Kerala-based Pina Colada Blues aka Kevin Shaji has released his new single, ‘Kyun?’ under, Sony Music India’s label, Day One that is dedicated to Indian independent music. Pina Colada Blues makes music that’s a heady blend of trap, hi-hop, Carnatic classical music along with Western influences. The producer’s first song in Hindi is part of Sony’s efforts to promote diversity in the Indian music space. The label, Day One, was launched earlier this year in September to solely focus on burgeoning South Asian talent. To that effect, Pina Colada Blues was signed on along with singer-songwriters Tanmaya Bhatnagar and Kashyap.
“A majority of Pina Colada Blues’ previous work is in Malayalam and when we first came across his music, despite not being able to understand the language, we were very captivated by the unique blend of melodies that each of his songs have,” says Manisha Singh, Senior manager, Marketing and Promotions, Day One who emphasises that Pina Colada Blues’ music is an experience in itself and his vision is very similar to Day One’s vision. “His compositions are highly emotive, in a way that one could understand the emotions and stories being communicated, despite of the language barrier.”
Relying on the sax to convey majority of its emotional hook, ‘Kyun?’ is a ballad that transcends relationships capturing the inexplicable in-between moments before a loved one drifts further apart. “The song blends various genres seamlessly,” says Pina Colada Blues. “The idea just came to me one fine day in a phase where I was feeling alone and missing a lot of people.” Once Shaji had the idea and structure done, Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Ritendra Dirghangi came on board for the lyrics and finally, Mridul Anil from Kochi to feature on the vocals.
The idea was to combine the sounds of both East and West with instruments like sarangi, flute, sax and violin. The multi-faceted producer continues, “My idea was to blend some styles which would sound really soothing but at the same time I wanted some emotion and power in the drops, which led to me combining big band, electronic and acoustic pop to get to what ‘Kyun?’ is right now.” He also admits, that he’s not bound by language or style of music. “It will probably depend on what resonates with me at that point of time,” he smiles.
Now and then
Pina Colada Blues came into the spotlight in March 2020 after the release of his first song, the Malayalam ‘Thennale‘, a cocktail of various genres. A year later, the formally trained electrical engineer released his electronic EP, Once Upon A Blue Moon’ featuring eight tracks in Malayalam and one track in Tamil, collaborating with names like Blesslee and MC Monk. His name is an allusion to his love for genre-breaking music, a hodgepodge of whatever suits his fancy. After ‘Kyun?’, Pina Colada Blues is taking a break before diving into his next music for Day One.
As is evident since the lockdown, Indians have turned music consumption patterns on their head, embracing styles, languages and sounds like never before. According to Day One’s Singh, people are more open-minded than ever. She reiterates the label’s objective is to put out fresh and relatable music, “We are a genre and language agnostic label you can expect a wide variety of music from us in the near future,” says Singh.
Listen to ‘Kyun?‘ here