s a whole new world of music out there. I would play at my friends parties and this one time, someone noticed me and asked me to play at a gig in Mumbai. That’s how the ball got rolling.
currentMood: Have you had any training?
Harshita Kalee: No. I’m self-taught, but I’ve recently started taking violin lessons.
currentMood: When you gave up your job to pursue music, what was the reaction back home?
Harshita Kalee: In Patna, wearing sleeveless t-shirts would also be frowned up. Needless to say, when I started modelling, it ruffled a few feathers. I’d gone from engineering to modelling to music – this wasn’t well received and it was heartbreaking. For the first year and a half, I didn’t know how to salvage the situation and just focussed on my work. I was all over the place, a family rift, a break up and career uncertainty, but music healed me. Post a trip to Vrindavan, I gained clarity on what I was to do in life [music], and when my parents asked me, “What are you doing in life?” I remember smiling and feeling at peace with my choices. Somehow, they could read through my simple reaction and that’s when they understood my calling.
Soundcloud playlist: currentMood x Kaleekarma
currentMood: How easy/hard was it to break through as an artist in India?
Harshita Kalee: I knew that I had to give it everything I’ve got..I didn’t come from a musical background, knew very little about the industry and back then female artists weren’t taken as seriously as they are now.
After playing a few gigs, I decided that I needed to be booked for the right reasons and wasn’t going to compromise on what I put out. Once I made this shift, though I was happy about what I was playing, I wasn’t getting as many gigs as I used to. I was more focussed on music rather than marketing. There was a time when I was getting one gig every two-three months and this affected me mentally and financially.
I gathered the strength to go on and channelised my energy in practising and putting out as many mixes as I could. It was a rough patch but in the end my hard work paid off. I started uploading my work online and started getting recognised. I’m still learning the ropes and have decided to sharpen my skills every time there’s a lull. When you work honestly, something good always comes along.
currentMood: Which festivals in India would you love to perform in?
Harshita Kalee: Magnetic Fields, Ziro Festival and Echoes of Earth.
currentMood: What inspires you?
Harshita Kalee: Usually my personal life experiences, the mundane and anything that moves me.
currentMood: Musical inspirations?
currentMood:What mixes (of your own) are you currently listening to?
currentMood: So what’s in the pipeline?
Harshita Kalee: Some fun stuff, but don’t want to talk about it till it’s finalised.
Last modified: January 9, 2019