At only 20 years of age, the singer, songwriter and award-winning jazz musician known as ADVIKA has already made a significant name for herself with an impressive body of work that belies her age. She began releasing jazz-infused pop folk songs in 2020 as she entered the prestigious Berklee College of Music’s Electronic Production and Design program, but her accolades as a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and Carnatic singer began well before her college-level studies. She won the the YoungArts award in jazz vocals and songwriting and performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2018, where she won the Berklee Newport Jazz Festival Scholarship. She’s also a merit scholar at Berklee. Imagine not only being recruited but paid to go to one of the best music schools in the world.
One listen to ADVIKA’s work and it becomes abundantly clear that there were no mistakes at Berklee admissions. The thing that stands out the most has to be her pitch perfect voice, even in her earlier work. Pitch perfect doesn’t even really describe ADVIKA’s vocals: describe there’s pitch perfect, and then there’s absolutely flawless. Not a waver or a waffle in tone, yet full of emotion and poignancy, ADVIKA was destined to go far no matter what level he schooling reached.
It’s possible that ADVIKA is so effortlessly able to reach these tones with such clarity due to her Carnatic training: a form of Southern Indian classical music which is distinct from more northern/Islamic fused music, Carnatic vocals focus on a complex tonal system that must be clear and pitch-focused due to how many distinct notes there are in the scale. As a lover of jazz and its own complex vocal and tonal standards, this may be how ADVIKA chose to pay homage to both east an west as she began to carve out her style. It certainly means she doesn’t sound like anyone else in the pop world.
In terms of her songwriting and composition, ADVIKA’s first releases are jazz and pop folk-based with just a hint of ambient electronic structure and her also nearly perfect viola work, her most recent singles, “Come Back to Earth” and “Put Your Heart Away,” see the gifted artist really flexing her electronic production muscles. With what sounds like a tabla drum loop backing the track in a nod to her South Indian heritage, ADVIKA pulls various instrumentals in with more and more electronic programming as the track goes on, writing the track like a classical composition as is comes together. This whole song is meant to support her goosebump-inducing vocals, which are also multi-layered to create a complex harmony. The effect is chilling and emotive before you even begin to recognize the depth of the lyrics.
The lyrics describe the deep anguish of gradual separation in a relationship that once held a promise, watching them slowly detach themselves from each other. One holds onto the promise and hopes that the other comes back. And when they do decide to come back, it’s too late. There is nothing left anymore. The strongest bonds can be ephemeral if not cared for and nurtured. The song’s energy builds throughout, going from a mournful call to a realization of the end. -ADVIKA
Just released a couple of weeks ago, ADVIKA’s “Put Your Heart Away” also shows her promise as an EDM/pop fusion artist. Setting her jazzy vocals to a disco house tune she also created herself, it seems even with all the praise she’s gained in jazz and classical disciplines thus far doesn’t mean she plans to stay there. With so much raw talent and an already impressive discography, the sky is truly the limit for ADVIKA, and it will be up to her whether she wants to “Come Back to Earth” for us mere mortals.
“Come Back to Earth” and ADVIKA’s other stunning works can be streamed on her Spotify page. It’s a good one to bookmark for future as well, as this is clearly just the beginning for this multi-talented artist.