It is often said that the best art is nothing but the rawest reflection of the artist's life experiences. This is especially true for Pranati Khanna a.k.a Peekay India, one of the most talented and multi-faceted artists in the Hyderbad undeground scene. While many know of her as the voice behind her hit single 'You Don't Have To'; or as the recipient of the Asia Inc 500 Award for her Contribution to arts and music, the story behind her path to success is lesser known.
A long time friend of the Vek FAM, we had the opportunity to have a candid conversation with her this week.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
" I am a story teller who likes to tell my story through art and music. I have been making music for about twelve years now. A couple of years ago I also started my own marketing agency called 'The Whole Shabang' and I juggle between music and my firm work."
How did you start out as a musician?
" As a child, I grew up in a household surrounded by music - particularly classic rock. My parents had a lot of friends who used to play instruments and we used to jam together at parties. I would watch these people play the guitar or be in bands and I wanted to be like them. At my school, we were taught only one song - 'Hotel California' in our music classes. The good thing about this song was that it had so many chords that once I mastered it, I could play pretty much any other song! By the time I was seventeen, I started playing gigs at bars and restaurants to make some money at the side. I was awful but everyone was so supportive and my confidence grew.
It was during this time that my life started to get really dark. I was trapped in an abusive relationship. I was young and confused. While I was a talented artist who regularly sold out all my canvasses, I could not afford go abroad to study fine arts. To make things worse, my parents put a lot of pressure on me to ditch art and opt for a more conventional career. I had so much anger and frustration trapped inside of me. But I decided not to give up on my passion and joined a course on design animation at a local institute. I tried my best to focus on my art and music to distract myself from how depressing my personal life was.
I was so filled with pent up sorrow and anger that I started writing music as an outlet. I couldn't tell people, "You know yesterday my boyfriend hit me". My initial songs were really dark, they were in a way, a cry for help to the world. My lyrics had all my secrets. I performed these songs all over the country with my band - The Ragamuffins and somehow, these songs got insanely popular.
Meanwhile, I got married to my boyfriend of the time but also got divorced really early. In a way I think my music helped me find myself and gave me the courage to speak up about the abuse that was being inflicted on me. I used my platform to rabidly speak up about domestic violence, alcoholism and all forms of abuse.
With time and patience, I slowly healed. I switched my genre of music from angry rock to to something more peaceful like soul and R&B and it's currently what I do".
What inspires you to keep creating?
" Now I am living such a business- business life that when I do perform, the repressed artist in me just bursts out. Like recently I went to perform at Delhi and I put on the best show I could. Every time I shut the door on office work and sit down to write music, I am my realest self. I channel all my repressed artistic emotions into what I'm writing. It's always about gratitude and self-acceptance. Funnily enough, most of my songs have been about relationships. My friends tease me about it constantly! But because I had so much trauma around love so early in my life, I don't quiet know how to date or be in a relationship with someone. I am learning about how to get myself back out there, how to read a person, what to do and what not to do and through this journey I've encountered so many clowns that I need to write songs about it!"
That was truly inspiring Pranati. Before you go, could you tell us a little about your association with Supervek?
"Since my first encounter with Supervek I knew you guys were onto something great. Me and Jeet (Co-founder) were in the same hustle and I've always loved what he and his partners came up with. It's been amazing watching Supervek grow as a brand and I'm truly grateful for the way we support each other. I love the brand and the language that it speaks. Unlike many other brands in a similar space, I love that Supervek has genuinely good design".