Published: 21st February 2020
Anurag Mishra and the music within: How Project Swa came to be for this musician
It was when Odisha-born Anurag Mishra sang at a function for Tata Steel, where the designated musician did not turn up, that he realised his calling as a musician and he is grateful for this moment
What we understood from our conversation with upcoming musician Anurag Mishra is that it takes a lot for him to admit defeat and that's exactly how it should be. The first time he got on stage as a student in IIM Indore, he was booed off the stage. For others, it would have turned out to be the most traumatic experience of their life, but this 29-year-old took it in the right spirit. When his album was ready in January 2019, many record labels turned him down. Imagine what this could do to the fragile psyche of someone looking to release their debut album. But this Rourkela-born youngster took it in his stride and did the next best thing - he launched the album Project Swa (Sanskrit for 'self') on his YouTube channel, which now has more than 4,000 followers. How's that for a never-say-die-spirit!
All Anurag wanted to achieve with his debut album, which is a mixed bag of eight songs, was establish himself as an original artist and not as a cover artist, as he was starting to be known. "Doing covers is the lowest hanging fruit and the easiest way to make a name for oneself," confesses the alumnus of NIT Rourkela sheepishly. Anurag came to Mumbai to join Maersk, the logistics and shipping company, in 2015 and quit in 2018 to become a full-time musician.
So, it is understandable that establishing himself was very important for him. He did more than 40 covers, including songs like Mast Magan (2 States), Jee Le Zaraa (Talaash), Dilbaro (Raazi) and many more. This proved to give the singer invaluable experiences and lessons on recording songs, how to approach a song and so on. So, when Anurag released his debut album towards the end of 2019, he quickly went from being a bathroom singer to someone who would perform at functions while working at Tata Steel, Jamshedpur and even rocked a few performances at IIM Indore - he became an original artist.
It took Anurag two years to put together his debut album
The first original song Anurag released, Chal Pada, is a dose of inspiration we never knew we needed. "Everyone speaks about those who are depressed but not much is said about those who have conquered it. This song is an ode to the victorious," says the self-taught musician who is currently training under playback singer Ronkini Gupta, who has lent her voice to songs in popular movies like Tumhari Sulu and Sui Dhaaga.
Another original song of his, Teri Meri Kahaaniyan is all about finding love within oneself. These two songs have their own videos which Anurag was able to make because he crowdfunded about Rs 1.5 lakh. Currently, the musician is occupied with other avenues of music, like lyric-writing, composing and even playing the guitar. He has already written for other indie artists and is simultaneously working on his own songs, while keeping up his spirits.
A few songs from his debut albums and what they are about:
- Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai: A sarcastic take on heartbreaks
- Yaadon: Reliving memories of the past
- Arzi: A prayer to God
- Maa: Lullaby, a song for mothers
- Mumbai: All about the Maximum City
For more on him, check out instagram.com/anuragmishramusic