Bengaluru singer-songwriter Mahesh Raghunandan spent about half his life in the verdant suburb of Yelahanka. Not too far off from home was his perfect escape, Avalahalli Forest. He says, “I took long walks and cycled for hours. I was used to that kind of Bangalore.”
Before he shipped out to another part of town, Mahesh decided to take his guitar and a mic to Avalahalli Forest – which he translated to “her village” from Kannada for the video’s title – and captured his latest single “Realize.” With filmmakers Vishnujith Varma and Sabareesh Arumugam behind the camera, Mahesh sings for the forest as he introspects on a past relationship in his enchanting croon and old-world vocal melodies.
The song, which was written in 2017, was also attached to his memories in that part of town. “It captures what I’ve learned and what I’ve lost. Which is very important to bring together with the one constant that’s always been around, which is the forest – all the lessons, the company the place has got me,” Mahesh says.
Recorded live within a short window of about 25 minutes at the end of last year, “Realize” marks the beginning of Mahesh’s upcoming EP Change. As an artist whose primary source of income was from gigs, he turned his focus to vocal coaching during the pandemic, which slowed things down on the release front, but it doesn’t bother the singer-songwriter too much. “This has taken time, because things are generally slow during these times. I’m figuring all things out. It’s time well spent, as far as I think,” Mahesh adds. His current year of releases – coming out on Red Circle 7 Records – will be the outcome of an artist grant he
received from foundations like Music For Good and The Bombay Jazz Club.
Additionally, Mahesh will revisit previously released material as well. In a way, it lets him defy music industry norms which all focus on release cycles. The singer-songwriter adds, “When you release the song, only a small percentage of your audience who see it. There’s no reason why a person can’t discover it two years ago, and they resonate with it just because of something they experienced a day ago […] I don’t want my music to have an expiration date.”