• Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Arts and Culture

Andrea Jeremiah and her lockdown Flavors

TASTY TRACKS: Andrea Jeremiah

By: Asjad Nazir


These are exciting times for popular singer and actress Andrea Jeremiah.

The voice behind smash-hit Tamil and Telugu songs, recently released her debut English language album Flavors, which she co-produced with her band The Jeremiah Project.

The bright all-round talent will also be showing her amazing acting skills in high-profile Tamil movies that are set to establish her as a leading cinematic light.

The singer, songwriter, and actress is taking on each new challenge like a boss, and was in good spirits when Eastern Eye caught up with her. She spoke about her action-packed journey in film and music, awesome new album Flavors, future hopes, what she would love to master and why this really is a new beginning.

What was your first passion in the beginning – acting or singing?
Definitely singing. Music played a huge role in my life all through my childhood, whereas acting happened only as an adult. Growing up in a Catholic family, there was a lot of choir-singing, both in church and at school, and I did a decade of classical piano lessons as well. Acting happened almost by accident, when I was dragged along to audition for a college play, and then, of course, one thing led to another.

Which of your acting roles has been closest to your heart?
All my best work has happened post lockdown. Anel Meley Pani Thuli, Manusi and Pisasu 2, which is, of course, directed by Mysskin sir. They will be out soon. The other two are produced by filmmaker Vetrimaaran and the titles might seem unfamiliar because they are unreleased, but these three films just about sum up my best work as an actor, thus far, and I’m very proud of them.

Which character challenged you most as an actress?
I would have to say Manushi, directed by Gopi Nainar, who had previously made Aram, and produced by Vetrimaaran. I found it challenging not so much as an actor but as a human being, because this is one of those rare films that made me question my entire belief system. Those films are few and far between, but when they happen, they can be overwhelming.

How have you managed to balance acting and singing?
(Laughs) I think of acting as a job and music as a paid vacation. On a serious note, though, I do believe that it’s the same creative energy finding different outlets, and who knows, in a few years I might find a whole new outlet for this energy. But there is no balance required as such because I love what I do, be it acting, singing, or making music.

Are you able to tell if a song will be a hit when recording it?
To be honest, no, I cannot. More often than not, songs that become hits surprise me, and nobody can really predict what the audience will go crazy over. But sometimes I do know, like with Oo Solriya. I was pretty sure the Telugu version would be a massive hit. But even I didn’t expect the Tamil version to also go viral, because that doesn’t usually happen with dubbed tracks.

What made you want to record your first English language album Flavors?
To put it bluntly, it was lockdown that made this album happen. Up until then, everybody was too busy to get in the studio and record these songs, though we have been performing them live for a few years. But during lockdown, I managed to get my band members to record in their respective home studios. Then as soon as curfew lifted, I recorded my own vocals, but then curfew was imposed again. This was good because my engineer and I had time to work on the mixes. That’s why I call this album a lovechild of the lockdown.

Tell us about the album?
Each song on Flavors was written at a different time in my life. Sleep-Walking, for instance, was written by my moody broody teenage self. 24/7 was written when I fell in love with someone for the first time and Amusement is about an angry break-up. Pull Me Back is about a very intense karmic relationship I had with someone. So, each song describes a particular time in my life.

Who are you hoping connects with these songs?
There was no real target as such. I wrote these songs mostly for myself because writing is a cathartic experience for me. But I do believe there is a solid audience for English music in India, the Indian diaspora globally and beyond. I hope that my music reaches all of them.

Which of your superb songs are a personal favourite?
I can’t pick out a favourite from the new album because they are all special to me, but if I had to absolutely choose, it would be 24/7 and Flavors. From my Tamil playback songs, it would have to be Idhu Varai and Who’s The Hero, and crowds seem to love these songs just as much as I do.

Is this the beginning of a new musical journey for you?
As a matter of fact, yes, I do think I’m on a cusp of a new beginning, be it the release of Flavors or the slew of post lockdown films. Everything I have done post Covid has a different energy to it, maybe because I have changed as a person, like so many others have. And my work is nothing but a reflection of my own personal evolution, so yes, this is definitely a new beginning for me.

What music dominates your own personal playlist?
I find myself listening to a lot of electronic music these days, but I also listen to old school jazz artists like Miles Davis and Chet Baker. Some days I feel like listening to John Mayer, other days it is Jordan Rakei, so it all actually depends on my mood.

If you could master something new, what would it be?
The only thing I’m currently trying to master is the art of patience. It’s a lifelong lesson for me, and it never gets easier. But there’s a bunch of things I wish I could go back in time and master, like gymnastics or playing the violin.

What is it that inspires you?
The ideal way to live would be to find inspiration in everything – a sunset, falling leaf, rain-soaked sky, or anything else. The trick is to find that bit of everyday magic in your life because that’s what makes life worth living.

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