Mumbai singer-songwriter Utsavi Jha openly admits that it took her a while to give music a chance. Although she’d been singing in school, trained in Gujarati folk music and Western vocals as well as performed on stage as a backing vocalist in a band, she says, “I feel a little left behind.” Jha adds, “But I have truly come to believe that things happen at the right time and that we all have our own journeys.” That journey for the artist is just kicking off as she’s recently released her debut dream pop single “Amsterdam / Thousand Miles.”
The musician’s first-ever release is a tribute to traveling which has been a mind-altering experience that’s shaped her as a person. From participating in a month-long French cultural immersion program in 2017, Jha has visited Spain where she taught English and trotted to Poland to watch British rockers Arctic Monkeys live and even backpacked to Cambodia last year. “I couldn’t travel this year. Celebrating my birthday at home unlike the other years when I was traveling, I felt nostalgic,” says Jha. She adds, “As I deep-dived more into songwriting, I realized that my experiences are stories that I shouldn’t keep in me.”
“Amsterdam / Thousand Miles” is an airy tune in which Jha’s emotional voice is the star. There’s a lot of layers that capture the essence of the song well such as quaint guitar strums, a dramatic drum groove as well as intricate percussion elements. The track undergoes a melodic shift as it closes out. She says, “It’s because I like ending songs with a surprise and a good outro does that well.”
Jha connected with Mumbai producer Karan Parikh – whom she worked on the song with – over guitarist Ehsaan Noorani’s Instagram live sessions. They managed to work remotely due to the lockdown after which they sent the track to Karan Jhaveri at Rawr Studio to master it. “It was a crazy ride but he [Parikh] was very supportive and patient, and I’m grateful for him,” says Jha.
“Amsterdam / Thousand Miles” is also part of an upcoming three-track EP called Crowded & Comfortable, due to be released next year. The title track is about how traveling is not always as glamorous as it seems while “Locked-Unlocked” captures the essence of catching unrequited feelings with people, places and things. Jha says, “I’ve had many different experiences and felt a lot of different feelings while traveling that I didn’t want to roll into one generic song.” She adds, “That’s why I thought maybe creating a group of songs about different things to look back at many years from now would be a good way to capture what was important to me at this age and what I was feeling.”
Stream “Amsterdam / Thousand Miles” on Spotify below and on other platforms.