"I wanted the video to be something different, immersive, and pioneering."
Avanti Nagral is the Indian-American singing sensation who is the face of South Asia’s first virtual reality music video.
Her debut single, ‘I Like’, comes with a unique 360-degree music video, directed by the internationally renowned filmmaker, Blake Farber.
Farber, from New York, USA, previously worked with Beyonce for her ‘Countdown’ music video and major brands such as Nike.
After hearing ‘I Like’, Joshan says: “This is my first time listening to Avanti Nagral, but she has a truly amazing voice.”
Avanti Nagral speaks exclusively to DESIblitz about her debut single and making South Asia’s first virtual reality music video.
And this is what the talented, young artist from Boston and Bombay had to say.
How was your journey into music?
“My father plays the tabla, so I was constantly be surrounded by rhythm. I grew up doing a lot of devotional music and started playing piano at the age of 5.
“I spent the first 8 years of my life in Boston, before moving to Bombay [India], where I was introduced to my current Guru. Dr Prabha Atre is a living legend of Classical Indian music who took me on as her only child student. I was blessed to have a Guru who allowed me to experiment with my music.
“I gained experience in different styles – Broadway, Sufi, Gospel, Soul, Bollywood, Pop – and different languages. But Classical Indian music was my passion, as it allowed me to have creative flexibility in my music.
“Doing so much theatre, and Broadway shows, events, and concerts helped oil me out as a performer. My piano training was such a gift in understanding musicality, and helping me develop as a songwriter.”
What is the musical style of Avanti Nagral?
“I would describe my musical style as modern pop-soul, or rather, pop with soul. Much of my songwriting is youth and women-centric.
“I have experience across various genres, and I try to draw from each of them to create a modern sound. It is also important to me that people can identify with my music!
“Ultimately, I believe that music comes from inside you. As a musician, you have a voice, and are a storyteller.”
How did your virtual reality music video for ‘I Like’ come about?
You can listen to the official audio for Avanti Nagral – ‘I Like’ by watching this video:
But if you want a full 360-degree virtual reality experience to the ‘I Like’ music video, follow this link.
“I wanted the video to be something different, immersive, pioneering, and something that truly represented the message of the song.
“[‘I Like’] is about following your dreams, your passions, and being independent in your thoughts. Born out of stories about women empowerment, it portrays the individuality that is essential to empower women.
The VR music video was shot by Blake Farber, a talented filmmaker, who has worked with big brands and artists. [After speaking], we thought that creating a virtual reality video would be the best route to go.
“It’s new technology and would be the first-of-its-kind in South Asia, and among very few globally. And also, it would create a truly immersive experience and spearhead a new brand of i-pop – Indian pop.”
How different is it making a Virtual Reality video?
“It is so different! For one, the camera looks like a little robot, it captures 360 degrees, thus not hiding anything.
“A typical film or video has multiple takes, can be manipulated and has close-ups. With this camera, nothing is hidden. In fact, the director couldn’t even be in the room, as he would have been seen on-camera.
“After many failed attempts at communicating with me via walkie-talkie, Blake just left me alone to do my own thing. We didn’t have multiple takes because of the large nature of the footage, so all the playback scenes in the video are first takes!
“Because film editing software is only now starting to be afloat with this technology in the indie space, it was a very long process. I remember sitting for days editing the video – Blake was in New York and I was in Bombay at the time, and we’d sit and Skype screen-share for hours on end!”
Is there a market for such a video in India?
“I definitely hope so! But perhaps Blake says it best:
“India has a piece of everything, but one thing that’s missing is this modern technology that is trending internationally. It’s time for India to catch up and overtake everyone else! In India, people are really technologically advanced, so it’s time for this kind of technology to take off.”
“I definitely think it will catch on, and its use will be phenomenal. Can you imagine a 360 degree Bollywood sequence?”
How do you think virtual reality will change the music scene?
“So I recently met people who were “VR and Music Consultants”. If that doesn’t show you what the future is with the two, I don’t know what does!
“More importantly, though, through music, there can be greater access to this kind of technology to people who didn’t have access to it before! Not just music videos, but live performances, concert experiences, and much more can be enhanced with the VR experience.
“The cool thing about using it in music is that you already have music fans, who may have little to no interest in technology. But through this combination, [of virtual reality and music] there is the potential to bridge the two worlds.”
What’s next for Avanti Nagral?
“Keep performing, writing, and making more music and videos! After the release of ‘I Like’, I have a bunch of new material on the way which will eventually be made into an EP or album.
“I’m also looking to do some music and education-based projects while I keep learning every day.
“The next single will be out in October 2017! As an artist and human being, it is important to keep evolving and growing, and I know this is just the start to what I hope will be a wonderful journey!”
Finding out more about Avanti Nagral
Avanti Nagral is making quite a name for herself since wowing crowds at the 2016 Worli Festival in Mumbai, India.
The event celebrates the location, diversity, and cultural heritage of India’s largest city. A powerful Avanti Nagral rendition of Adele’s global hit, ‘Hello’, first announced her to a global audience.
You can see the incredible performance of Avanti Nagral at the 2016 Worli Festival by following this link.
Make sure you don’t miss out on seeing her 360-degree virtual reality music video to ‘I Like’.
You can also keep up to date with Avanti Nagral by finding her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or you can visit her very own website by clicking here. With a hot, new single dropping soon, these are certainly some exciting times for Avanti Nagral and her team.
Alternatively, if you want to find out more about virtual reality technology, here are some of the best virtual reality headsets that you can buy. Or you can find out what EGX 2017 told us about new virtual reality developments.