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Everything indie soul with Arnon Ray Pereira

8 months ago

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By Mahika Panditha  One of my favourite things to do with my friends is going to watch live music and discovering new bands and local artistes. Earlier this week, The Sunday Morning Happinez had the chance to speak with the vocalist for ‘The Drift’ – Arnon Ray Pereira who is an indie soul singer, songwriter, and record producer. You may know his song ‘Rich Friends’ but if you do not, do go check it out on Spotify and Apple Music. The song went on to be shared by Thai singer Phum and was also a collaborative project with a Thai label called ‘Rats Record’. Pereira is currently finishing up music for monthly releases and we can’t wait to hear his new work. Pereira shared: “I grew up between Mount Lavinia and my maternal village of Thalathuoya, Kandy. My parents split up when I was small and I moved in with my grandparents, who I ended up living with for most of my formative years. My grandmother Jean Norma is a jazz singer and she is accompanied by my grandfather on jazz saxophone. There was always music playing or being played when I was growing up. My grandparents would perform around Colombo and I would go with them on the weekends and evenings and watch them perform. I loved it; I would help carry sound equipment and be enthralled watching them perform. Even today, music takes centre stage at every family gathering we have, it’s really part of who we are and how we communicate with one another.” Here are more excerpts from the interview.  Q: How did you get into music and what is your favourite part of what you do?  A: I spent years watching my grandparents perform. My grandmother taught me the art of performance and the importance of creating an authentic connection with your audience. As a kid, I was always playing musical instruments and I learnt to play the guitar by playing simple chords to accompany my lyrics. While I was working at a bar in Torrington, I would play at any and every open mic event to gain experience and build my confidence. In my mid-twenties, I started doing music full-time, performing with bands around Colombo to support my passion for creating my own music. My song ‘Favourites’ which is about falling in love with my mom’s village in Kandy, was the first song that really defined my style and from there, I started gradually finding my feet and my authentic style. Q: What is one of your favourite songs and why?   A: The cool thing about music is that it is fluid and what you like or dislike can be a reflection of your mood and current situation. Because of this, I don’t really have a favourite song as such, it is ever-changing. I have a lot of artistes that I admire and I feel a deep connection with their music. Artistes like Paolo Nutini, Young the Giant, Leon Bridges, and Keane really inspire me. The list is never stagnant and grows with me as I go through life and discover new things. Q: Talk to us about your creative process.  A: There are no boundaries to creativity, inspiration can come at any time and anywhere. I am constantly recording small melodies on my audio notes as they pop into my head. There are even instances where you might catch me humming into my phone in a tuk-tuk or inside a shop to make sure I don’t forget the melodies. You can’t control when and where an idea might come to you, you just have to allow them to flow. I have, on a few occasions, recorded some of my best melodies in the bathroom (laughs).  During the week, I block out the morning to sit down with my guitar and play and develop melodies that I have recorded. It’s not always easy. There have been days when I have sat with the guitar for hours on end and nothing seemed to work or connect. There are other days when the energy is just right and everything just flows. These days are magic, they are the days I live for, but I wouldn’t appreciate them if it weren’t for the harder days. It is all just a process. On my best days, songs like ‘Easy on Me’ and ‘Red Eyes’ have come to me in less than an hour – it is the best feeling. Q: Have you experienced creative blocks? If so, how did you overcome them? A: I haven’t experienced a creative block in the sense of being unable to create for days or weeks. Of course, as I mentioned before, every day isn’t a good day and on the harder days, I make a point of at least writing a line or two or recording the smallest melody. Even if at the time I don’t think they are good, it can be my mood tainting my view, and in a few weeks, I could come back to them and be able to develop them into something I really love.
  1. What advice do you have for aspiring musicians? 
A: Just do you, be your authentic self. Every one of us is special and unique, that’s what makes the world interesting. Be proud of who you are and find your own style. Listen to new music and explore different artistes and genres. I also think it's so important to wear your heart on your sleeve, it helps you connect with people and aligns your emotions with your writing. Being thick-skinned and putting up a barrier can allow you to miss important moments and connections in life which are vital for your journey as an artiste. There is so much sadness and heartbreak in the world but there are also beautiful experiences waiting to be had; you just have to be open to the good and the bad.     Q: What has been one of your biggest challenges and how did you deal with it?  A: I have a stutter. As a kid, while attending a boys’ school, the taunting and shame I experienced were pretty horrendous. I still have the stutter but through rhythm and tricks I have developed through the years, I have it a bit more under control. It still comes out every now and again, especially if I am in situations that make me nervous. I don’t mind it at all anymore, it is a part of what makes me ‘me’. Q: What are your plans for the coming years? Any projects we can look forward to? A: I am working on a lot of new music. I hope to release a song a month through my streaming platforms. I am excited to play more live gigs with my music at the forefront. I am working with a group of incredibly talented musicians and I can’t wait to experiment with them and try some new sounds. My aim this year is to collaborate with artistes I admire and focus on my songwriting. I would love to have the chance to write music for other artistes. Author bio : Mahika is a freelance writer and a small business owner. She holds a BA (Hons) in Business Management. PHOTO ©  ARNON RAY PEREIRA    
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