On the heels of her 10-track album last year, the teenage singer-songwriter releases a single “Why”
There are the teenage sensations and there is Kiara Chettri. The newly released single from the Delhi schoolgirl, 17, ‘Why’, a melodic orchestral number, is making waves on streaming platforms. This track comes barely a year after Kiara released her 10-track album, 4 a.m. The worldwide attention the album received proved that the success of her debut single at the age of 15, “You’ll See”, was no flash in the pan. Kiara followed up with six singles which became part of her full album.
Kiara’s tracks have orchestral grandeur, intense lyrics and captivating simplicity.
Feet on the ground
A busy school schedule did not catch up with this class XII student until 10 p.m., by video call. For someone who tasted success from a young age, Kiara has her feet on the ground and demonstrates remarkable wisdom while talking about her aspirations and finding a school-studio balance. “Until I got to my X-class everything was fine, but the board exam was a challenge. I knew I wasn’t going to compromise on my music. I was aware that I had to learn to balance my schoolwork and music; it’s difficult but I’m learning, ”she says with a smile.
Kiara’s song ‘Why’ has a melancholy tone. “I felt most people can relate to the lyrics. Everyone in life would have felt some kind of loss, heartache and sadness, that’s why I wrote these lyrics and I’m sure they touch everyone.
Kiara is trained in Western classical music, plays guitar, piano, keyboard, ukulele and wishes to learn cello. “It’s such a beautiful instrument, I would love to play it.”
Reluctant musician who thought music would be boring, Kiara, after being forced to join her mother’s music school as a child, adopted her like a fish in the water. “I am grateful that my mother forced me to learn music. She inherited her musical acumen from her father who lives in Darjeeling. He composed a lot of Nepalese songs. My mother inspires me. I appreciate his suggestions in my compositions and lyrics.
Ever since deciding she wanted to pursue a career in music, Kiara knew she would release an album sooner or later. “When I released my first single, I knew it would be part of my 10 track album,” says Kiara who is slightly disappointed that the release happened during the pandemic. “It was tough when the pandemic hit, my producer was in Mumbai and I went all the way to sit with him, but eventually when the album came out I wasn’t there in person. Everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t go back to change anything. 4 a.m. consists of nine songs in English and one song in Hindi called Kinara you.
Describing the process of releasing an album as nerve-racking, Kiara believes that unlike a single, you would expect at least some songs to be liked and appreciated from an album. “I tried to keep my songs as honest and real as possible, I wrote down my thoughts, these are the thoughts of a 17 year old. I have never been worried about my music, but I was nervous about releasing the album, and if people didn’t like it. I decided that I would cherish the fact that 50% of listeners might like my music. For the other half who might not not like it, I’ll release another album, ”she laughs.
The scene just like at home
Ever since her mother put her on stage at the age of six for a performance of Queen’s “We Will, We Will Rock You …”, Kiara has fallen in love with the stage. “At six, you’re nervous but you don’t have the insecurities of a teenager. I realized that I loved being on stage, singing and speaking to the audience. It’s a great feeling.
Kiara is happy that independent artists like her have gained attention during the pandemic as Bollywood music has been put on hiatus. Kiara did some covers and makes sure she doesn’t copy the original artists. “I make them my own, I try to polish them and make some changes.”
Headed to the UK to study music after school, Kiara believes the UK is the perfect place for musicians. “If I had sang songs in Hindi I would stay here because I do songs in English it is important for me to go out and play in UK or USA.”
The endearing trait of adolescence comes to the fore when she says, “Music is my escape route. When I’m angry, when I’m arguing with my mom or a friend, when I’m sad or happy, I pick up my guitar and start strumming. It keeps me down to earth and reminds me of who I am.