Nagavalli
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Nagavalli

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo World Adult Contemporary

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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Exclusive Interview: Austin artist Nagavalli brings Eastern Soul to the West"

I'm always intrigued when I encounter an artist from halfway around the world who has managed to successfully assimilate and plant roots within the US. Being born and raised in India, Nagavalli did just that, eventually settling down in Austin, Texas. She not only brought her native heritage with her through her music, she created a whole new sub-genre that she calls "eastern soul." Nagavalli has also grown a US fanbase and gained a coveted spot among the Top 10 Female Vocalists and World Music artists at the 2015-16 Austin Music Awards. Her music is captivating and her skillful vocals bridge the Eastern stylings and the Western pop/soul sensibilities ever so subtlely. Nagavalli's new single, "Reach Out," is definitely worth a listen and will draw you back for repeats. Read on about this intriguing new artist and check out her single, "Reach Out," below!

Americana Lady:  How was the process of making your newest single, "Reach Out" different than when you were writing the songs on your first album four years ago?
Nagavalli:  “Reach Out” was a song that was very much "in the moment." I wrote and recorded it in quick succession, whereas with the first album, I recorded songs that I had written over a period of time. There is also more knowledge and confidence that comes with experience. I was more tuned into what I wanted to hear on the song, and was able to better convey that to my musicians. So I had lot more influence on the arrangement and overall production of the song.

AL:  How did your family and friends react when you told them you wanted to write songs and perform in a band? Was there any resistance being that your degrees are in Information Systems?
NV:  Ah yes. There was apprehension and worry that I was venturing into the unknown, far away from home. There was also some concern around the optics that came with being a woman in a band and with having all these male musicians around me. “These could hurt my prospects of getting married!” It was actually quite stressful at the time. Don’t get me wrong, my folks absolutely LOVE music. Several music lovers and singers in my extended family as well. But what did I do with this gift? I started a band! I know that my family loves me and is proud of my music. But it sure took them a bit to get comfortable with my chosen path. Sure took me a bit to find my own voice as well. There seems to be something beyond oneself that keeps one going. Music was no longer a choice for me to make.
Initial reactions from friends were varied. Some of my friends had little context or engagement with the live music scene, some were just not that into music, and then there were those that went out of their way to come and support me at my shows. I am grateful for my family, friends, fans, and music lovers… each and every one of them.

AL:  Has living in Austin made a difference in your music career?
NV:  Yes. Austin is where I wrote my first original song, played my first full solo show. I found people here who encouraged me, excellent musicians who played with me, artists and venues that offered me a platform, and listeners who appreciated my music and even voted for me to start showing up on local music polls. I am now eager to take my music further and share it with the rest of the world!

AL:  Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
NV:  I grew up learning Indian classical music from age seven. I also listened to and learned Indian semi-classical, spiritual and Bollywood music. Growing up, I had some limited exposure to Western pop/rock. I can’t think of individual artists who influenced my music, but I think my writing mostly comes from the same focus that Indian music generally has on melody. The vocal melody is primary and then I build the rest of the sound around it. I started writing original songs only after having spent a couple of adult-life years in Austin, so when it comes to the sheer idea of expressing oneself through songwriting, I must have learned from just watching other artists do their thing.

AL:  What do you think is the one thing that draws people to your music?
NV:  I think this is for a listener to answer really. It’s my hope that people find something authentic, honest in my music. I also hope that people enjoy the melodies I write!

AL:  After this new single release, what can your fans look forward to from you over the next few months?
NV:  I will be releasing a video for “Reach Out” this month. I am getting back into the studio soon to record another single. Also, in the upcoming months, I hope to finalize the mix on a full album of Indian spiritual / meditative music that I have been working on.
Please stay tuned to Nagavalli news and upcoming shows at http://nagavalli.com. - No Depression (by Americana Lady)


"EXCLUSIVE! ‘Reach Out’ by Nagavalli"

This week’s Monday track exclusive is the first ever video by Indian singer-songwriter Nagavalli, who is based in Austin, Texas
O
ur first exclusive this week comes from Nagavalli, an Indian artist now based in Austin, Texas. It’s the video for her new single Reach Out, which is Nagavalli’s first release since her debut album Eastern Soul, which came out in 2012. The single is available to buy now via iTunes and Bandcamp.
Nagavalli was born and raised in India, but moved to the US to do a master’s degree in Information Systems at Florida State University, after which she relocated to Austin to take up a job with a technology company. Once there, she got caught up in the local music scene and began writing and performing her own material, which led to the release of Eastern Soul, produced by award-winning local producer AJ Vallejo. ‘Eastern soul’ isn’t just the title of her album, it’s also how she describes her unique sound, which fuses western pop, soul and jazz with the melancholic lilt of Indian music.
Of the video itself, Nagavalli tells us: “The winter/holiday season, as joyous and fun as it can be for many, is also a time when loneliness can creep in, especially if one is away from family and friends, missing a loved one or going through some hardship. Reach Out is a reminder to do just that: to make space in our busy lives and reach out to our friends and loved ones, or to anyone in need really. The video is reflective of the mood of the song and shows the male protagonist lost in a maze and feeling desperate, and a friend comes reaching out to him. Loneliness can be dark and we tried not to shy away from reflecting this colour and mood in the video.” - http://www.songwritingmagazine.co.uk


"INTERVIEW: Nagavalli"

Hi Nagavalli, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thank you! I am doing well. It’s a pleasure to speak with and share my music with you and your audience.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Reach Out”?
Reach Out is a song that I wrote just this last December. Though the lyrics are all in English, you will hear Eastern overtones in the vocals and through the melody, like in most or all of my songs.
I think the winter / holiday season, as joyous and fun as it can be for many, is also a time when loneliness can creep in, especially if one is away from family and friends, missing a loved one, or going through some hardship. “Reach Out” is a reminder to do just that… to make space in our busy lives and reach out to our friends and loved ones or to anyone in need, really.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Well, being away from family back in India and also, living by myself, I have experienced moments of loneliness sometimes over a holiday season or otherwise. But this last December, when it was getting close to a year since I lost my father, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the sadness of it all and I really needed someone to be there for me through it. It is around this time that I wrote Reach Out. I guess I also felt like I should sing this out for anyone who had experienced or might be experiencing anything like what I was at the time. To reassure that one is not alone in what they are experiencing, that there is a friend who understands what one is going through and would be there to support them.
Any plans to release a video to go along with the single?
Yes! It’s being edited as we speak and I hope to release it in April!
The single comes off your new series of tracks – what draw you to do a series instead of an album or EP?
I released a full-length debut album, titled Eastern Soul, back in 2012. When I was writing “Reach Out”, I didn’t have a definite plan to release a series of singles really. But as I was working on this song in the studio, I enjoyed the experience and the process of recording and releasing a song as it comes, in the moment. I think the current media/formats available to release music make this approach quite feasible as well.
How was the recording and writing process?
The lyrics came quickly and in the few days that my co-producer, AJ Vallejo, took to return my call, I was on melody # 3 for the song, which is what I ended up recording! J I was grateful that he took his time to text me back.
With some experience now, I have a fair sense of how I want a song to sound when I walk into the studio, while still keeping my mind open to new arrangement ideas. I sang some Eastern scales to the musicians and both guitarist, Matthew Read and violinist, Haydn Vitera weaved some beautiful music around that, including the soulful guitar solo that Matt played. I am also a fan of vocal improv, so I tend to use that in my music fairly often. I feel that sometimes, such vocalizations can convey so much emotion even without any words. And AJ and I definitely leaned towards keeping the overall arrangement simple and soulful. AJ, as a producer, surely gets my pulse. I am happy, almost child-like, when something clicks in the studio!
How has India and your new home, Austin, music scene and culture have influence your music and do you try to blend both cultures and sound together?
Surely. I grew up learning Indian classical music from age 7 and also, was a fan of other genres including semi-classical and devotional music as well as Bollywood; I had some limited exposure to western pop/rock. The live music scene in Austin, the idea of playing in a club or even a coffee shop or a listening room was fairly foreign to me. In my earlier years in Austin, I would sit in, on occasion, with the talented world music artist, Oliver Rajamani. As time went by, I was yearning to do more, and even feeling restless about it. I never knew, prior to having spent a couple of adult-life years in Austin, that I was actually capable of writing an original song. I started playing some of my tunes to the wonderful Jazz vocalist and teacher, Suzi Stern and she played a role in encouraging me to put my music out. I figured that staying authentic and true to my musical and life experiences was important. I decided to stick to my own style of writing and singing and eventually called my sound ‘Eastern Soul’. The music and band has mostly western instrumentation – guitars, bass, drums, and sometimes, I have congas and a DJ on the set too. I also work with some Indian instrumentation such as Sitar, Tabla, Kanjira (percussion) on a couple of songs. Fusion is tricky. I let the music flow naturally, and not force anything solely with the end goal of creating a fusion sound. I want the sound to be seamless and it is my humble hope that I am able to do a decent job at that.
Any plans to hit the road?
I am just getting back from a brief hiatus from playing live, and will start with some local shows in Austin this April. I will be working to schedule shows outside of Austin in summer and fall of 2016. My schedule will be up on my website – http://nagavalli.com , please stay tuned.
What else is happening next in Nagavalli’s world?
I will be in the studio next week to start laying down tracks for a new song. Also, perhaps, some further work on the spiritual music album mix. Other than that, I am super-excited that I will have the opportunity to see / hear Jane Goodall on Tuesday (4/5) here in Austin! - http://ventsmagazine.com (RJ Frometa)


"CD Review: Sound Waves"

"India native Naga Valli strikes a remarkable balance between East and West on this CD... when she leans on her Eastern influences, as in the jaunty version of "Damadam Most Qalandar," she really shines."
-Paul Carrubba, Austin Monthly, May 2012 - Paul Carrubba, Austin Monthly, May 2012


"Austin Music Minute"

http://kutx.org/song-of-the-day/naga-valli-damadam-mast-qalandar - KUTX


"CD Review: Naga Valli combines two worlds of music in "Eastern Soul""

She (Naga Valli) combines the roots of Indian/Middle Eastern classical music into today’s Latin/American pop music. Songs like “Clarity” and “Chaotic” have a unique spin on them combining American instrumentation with Middle Eastern rhythmic themes. The highlight of the album is the emotional “If I Don’t Sing” which finds Naga pouring her heart into this performance... - J Pasinski, Apr, 2012 - J Pasinski, Record Journal, April 2012 (JP's music blog)


Discography

  • New (full-length) album: January 20, 2019
  • Madana Mohana Murari (single): August 7, 2018
  • Om Shiva (single): 2018
  • That Song About the Midway (single, Joni Mitchell cover): 2017
  • How I Love You (single): 2016
  • Reach Out (single): 2016
  • Eastern Soul (debut album): 2012
  • A Bollywood-Inspired Twelfth Night - An Austin Shakespeare Company production at Zilker Park (music composed and performed by Nagavalli): 2012

FEATURED/GUEST VOCALIST ON FOLLOWING ALBUMS:

  • Flamenco India - Oliver Rajamani (2018)
  • Hey Funky You - Ginger Leigh (2018)
  • Everything Is Music - Atash (2014)
  • Moving Mountains - Barra and Govinda (2012)
  • Candiland - Candi Sanders (2012)
  • Live Trance Journey - Anita Jung (2011)
  • The River Between - Anita Jung (2009)
  • Shimmering - Sangeet Millenium (2007)
  • Forty days - Oliver Rajamani (2007)
  • Sabas - Oliver Rajamani (2005)
  • Worlds Within - Govinda (2004)
  • Echoes of Eden - Govinda (2002)

Photos

Bio

Ranked amongst the Top 10 Female Vocals and World Music artists at the 2015-16 Austin Music Awards, Nagavalli’s music is described as “East-Indian Soul with delicate touches of Pop, Rock, Trance and pure Eastern tradition”. The power and emotion in Valli’s voice, combined with the effortlessness with which she blends Eastern overtones with Western melodies make Valli’s music refreshingly unique and yet, familiar at the same time.

Nagavalli grew up in Mumbai, India, speaks her native language of Telugu at home and is well-versed in Hindi and English. She moved to Austin, Texas after finishing graduate school in Florida. 

Nagavalli’s music has brought together artists from a multitude of genres ranging from Latin and American rock and jazz musicians to East-Indian and Middle-Eastern classical and folk musicians in the studio and in her live performances. Her debut album titled “Eastern Soul” was released at the historic Cactus Cafe (Austin, TX) in 2012. The album features several Austin greats such as Mitch Watkins, Pat Mastelotto, Oliver Rajamani, Roberto Riggio, Richard Bowden, AJ and Omar Vallejo amongst others.

Nagavalli is also well-known for her rendition of Indian meditative & spiritual music. Nagavalli has recorded with several artists and bands in Austin including Oliver Rajamani, Atash, Govinda and Ginger Leigh and, has performed at prestigious venues such as the Cactus Cafe and One World Theatre. Valli also performs regularly as a featured vocalist with the Jazz/World music band ‘A Is Red’ in Austin. Valli has lent her voice to guided-visualization CDs created by hypnotherapist, Anita Jung, and collaborated with Austin's hall-of-fame Indian classical dancer, Anuradha Naimpally. Nagavalli was a featured artist at Austin's premium world-music festival, WOBEONFEST, in 2015 and has toured with Gypsy Sound Revolution (Gypsy Kings alumni).

In 2012, Nagavalli composed the music for a Bollywood-inspired Shakespeare’s 'Twelfth Night' play performed by the Austin Shakespeare Company.

Nagavalli continues her musical journey with the release of several singles in the Eastern Soul as well as the Indian spiritual/Bhakti music genres. Nagavalli is scheduled to release an album of East Indian spiritual music in January 2019 at the One World Theatre in Austin. Enjoy both musical sides of Nagavalli as they continue to blossom in this unique artist! 

Band Members