Druv Kent, an internationally acclaimed and chart-topping singer-songwriter left his banking career to follow his passion for music. The Kolkata-born, who is currently based in Singapore, is the first Asia-based musician in last two decades to have his music supported by the BBC Radio. After receiving much acclaim in the UK, Singapore, Australia and India with various singles and EPs, Druv recently released his new song, Magaresa (Runaway), produced in Sweden. With his earthy, anthemic and lyrical songs, Druv seeks meaning in a shifting world with contemporary folk-pop sounds blended with the fuel of his Indian heritage. On his recent visit to Mumbai, Druv spoke to The Free Press Journal about his new song, journey, and more.
Excerpts from an interview:
What made you quit your career in banking?
I was fortunate to be an investment banker in Hong Kong when Asia’s star was rising extraordinarily in the 2000s, driven substantially by the rise of China’s emerging financial might. But, with the end of that decade also came the global financial crisis. It brought an end to creativity, joy and innovation that excited me as a corporate finance strategic thinker. I was a Managing Director running a large chunk of business when I left banking in 2013. It happened when in March 2013, my wife and I had a disagreement. With all this on my mind, I sat down at my keyboard, playing not from memory, but instead what I was feeling. Two hours later, I composed a song with lyrics. I was overwhelmed and humbled by the beauty of it and it changed me forever. I became aware of myself as a creator, composer, songwriter, and not just a hobbyist singer. I knew this was my true calling. When it’s your heart that’s tugging at you, you make decisions you didn’t know you were capable of.
When did you start working on Magaresa?
The Magaresa (Runaway) song has been like a force of nature. It took seed before Covid — but its completion was delayed. Over the last two years, the song evolved from a guitar riff on an early version called Runaway to become this amazingly large global pop track with a new type of fusion sound. It required several iterations between legendary Swedish record producer, Doug Carr, in Sweden and me in Singapore, adding layers of bass, drums, Indian bansuri and tablas into the mix to get to its final form.
What is the song about?
It is primarily a fun-filled, dance track. The fact that it is trending on TikTok and Instagram, and people are creating amazing Magaresa Challenge reels, has been a real trip. That is what the song is about — having fun and jumping in, or more specifically, having the courage to jump into that beautiful expanse of space called love. It’s about overcoming your fears and letting yourself fall in love.
What was the inspiration behind the song?
First, it’s the sound of the song, it was searching for the sound that was our biggest inspiration. After a good deal of trial and error, Doug and I managed to find this unique and magical mix of Indian tablas and desi vibe with this Western pop melody and superb funk-pop dance track. Second, the song itself, much like our own journey, is about jumping in fearlessly. I see too many people, especially the younger generation, who are scared of falling in love. This song is a reminder that love can hurt, but it can also nurture, heal, transform and give you purpose and meaning. We should never forget that.
The song has two titles Magaresa and Runaway. What was the idea behind it?
I had a fragment of a song called Runaway I had written in Singapore. When I first met Doug in Sweden, we both loved it and recorded it in his studio. At end of our session, I started vocalising some Indian semi-classical riffs into the gaps of the song using the phrases ‘sa re ga ma’. I was in my world and playing around with the phrasing and adlibbed my way to the word ‘Magaresa’. Doug turned to me and said, “That’s beautiful … who is she … Magaresa?” I knew then this is what the song is about — a lover called Magaresa, which put the whole song in clear perspective.
You are due to release an EP. Can tells us more about the songs on the EP and the lyrical theme behind it?
There are five love songs on the Love in F# EP. They follow a modern production style and shape. Four of them were produced in Sweden. Two are with Doug, including Magaresa (Runaway) and two with another amazing Swedish producer, Tony Malm. The idea with this EP is to dive into love as the hypnotic, celebratory, and sensational emotion that it is.
What other projects are you working on?
The Druv Kent band was fortunate to win the recent ‘Best Male Artist — Live’ award from Indian Independent Music Awards (IIMA). Touring is back and I am here in India for a gig. We are getting more queries from India and hopefully will visit India more often. I also have composed several Hindi songs, some of these may show up in Netflix and Amazon Prime shows, which are still in discussion. I am also putting the finishing bits together on recently-written somewhat poetic English songs. I will be off to the UK to record in June. I’m also working on various other collaborations in India, Nashville and the UK, which are always exciting.