Mercury KX welcomes 6-time Grammy® Award-nominated sitarist, composer and producer Anoushka Shankar, who joins the label’s ever-growing roster of some of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists.
Anoushka’s new single, ‘Lovable’, released today, reveals a new direction for the artist, a shift in style and subject, which comes at a pivotal moment in her career as she signs to her new record label. The single, featuring French-Cuban duo Ibeyi, is plaintive and striking in its low-key meditation on heartbreak and loss, asking: “Am I still lovable, if you stop loving me? Am I enough, if you don’t want me?’”.
‘Lovable’ marks a new chapter for Anoushka, breaking with personal tradition to perform vocals for the first time, adding a soft, solitary soprano to Ibeyi’s haunting harmonies. She explains this departure: “I saw Naomi and Lisa perform live a few years back, and just fell in love. Lisa was sweet, trusting and nurturing when we wrote this song together. She encouraged me to use my voice, something I usually do at a remove, in an abstract way, through the sitar.”
Hailed by the Guardian as a “virtuoso sitar player”, Anoushka pushes the boundaries of how the instrument is heard and perceived. A singular figure in the progressive world music scene, her dynamic and spiritual musicality has garnered several prestigious accolades, including six Grammy® Award nominations, recognition as the youngest – and first female – recipient of a British House of Commons Shield, and a Songlines Best Artist Award.
Ibeyi (XL Records) are a twin sister vocal duo based in Paris who appeared in the short film for Beyoncé’s ground-breaking visual album Lemonade. Their music draws on their Cuban upbringing, as well as more modern influences such as Frank Ocean and James Blake.
Deeply rooted in Indian music traditions, Anoushka studied exclusively from the age of nine under her father and guru, the late Ravi Shankar, and made her professional debut as a professional sitarist at the age of 13. By the age of 20, she had made three solo recordings and received her first Grammy® nomination, becoming the first Indian woman to be nominated for a Grammy® award, and the youngest ever nominee in the World Music category.
In 2005, Anoushka released her self-produced breakthrough album ‘Rise’, which earned her a second Grammy® nomination. Following this nomination, Anoushka became the first Indian artist to perform at the Grammy® Awards.
Besides performing as a solo sitarist, Anoushka’s compositional work has led to cross-cultural collaborations with artists such as Sting, M.I.A, Herbie Hancock, Pepe Habichuela, Karsh Kale, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Joshua Bell, demonstrating the versatility of the sitar across all musical genres.
Speaking of the signing, Dr Alexander Buhr, Managing Director of the Decca Classical Label Group, says, “We are thrilled to welcome Anoushka to our label family. I’ve been following Anoushka’s career for many years. She is one of the most courageous and ambitious musicians I’ve met, always pushing to explore new grounds and developing her writing and playing forwards. She is an artist with truly restless creativity and I couldn’t think of a better fit for Mercury KX.”
2020 will see Anoushka touring her new music, alongside special gala performances to commemorate the centenary of her father Ravi Shankar’s birth. It’s clear to see that Anoushka’s purpose as an artist and campaigner remain unshakeable.
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