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Constructing Melodies: Frizzell D'Souza

Hailing from the heart of Bengaluru, Frizzell D’Souza is a singer-songwriter who not only loves making music but is also an architect. Charming, articulate, and self-aware are the words one could say after interacting with this young talent. We, the team of The Skadoosh, had the pleasure of getting to know her a little more, in this interview.

What/who inspired you to make music in the first place? My upbringing has always involved music in one way or the other. I went to a catholic school where my daily routine always included music. I sang in choirs, played for school orchestras, and took childish pride in winning group singing competitions. My inclinations toward music have taken profound influence from my father, who was in the Navy in the 80s and would bring with him CDs and cassettes of international pop music from all over the world – a collection he, and now I, hold very dear. Moving to Bangalore for college further strengthened my interest in music, since it was my cherished escape route from the mundane tasks of everyday life.

In an interview, you said that there were responses like ‘The entire EP sounded like a story of my life.’ How does storytelling work in music for you? What is your process? I believe storytelling in music is one of the most beautiful ways to make connections that transcend constructs and boundaries. Through my EP, I hoped to craft narratives that were both deeply personal and universally relatable, to allow a deeper connection with emotions that may be difficult to confront or understand. A prime example of this is “Just As Easily,” a song that speaks to the shared experience of grappling with the realities of unrequited love, a theme that resonates with many individuals.

From Architecture to Music, you have traveled a lot. What do you consider to be your true calling and why? As a result of my upbringing in an environment that emphasized pursuing multiple interests, I developed into a multifaceted individual with a passion for both art and music. These interests proved to be mutually reinforcing, as I have discovered that the lessons learned in one domain often seeped into my understanding of the other. My college education instilled in me a commitment to consistency, while my exploration of design has illuminated the power of storytelling. I hope to continue to draw connections between these seemingly disparate spheres because perhaps the idea of a true calling has not settled in me yet!

What is more difficult to do for you? Writing the music or composing it? As a songwriter, I have found that the process of crafting lyrics has consistently been more intuitive for me compared to composing melodies perhaps owing to my love for the art of storytelling. Writing lyrics has become a natural outlet for me to channel my thoughts, emotions, and experiences, allowing me to effectively convey my message through my music. Writing good melodies often comes with the intent of complementing the stories and emotions told in the lyrics. I love delving into the intricacies of melodic structures that have a lasting impact due to their simplicity and catchiness. I like drawing inspiration from renowned artists such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Ed Sheeran, who have masterfully demonstrated the art of creating melodic hooks that are both memorable and emotionally resonant.

What is your personal favorite track of yours and why? The track that is probably the closest to my heart is ‘Maybe Tomorrow’. It speaks of finding hope at the darkest and lowest points in your life. I had almost journaled the lyrics of the entire song down as an outpour of emotion rather than intending to write a song in the first place.

The song details the deeply personal struggles of having to put on a facade to function normally in society. ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ was sonically crafted in a way where the rather dark lyricism is layered beneath a foot-tapping groove, drawing parallels with a tendency to pull up a facade to mask our emotions.

Why title your EP - The Hills Know Of You? My EP, ‘The Hills Know Of You’, is a piece of music surrounding the idea of a typical story of love - one that grips you, overwhelms you, terrifies you, and even annihilates you. The EP is an ode to the thousand ways this simple tale can manifest.

But the ultimate recurring theme is the internal relationship you have with yourself - the way you love and are loved, the way you pick yourself up out of a broken space and learn to love yourself again. The title track, ‘The Hills Know Of You’, is a song about heartbreaks that shake you and places we find solace from them in.

What is a message that you’d like to give to emerging musicians? To all emerging musicians, I hope you find the courage and confidence to let your unique voice shine through. In a world that often prioritizes imitation, it can be challenging to stay true to yourself. But I believe that consistency, authenticity, and unapologetic originality are what sets apart great musicians from the rest. If you feel discouraged by the noise around you, just remember that every great journey begins with taking that first step against the herd.

If you had a chance to collaborate with a super singer, who would it be? As hypothetical as this may be, making music with Jacob Collier would give me the learnings and experience of a lifetime. I mean, can you imagine creating something with someone who has won four Grammy Awards and is known for his genre-defying sound? That would be a dream come true. But for now, I’ll just keep listening to his music, studying his work, and honing my own skills. You never know what the future holds, so I’m just going to keep doing me and who knows, maybe someday our paths will cross and we’ll make some magic!

What does music mean to you/what is music for you? As cliche as it is, music indeed speaks where all else fails. To me, music was an escape from the mundaneness of everyday troubles and reality. It is now a sacred part of my life that allows me to express myself in a way nothing else can.

What genre of music has you been drawn to the most? I find myself enjoying genres like pop, R&B/soul, and blues more frequently than anything else. Genres have also become a lot more fluidic in recent years and I think that opens avenues to more exciting and interesting intersections in styles in the future!

In an interview, you mentioned that you rely mostly on simple melodies and acoustic instrumentation. Why? I enjoy writing simple melodies and instrumentation perhaps owing to the kind of music I listened to growing up. It’s the kind I find the most solace in, and one that comes to me most naturally and intuitively when I write. The classic English hits that my parents played at home have undoubtedly shaped my own musical style, and I find solace in knowing that my compositions are true to who I am as a musician.

How do you market your music, any particular strategy you employ? Social media has emerged as a powerful tool, providing me with an expanded sphere of influence and an unparalleled platform to display my original music. In this digital age, I think it is imperative for all musicians to actively seek out the attention of the press and media outlets to extend the reach of their music. With the way the consumption of content is constantly evolving, it’s fairly necessary to adapt to change to market one’s music efficiently. Visual media is one such prime example of the kind of content that has the farthest and easiest reach.

What do you think about the music industry in India, is it sustainable for indie musicians? I believe the independent music industry in India is at an evolving stage and is offering opportunities for musicians but it can be challenging to sustain a living solely through music. It still faces challenges such as limited access to funding, limited exposure and distribution channels, and extremely limited revenue from streaming platforms.

Can musicians earn a living through music, what are your thoughts? Though a hard feat, I believe it is possible through passion and constant perseverance. You can pursue various careers in the music industry such as performing, composing, producing, teaching, and other related jobs. To each their own! However, success in the music industry can be competitive and challenging but is nevertheless not impossible.

Let’s talk plans, what are your goals for the next 5 years? Have you thought that far ahead? Any upcoming releases? My most recent release which came out on 27th January is a collaboration with the talented musician Tarang Joseph titled ‘Ecstasy’. It’s a beautifully ethereal track and I was honored to feature in it as a vocalist. I’m incredibly proud of the production, composition, and songwriting and I believe it’s one of his best works so far. As for the future, I have no solid plans and would love to go where the road takes me, both in design and the music industry. In the meantime, I’m looking to grow as a songwriter, and make music with musicians I love!

Frizzell D’Souza’s Instagram: Frizzell D'Souza (@frizzell.dsouza)

Listen to her tracks here: Frizzell D'souza on Spotify


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