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Verve People
June 16, 2017

Prateek Kuhad: The Man Who Sings With His Soul

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Mohit Kapil

“I write mostly for myself, and I do shows, rarely for myself”

Ask fans at a Prateek Kuhad show, ‘When did this guy become such a big deal?’ and you’ll get a different answer each time. Even though he first popped up on most newsfeeds only in 2015 with the release of his debut album, In Tokens & Charms, the Delhi-based singer-songwriter has steadily been carving an inimitable spot for himself on the indie music scene ever since he came out with his EP Raat Raazi in 2013.

Interestingly, though, for Kuhad, making music wasn’t a goal during his younger years in Jaipur or while living in the Big Apple for nearly half a decade during college. “I was studying maths and economics, and was going to jump into the world of finance. I was working at a consulting firm in New York, when I just decided to leave and returned to India one day,” he recalls. “I always loved writing songs, but I decided to give it all my time in 2013. Now I write mostly for myself, and I do shows, rarely for myself.”

His folksy, soulful sound is best enjoyed live — acoustic, expressive and unrestrained — or while snuggled up in a blanket with a book…and maybe a glass of wine. “My process is instinctive and organic. I try not to be analytical but it doesn’t always work because it’s only human to judge — even oneself,” he muses. While he’s been influenced by Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan, his current playlist features Kasbo, Kendrick Lamar, Solange and Frank Ocean.

Kuhad has an impressive list of achievements, which he tends to not pay much attention to. After touring the world, opening for Alt-J at the Emerge Music And Arts Festival conceptualised by LIVE Viacom18 in association with Vh1 India and playing at festivals like SXSW, Music Matters, Ziro and Bacardi NH7 Weekender, and at the Singapore Grand Prix, 2016 saw him being honoured as the Best Indian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards and featured on the coveted NPR Music’s SXSW 100 list. Now, he’s excited about releasing new music (his latest single Tum Jab Paas is a must-listen) and being selected among 11 finalists for Midem’s Artist Accelerator Program in Paris this month. Evidently, 2017 looks like a power-packed year, but ask him which generation’s music scene he’d love to have been a part of and he immediately retorts, “The ’60s and ’70s, duh!”

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