In an exclusive interview, Armaan opened up about the fourth single, ‘Echo’, his dream collaboration, dreams of bringing home a Grammy someday and more. Excerpts…
‘Echo’ is your fourth single…
‘Echo’ is my first ever international collaboration and to be on a record with incredibly talented artists like KSHMR and Eric Nam, just feels amazing! We have waited for almost eight months to put this out and it’s much more than a song, it is three Asian artists with completely different backgrounds coming together with a single emotion they all strongly believe in. The timing of it is just perfect because May is celebrated as an Asian Heritage Month where Asian artists and change-makers from across the world are celebrated. So yeah this is a special moment in time for all of us!
Tell us the story behind this magical collaboration…
‘Echo’ was conceived when I met KSHMR in Los Angeles right before the onset of the global pandemic and the release of my first English single ‘Control.’ He played me some unreleased material including ‘Echo’, and the moment I heard it, it just stuck. I recorded my demo verse at his studio then and there itself!
Around mid-2020, Eric and I had this little interaction on Twitter that sparked off an internet friendship and our teams got connected as well to discuss a potential collaboration. The track we all gravitated most towards was ‘Echo’ and we spent the next few months making it sound and look the way it does right now.
How was the experience of collaborating with Eric Nam and DJ KSHMR?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Niles! My love for his production goes right back to the time when he was part of the duo ‘The Cataracs’. His work over the years as KSHMR has truly been ground-breaking and sonically unique. The way he seamlessly blends Indian sounds with electronic sounds is just unbelievable!
Even though Eric and I have never met each other in person, there is an unexplained connection with him. Our internet friendship actually started out by complimenting each other’s work on Twitter. There is a genuine mutual admiration and appreciation for each other’s music and artistry. Beyond music, I really appreciate how vocal he is regarding the issues of Asians, that’s immensely commendable.
Any anecdotes that you would like to share with us from your collaborative sessions…
While I’ve met Niles in person once, I have never met Eric. I have only interacted with him virtually and all three of us did a video call for the first time after the song was locked. Before that, it was only email and iMessage threads (Laughs).
Your brother Amaal collaborated with Dua Lipa recently. Who tops the list of your dream collaborations?
If there are no holds barred and I get the chance of putting my favourite musicians in one room, it would be a dream for me to build a track together with Charlie Puth and DJ/ producer, Zedd.
You became the first Indian singer to get featured on the Times Billboard for ‘Control’. Did you anticipate it?
To be able to achieve so much with my debut single, ‘Control’ was something I never anticipated and to this day it feels surreal. From being the first Indian singer to be featured on Spotify’s Times Square Billboard, winning the MTV EMA for it, and most importantly to have my fans support my new journey, it’s been nothing short of overwhelming.
You have sung more than 150 songs in such a short span. Why did you suddenly decide to shift your focus on independent music?
As a multilingual artist, I am blessed that I get to work across multiple industries and to do all of it simultaneously and successfully. But ever since the beginning of my career, I’ve always wanted to make my own music and put out songs that truly represent me as an artist.
Also, the shift to English music isn’t sudden for me as I have said this before too, it has been a lifelong dream for me to sing and write English music, and be the first musical artist to truly represent India on a global stage. This music is inside of me, it’s my DNA, this has always been my trajectory as a musical artist.
Do you dream of bringing a Grammy home someday?
I am working hard on making all my dreams come true and yes bringing home a Grammy someday is one of them. I know my fans and my country are rooting for me.
Independent music is catching up in Bollywood too. How do you look at it as a singer?
Yes, Independent music is gaining momentum and I’m really excited about this movement but it’s not the same as Bollywood. They both are very different things. I know a lot of people get confused between the two, because they see a lot of Bollywood names associated with this distinction must be made very clear to the audiences out there.