Meet Arvind Kywalya, a young talent whose journey began from Chennai to the UK. Arvind shot to fame with his covers of English, Hindi, and Tamil songs through Tik Tok and then on Instagram. Brought up in the Middle East since he was two, he surely hasn’t forgotten his roots. Presently studying business accounting and finance, fourth year, at a university in the UK, he indulges in music which has gained him much attention.
The beginning of it all
Arvind informed that when he was younger, his mother put him into Carnatic music lessons. “At the start I hated it but I gradually learnt to love music by exploring different styles from Indian spiritual bhajans to mainstream pop, hip hop etc,” he said. The ability to create the slightest positive impact on someone through his music has always been Arvind’s biggest motivation and inspiration to create more. Although he asserted that he wouldn’t say there was any specific start to his music career, he has always been doing it on the side. “It just sort of took off gradually. Music has always been a massive part of my life,” Arvind mentioned.
Arvind also plays a bunch of different instruments; the piano and guitar the most. He can also play a bit of Ukulele, Harmonium and Tabla. “I learnt all the instruments by just messing around and haven’t had any formal training. I mostly just use them to enhance my vocals and therefore wouldn’t call myself a skilled instrumentalist,” he candidly added. Apart from his focus on music, Arvind is a very keen cricket fan, who played competitively in school but hasn’t since.
Arijit Singh, Sid Sriram and Justin Bieber are just a few artists among the many Arvind looks up to. However, he maintained that A R Rahman is someone that he has always admired from a very young age. “It blows my mind how he has stayed relevant and on top of the industry for as long as he has. It would be a dream to work with him and pick his brain to learn as much as I can,” he contended.
Music: The highs and lows
Arvind has over 96.9K followers on Instagram. Speaking on the role of social media in recognising his talent, he said, “blowing up as a musician and influencer on social media presents a lot of opportunities but has its own set of difficulties. At the start I was very unsure of how I was meant to deal with the magnitude of attention that I was getting on the regular.” The musician disclosed that social media has played an enormous role in shaping his career. Arvind held that the kind of recognition it provides young and upcoming creators with is unbelievable and something that has no alternative. Nonetheless, social media is also a place where anyone could throw hate at anybody and remain unidentified. Such ‘haters,’ Arvind affirmed, often made him feel quite insecure which led to making music very difficult for him, since he was constantly worried about others’ opinions. “Gradually I’ve grown to be content with myself. I feel like this is something that all social media creators will experience and learn,” he said.
Arvind was always exposed to Indian music and culture, which has significantly influenced the style of his singing. “I’ve always been conscious to never let any barriers restrict my creativity. This is why my long term goal is to make music that transcends cultural and language barriers and brings different worlds together,” he asserted. Residing in another country and expecting different nationalities to respond to home music or language or gaining an audience doesn’t feel like much of a problem now, to Arvind. “I feel like a lot of my friends even here in the UK are slowly starting to connect with and enjoy the Indian music that I put out which is essentially the dream,” he added.
Arvind is yet to release his single named ‘Kubool hai na.’ He revealed that it’s currently in the works. “Hopefully it will be out in the next month or so,” he said. While financial aspects of pursuing arts are still considered a major issue in society, Arvind held that in the current age, music definitely is a financially viable career option. Nevertheless, it still does involve a lot of uncertainty and lack of stability. “This is something I hope to learn over my journey as a musician,” he added.
The Indian music industry and other factors
In conversation about the music industry in India and thoughts of getting into the field, Arvind frankly disclosed that he hasn’t dwelled on the idea. As of now, his goal is to make music that has a unique sound and create an identity of his own. “I would like to release songs independently, similar to the music industries outside India as I feel that Indian Independent music is an avenue that hasn’t really been explored before,” he affirmed.
Arvind believes that the environment or the place where one resides affects the creation of music and its practise. According to him, music is all about emotion, including emotions we feel that are based on our environment and surroundings. “For example, the rain usually puts me in a dull mood and makes me think about the past and that inspires a lot of the sad songs I write,” he explained.
Failures are nothing more than stepping stones to success. Arvind mentioned that he has told himself to stay neutral through any kind of success or failure. “Constantly reminding myself of that has helped me cope with hate. I also believe that failures are very important. It gives you an opportunity to learn and improve. At the end of the day we can only pick ourselves up when we fall,” he expressed. Arvind also provided some words of wisdom to aspiring music artists, suggesting that one should always remember why he or she started doing music in the first place. For many, the purpose of indulging in music is their passion to create and express themselves. Arvind stated that it’s rather easy to lose oneself within the pressures of social media and divert from the initial purpose to chase fame and clout. “These things feel good but are very transient. Reminding yourself of why you started will help you block any sort of external noise and is the only thing that will give you true happiness,” he advised.
Speaking on his upcoming endeavours, Arvind candidly informed that he is not too sure about his future. “I’m always the kind of person that takes things as they come. I hope to continue making music for as long as I enjoy doing it and have the inspiration,” he signed off.