Belgian-born artist Kanika delves into her musical inspirations, which are steeped in a combination of Western commercial and Indian folk traditions. These dual influences manifest naturally, owing to her European upbringing amidst a family grounded in Indian culture.
With her latest single “Lucky,” Kanika embraces her affinity for moody, slow synth vibes, marking a return to her roots and an embrace of her intrinsic musical inclinations. In our interview, the artist discusses the enriching collaboration with Anurvi Mehra, illuminating the nuanced process of articulating romantic and sensual themes in Hindi.
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“Lucky” serves as a window into Kanika’s journey of self-acceptance, embodying her resolve to transcend societal and cultural constraints to authentically express her artistic vision. As a reflection on love, the song emphasizes the organic, unhurried unfolding of attraction, presenting a counter-narrative to the instant gratification pervasive in the digital age.
With sustainability at the core of her ethos, Kanika reveals her anticipation for upcoming releases characterized by unbridled vulnerability and authenticity.
Being a Belgian-born artist and singing in both Hindi and English in “Lucky,” how do these diverse linguistic and cultural influences shape your music and lyrical storytelling?
It comes pretty naturally to me because it’s simply what I’ve been exposed to growing up. At school and with my friends, I’d listen to top 40 commercial music, and even electronic music. At home, my family was always listening to Indian folk or Bollywood music.
Lyrically, and quite often melodically too, I’m strongly influenced by my Indian roots. I feel these are the little sweeteners that really make my sound what it is. There’s also so much to express and share when it comes to my experience as an Indian girl growing up in Europe. With time, I’ve started to be more vulnerable with my writing, and explored sides of me that I hesitated to do before.
I love to support the Indian influences with a more western production. I’m quite an avid traveler, so I find myself exposed to a variety of cultures and sounds; I’m just constantly soaking it all in like a sponge, and always excited to see what something from a different genre may sound like paired with an Indian flute or string instrument, for example.
Your latest single marks a departure from your typical style, leaning more towards moody, slow synth vibes. What inspired this transformation, and how has it allowed you to explore new depths in your musical expression?
Funnily enough, this song is my go-to style for the type of music I really like to make. If you hear the first couple of songs that I’ve released, they have very similar vibes to “Lucky.” I kind of departed from this style, because I wanted to experiment more. I was exploring what my sound is, and I’m still very much on that journey.
On the day that I produced “Lucky,” I just had this realization that I’ve been trying to make all these upbeat songs, but my heart really lies in making slow, moody music like this. And “Lucky” just flowed out so naturally.
This experience as a whole really helped me grow as an artist, because I learned that I should just listen to what my heart really wants to make, rather than think about what I should be making.
Can you delve into your creative process working with Anurvi Mehra on the lyrics of “Lucky”? How did this collaboration enhance the song’s narrative of romantic yearning and playful sensuality?
Anurvi is someone I randomly found on YouTube during the pandemic, and we’ve written several songs together. “Lucky” actually took the longest time to write. We’re both located in different parts of the world. We had multiple sessions.
I’m not as strong in songwriting in Hindi as I am in English. So I’m constantly trying to take the ideas that are in my mind and looking for the best way to express them in Hindi. Anurvi plays a really important role here.
With “Lucky,” the challenging part was to allow ourselves to really go there with the sensuality in a playful way. It was a beautiful experience of us exploring something new together and working really hard to make every single word count.
How does the new single express your views on love and relationships, especially in the context of modern dynamics influenced by changing times?
This is a great question. This song talks about the slow, minor movements in your body language, like how your eyes connect when you see someone across the room. In this song, I’m describing everything in slow motion and really zooming into what that feeling is like.
In my opinion, special things take time. A relationship takes effort and isn’t something that can be rushed. We live in a digital world with instant gratification, and dating apps have only fed into that culture. While it may have worked for some, it’s definitely not for me. The slow pace of the story in “Lucky” focuses on that in-person connection, and organically building feelings of attraction.
Would you consider “Lucky” to be a reflection of your journey towards self-acceptance? Can you share more about the challenges you’ve faced, stemming from your cultural background, and how they have shaped your music?
Yes, I definitely think that “Lucky” is indirectly a reflection of my journey towards self-acceptance. I’ve always had these limitations in my mind which made me wonder, what will other people think, or what will my community say? For a really long time, these questions guided my actions and my decisions.
This song for me marks the beginning of me accepting that if I want to make a love song that’s about flirting with someone from across the room, I will.
The act of releasing this song in itself is a big step for me personally, to accept that this is who I am as an artist and this is what I want to express. It’s exciting, because I’m finally allowing myself to take whatever creative decision I want, based on what I want to do, and not limiting myself with beliefs that pop up due to my cultural background.
As the founder of MusicRecycle, how do you intertwine the principles of sustainability within your music creation process, and what impact do you hope to make in the industry?
I like to view it as daily habits rather than just within my music creation process. Things like, having my own water bottle with me wherever I go. I keep all my notes and lyrics digital. Unplugging devices that aren’t in use. If I can make lifestyle choices that are more friendly to the planet, these habits automatically intertwine with the music creation process.
That’s exactly what I hope for the industry, for people to be more mindful about the choices that are in their control, and for them to at least make more informed decisions.
Fans are eager to know what’s next. Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or musical evolutions we can anticipate in your future releases?
Yes, absolutely. I am super excited for my next couple of releases. The next single is arriving next month. This one is probably the most vulnerable song that I’ve ever written. It’s about how someone close to you holds so much power over you that it leads you to be filled with self-doubt.
I’ve also got plenty of new music for the new year. The evolution that you can anticipate in future releases is just me being authentically 100% me, whether that’s through my lyrics or through just having fun with my music and enjoying the process. This is who I am in my personal life and I want to share and spread that energy with anyone who is willing to receive it.
Watch the official visual below:
Listen to “Lucky” here: