Close on the heels of her 10-track album last year, the teen singer-songwriter releases a single ‘Why’
There are teen sensations and there is Kiara Chettri. The 17-year-old Delhi school girl’s just-released single, ‘Why’, a melodic orchestral number, is making waves across streaming platforms. This track comes barely a year after Kiara released her 10-track album, 4 AM. The global attention the album received proved the success of her first single at the age of 15, ‘You’ll See’, was no a flash in the pan. Kiara followed it up with six singles that became a part of her full-length album.
Kiara’s tracks have orchestral grandeur, intense lyrics and captivating straightforwardness.
Feet on the ground
A tight school schedule made it possible to catch this Class XII student only at 10 pm, over a video call. For someone who tasted success at a young age, Kiara has her feet firmly on the ground and displays remarkable wisdom while speaking about her aspirations and striking a school-studio balance. “Till I reached my Class X it was okay, but the Board exam was a challenge. I knew I was not going to compromise on my music. I was aware that I have to learn to balance my schoolwork and music; it is difficult but I’m learning,” she says with a smile.
Kiara’s song ‘Why’ has a melancholic tone. “I felt most people can relate to the lyrics. Everyone in life would have felt some kind of loss, grief and sadness, that is the reason I wrote these lyrics and I am sure they touch everyone.”
Kiara is trained in western classical, plays the guitar, piano, keyboard, ukulele and is keen to learn the cello. “It is such a beautiful instrument, I would love to play it.”
A reluctant musician who thought music would be boring, Kiara, after being forced to join her mother’s music school as a child, took to it like a fish to water. “ I am grateful my mum forced me to learn music. She inherited her musical sense from her father who lives in Darjeeling. He composed quite a few Nepali songs. My mother inspires me. I value her suggestions in my compositions and lyrics.”
Ever since she decided she wanted to pursue a career in music, Kiara knew she would be releasing an album sooner or later. “When I released my first single I knew that this will be part of my 10-track album,” says Kiara who is slightly disappointed that the release happened during the pandemic. “It was difficult when the pandemic hit, my producer was in Mumbai and I would travel all the way to sit with him but eventually when the album was released I was not there in person. Everything happens for a reason and I would not go back to change anything.” 4 AM consists of nine English songs and one Hindi song titled Kinara tu.
Describing the process of bringing out an album as nerve-wracking, Kiara feels that unlike a single, you expect at least some songs to be liked and appreciated from an album. “I tried to keep my songs as honest and real as possible, I wrote down my thoughts, they are the thoughts of a 17-year-old. I have never been insecure about my music, but I was nervous about releasing the album, what if people do not like it. I decided I will cherish the fact that 50 % of the listeners might like my music. For the other half who might not like it, I will release another album,” she says with a laugh.
Stage as home
Ever since her mother put her on stage at the age of six for a performance of Queen’s ‘We Will, We Will Rock You…’, Kiara fell in love with the stage. “At six you are nervous but you do not have the insecurities of a teenager. I realised I love being on stage — singing and talking to the audience. It is a great feeling.”
Kiara is happy that indie artists like her got attention during the pandemic while Bollywood music was put on pause. Kiara did a few covers and makes sure she is not copying the original artists. “I make them my own, I try to tweak it and make some changes.”
Headed to the UK to study music after her schooling, Kiara feels the UK is the place to be for musicians. “If I had been singing Hindi songs I would be staying here, since I am doing English songs it is important for me to go out and perform in the UK or the US.”
The endearing teen trait comes to the fore when she says, “Music is my escape. When I am angry, when I fight with my mom or a friend, am sad or happy, I pick up my guitar and start strumming. It keeps me grounded and reminds me who I am.”