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June 15, 2017

Kamakshi Khanna: The Singer-Songwriter Who’s Going Places

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Mohit Kapil

“The beauty lies in how seamlessly your inner thoughts, feelings and secrets brew themselves into a song”

Kamakshi Khanna’s journey started in her school choir in Delhi when, at the age of 12, her music teacher, Dr. K. K. Choudhary, pushed her to sing and eventually join the Mozart Choir Of India — an initiative led by Pandit Ravi Shankar. “We toured Austria and India, and even performed at the Golden Hall in Vienna,” she says. “I absolutely loved the concept of choral singing and large orchestras, and was introduced to Artistes Unlimited, which gave me my first taste of the independent music scene in Delhi.” It was while in college, after she started singing with the pop band Euphoria as a backup vocalist for two years, that she realised her desire to create something she could call her own. And thus was born the Kamakshi Khanna Collective, as well as her other band, River.

“You create something that defines you and flows naturally. The beauty lies in how seamlessly your inner thoughts, feelings and secrets brew themselves into a song. It still feels like magic to me,” says the 23-year-old singer and composer about living her dream. She gained mainstream recognition on The Stage, India’s first English singing reality show, which she participated in to challenge herself, experiment and improve. Now, she’s revelling in the great response to her second album, Cakewalk, which Khanna describes as a true encapsulation of her journey. Staying true to her love for R&B and soul, she makes sure not to limit her voice and vision to only those genres.

At the moment, she’s creating her first ever music video for I’m In My Own Way, a song from her new album, while planning a solo live-looping performance and original material. She raves about Vulfpeck — her current favourite band — and appreciates that having access to knowledge and music can break cultural boundaries all over the world. Khanna is confident and self-aware about her strengths, with a vision so clear that her future endeavours are sure to be a cakewalk too.

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