Tapasi Bhattacharya looks every bit like a typical North Calcutta college girl going about her life, but she hides a secret: she's a passionate vocalist on-stage and loves every moment of the performance! She started off on the keyboard as a child, tapping away to glory, but slowly graduated towards vocals in her formative years. She's notorious for her Evanescence covers and the influence that their vocalist, Amy Lee, had on her. In her own music, she enjoys a touch of grim melancholy with haunting melodies on the piano, but she's open to many different styles and always likes to experiment and play with her vocals. At the present, she's looking towards forming her own band, and taking her music further!
BongRong: Greetings from BongRong! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Tapasi: Hey, me is Tapasi. I am a 20-year-old part-time pianist-songwriter and a full-time singer/hummer. I love all things dark and twisty, and sometimes I play and sing about them as well.
BongRong: Tell us your story! How you discovered music and took it up.
Tapasi: Well, I discovered music in a small Yamaha keyboard which my aunt gifted to my elder sister. I remember toying with it all day and picking up Bollywood tunes and dancing with the in-built tunes. I used to sleep with it beside me even. And then came the big Hannah Montana craze. That was in 2008, when I was in 8th grade. That's when I became a big Miley Cyrus fan and that was when I started singing. Soon after, Avirup introduced me to Evanescence when I was in 9th and from then I have been glued to gothic and symphonic rock. The more I listened, the more I wanted to pursue this genre of music. So much so that the people who have been following my music since my school band days know that I am all about the melancholy.
BongRong: From keys, when did you shift to vocals?
Tapasi: I never really played keys properly before shifting to vocals. I started singing from 8th grade, and my father bought me my keyboards in 9th grade. By then I was already obsessed with Evanescence. So technically I started both at more or less the same time. But since 4th grade, I had wanted to play the piano. When I got my computer I downloaded a software called Aldo's Pianito and I used to play the My Immortal melody all day (because of course by then the little Yamaha keyboard had already passed on).
BongRong: You take a lot of inspiration from Amy Lee when it comes to vocals. Tell us about the other vocalists who inspire you.
Tapasi: I was inspired by Amy Lee for a good number of years and I still am. I don't think there are many musicians who inspired me as much as she did. But in the recent years I have been influenced by Adele, Emilie Autumn, Lzzy Hale from Halestorm, Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil and Agnete M. Kirkevaag from Madder Mortem. Both stylistically and lyrically.
BongRong: Tell us about your musical inspirations!
Tapasi: Musically, I have been influenced by bands like Nox Arcana, Dark Sanctuary and again Evanescence. My first original Dementia was influenced by Ava Inferi's Ghostlights (thanks to Devleena for introducing me to this beautiful song), musically, and by Evanescence's Haunted, lyrically. I love dark, ambient music and I try to incorporate as much beautiful morbidity as I can in my music. The idea is to give the listener goose bumps. Just like I get goose bumps every time I listen to these bands.
BongRong: Tell us about the people in your life who have helped you along the way.
Tapasi: Okay. There are five people in my life who have influenced me musically. First is my sister, Satabdi Bhattacharya. She used to learn songs in her school and she used to teach me that. We used to fall asleep singing Jamaican Farewell and My Heart will Go On. She is the one who I started singing with. Second will be my cousin, Somak De. We have been jamming together since we were in 6th grade and the first song we picked up was Zombie by The Cranberries. He has been a constant support since then. Third one would be Avirup Bose. He introduced me to the genre I love the most and I will always be grateful to him for that. Fourth would be Nabarun Bose, for making me want to play better and teaching me new things and always encouraging me to keep at it especially during my low phases (which I have pretty often, haha). And last but not the least, Disha, who has been there for the past 13 years, and who dearly wanted me to pursue dance but was equally supportive and understanding when I chose to stick to music instead.
BongRong: We heard that you are in the process of forming a band. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Tapasi: Yes, I am. I have a few people in for it already but I am still looking for a bassist and a keyboardist. The idea is very simple for me. Whatever the genre may be – gothic, symphonic, progressive, metal – the music the band makes needs to have the 'goose bump' factor. Even if a song has just 4 chords and is based on a simple 4/4 pattern, it needs to have an effect on the audience. That's the idea of the band and that is what I want to work on. So, fingers crossed.
BongRong: What do you mean by 'goose bump' factor?
Tapasi: The goose bump factor for me would be the overwhelming sense of being incredibly moved by something. Or experiencing an eerie moment created by something otherwise regular like music, text or a photograph.
BongRong: What do you want to achieve artistically?
Tapasi: Artistically, I want complete strangers to feel that they know me from scratch just by listening to me. I want them to interpret me, criticize me and know me by the things I make. I don't want anyone to remember my name; I just want them to remember how I made them feel.
BongRong: Do you plan to pursue music as your full-time career?
Tapasi: There will be nothing better than to be able to pursue music as my full-time career. But right now, no matter how many plans I make regarding this, it's hard to say for certain if any of them will work out. Primarily because chances of making a living out of western music here, in this city, are not too high. So I would like to have something going side by side in case the full time plans don't work out. For now, all I can do is do what I do and hope for the best.
Occasional Brainstorms (Originals)
Mia Maestro by Lloverá (Cover)
P.S. I Love You ft. Soumyarya Mallick by Nellie McKay (Cover)
Breathe No More by Evanescence (Cover)
Demons by Imagine Dragons (Cover)
This Familiar Way by Nina Nastasia
Girls! Girls! Girls! by Emilie Autumn
Castle of Nightmares by Nox Arcana
((Ghostlights)) by Ava Inferi
Evening Falls by Enya
I Remember by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan
Hello by Evanescence
Cold Stone by Madder Mortem
The Flesh, the Blood and the Man by Madder Mortem
Space transmission by Porcupine Tree
Thanks to Debomita Mukherjee for the beautiful cover image of this article. Click here to follow her work.
Thanks to Soham Das for the beautiful feature image of this article. Click here to follow his work.