19 Indie Artists Who Prove Indian Music Is Much More Than Just Bollywood

I used to be the sort of person who used to ONLY listen to foreign artists. Mostly because after I heard the 15th sh*tty remix of “Humma Humma”, I kind of gave up on modern music from India. But then, I slowly got introduced to the Indie scene here. Starting with artists like Nucleya and Divine. And there was no turning back after that (I mean, I still listen to Taylor Swift, but anyway).


Parekh & Singh

This dream pop-duo from Kolkata has become my go-to for music that’ll make a bad day better. Their lyrics are beautiful and their melodies will leave you smiling.

You can follow them on YouTube, Instagram, and Soundcloud.

The F16s

This Chennai based alternative band has performed at every major music festival in India and has an ever growing fan-base for a reason. Their music is lyrically led, and their debut full-length album Triggerpunkte is polished, yet relatable as the band grapples with the mundanity of life. Something every 20-something will find themselves struggling with at some point.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Rhythm Shaw

This dude honestly makes me feel like a terribly underachieving 22-year-old, who spent her life doing…nothing. Declared child prodigy at the age of 8, he apparently practices 14 hours a day. While he specialises in the electric and acoustic guitar, he also plays the tabla and has performed with legends like A. R. Rehman. Honestly guys, if you EVER get a chance to watch him perform live, I suggest you don’t take your eyes off the stage even for a minute.

You can follow Rhythm on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

When Chai Met Toast

A band from “the land of coconuts” (Kerala, in case you didn’t know), When Chai Met Toast basically makes the sort of music you want to wake up to. If I had to describe their music in one word…it’d be “happy”. Instrumentally, their music is very western, like a cross between Mumford and Sons and John Mayer. Vocally however, their music is distinctly Indian.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Maati Baani

A duo formed by Nirali Kartik and Kartik Shah, Maati Baani makes melodies inspired by Hindustani Classical music. However, they also constantly innovate and collaborate with artists from around the world to add a certain freshness to their music.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Malfnktion

Aditya Alamuru aka, Malfnktion makes music that’s impossible not to awkwardly dance to (or at the very least, shake your head to). A Mumbai-based electronic artist, Malfnktion manages to combine modern, electronic beats with music that’ll resonate with anyone who has ever heard Hindi music. His tracks will add value to ANY playlist.

You can follow him on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Aditi Ramesh

The first thing I thought when I heard Aditi’s music was, “THAT VOICE IS SO BEAUTIFUL, HOW HAVE I NOT HEARD THIS EARLIER?!”. See, Aditi just isn’t another “hopeful” with a good voice. This former corporate lawyer writes music that merges pop, jazz and Carnatic music as if the 3 were made for each other.

You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook , and Soundcloud.

Parvaaz

These guys opened for alt-j. Let that sink in.

This 4-member, Bangalore based band infuses classical Rock with Indian vocals – specifically, Urdu, Hindi and a bit of Kashmiri. Their inspirations include Led Zeppelin and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – a combination I didn’t think would make sense until I saw them perform. Honestly? Most of the people in my workplace are OBSESSED with them, and for good reason.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Mohini Dey

A short clip taken at the time at the time of my Masterclass @rainbowbridgeindia

A post shared by Mohini Dey (@dey_bass) on

This 21-year-old bassist has been making music since she was…wait for it…3 years old! She’s part of A.R. Rehman’s band and has done over 30 shows with the Oscar winner, while also performing with the likes of Steve Vai and Zakir Hussain. While she’s not a vocalist, Mohini is proof that music will speak to you, with or without words.

P.S: I challenge you to get through a performance/video of her without your mouth falling open.

You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Ape Echoes

So I once chose to attend an Ed Sheeran concert over one of their gigs, and these guys are good enough to make a pretty devoted Ed Sheeran fan almost regret that decision. Founded by producers and multi-instrumentalists Nirmit Shah and Sid Shirodkar, this Mumbai-based band doesn’t really have a particular genre of music. I mean, their music sounds like a combination of jazz, hip hop and electronic, but you can’t really be sure. And honestly, that’s the beauty of it.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud and Facebook.

The Local Train

Touted as one of India’s best rock bands, The Local Train is known for their explosive live performances and edgy music. Their lyrics are a combination of Hindi and Urdu. While they’ve achieved massive commercial success, they’re proof that art doesn’t have to trade its essence for popularity.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Short Round

The stage name for Mumbai-based singer/songwriter Jishnu Guha, Short Round creates heartfelt folk-rock music. His debut EP With Friends Like These has the kind of music that’ll leave you feeling just a little bit lighter, and a whole lot happier. It’s impossible to be a cynic when music like this is around.

You can follow him on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Raghav Meattle

A semi-finalist in Season 1 of The Stage, Raghav is relatively new and already making his mark. He describes his music as “simple and catchy”, but really, if you love Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz, or George Ezra, then I have a feeling you’ll love Raghav’s work.

You can follow him on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Madboy/Mink

Madboy (Imaad Shah) and Mink (Saba Azad) form the duo Madboy/Mink. They describe their music as a “Funk-Nu Disco” duo that mashes up “Dirty Electro and Funk with old school Harlem swing” – essentially, their music is about as unique as it comes. Plus, their live performances are lit.

You can follow them on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Komorebi

A project by artist Tarana Marwah, Komorebi puts together eccentric beats that’ll puzzle you at first before taking you in completely. Influenced heavily by Japanese Anime and Anime OSTs, Komorebi’s music is, as cheesy as this sounds, a journey.

You can follow her on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

Dhruv Visvanath

This Mumbai-based musician shines with acoustic music but seems to be constantly pushing his boundaries. Having started off on the piano, Dhruv was the only Indian artist to be featured on Acoustic Guitar Magazine USA’s “30 Great Guitarists Under 30” list. Honestly, his music will melt your heart and impress you at the same time.

You can follow him on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Mali

Originally from Chennai, Mali (Maalavika Manoj) writes songs with powerful lyrics, accompanied with a voice that’ll haunt you. Her music is raw, honest, and emotional – a rarity in a world that consumes songs like Despacito by the dozen.

You can follow her on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, Facebook

Kavya Trehan

Kavya Trehan is basically everyone’s super-talented crush. Lead singer of Mosko, an electronic Rock group from Delhi, their influences are everything from Manga, to chai, to…sanitiser, apparently. Kavya herself has made music with the likes of Nucleya and takes anyone’s breath away with her vocals.

You can follow Kavya on Instagram and Facebook.

You can follow MOSKO on Instagram and Facebook.

Prateek Kuhad

I know I’m not supposed to have favourites here, but oh well. DO YOU REALLY BLAME ME? Prateek Kuhad’s deceivingly simple, heartfelt music will speak your soul and and turn you into a fuzzy ball of feels. His lyrics, whether Hindi or English are beautifully honest and will melt even the coldest of hearts.

You can follow him on Youtube, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.