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News |  12 Feb 2016 18:14 |  By RnMTeam

I created "SHAA'IR" as a way to be braver, bolder, stronger: Monica Dogra

MUMBAI: Almost a fortnight since the release of her solo album titled 'Spit', Monica Dogra once again finds herself in a familiar environment- talking about the music, promoting her art and exploring new ways to raise the bar. With the video release of 'Say What You Like' from the album, Dogra kicked off her effort to create an awareness of the album's essence.

Check out the video

The 33-year-old songwriter spoke to about the collaborations for the album, the reason behind its name and how she overcame personal hurdles to create a persona that defines her more transparently.

Dogra has lent her vocals on six independent artists' records and the experience taught her aspects of album-making. That resulted into the birth of the initiative of asking several artists to help her bring 'Spit' to life. The exercise ensuring the completion of the album took three years, and Dogra surely isn't losing her sleep over it. "It just did. I didn't force myself to complete it in a certain time. I just went about the business of creating it. I definitely didn't think it would take as long as it ended up taking, that's for sure. But, the universe has its plans. I really do believe that," said Dogra.

With collaborators from Germany, United States, UK and India, Dogra's latest artistic effort is a raw, aggressive expression of ideas and emotions through a 9-track album that comprises her "hero - Karsh Kale, incredibly talented producer Gaurav Raina, mad scientist Stephan Kaye and record producer Robot Koch." With the help of Prash Mistry, Dogra recorded two tracks - 'Suspended' and 'Rise and Run' in his UK studio. In another track titled 'Pockets', Shaa'ir and Func's Randolph Correira contributes through his "emotional and beautiful" guitar skills.

The singer loves to talk about the universe, and fate, and poems, and love, and elements that affect her deeply on a daily basis, however, Dogra travelled a long way to attain the level of confidence and the reputation of the torch-bearer of the new age pop music in India. "I've always been a bit of an outsider, but within that realm, a go-getter. I don't think I ever felt like I fit in. But, I would never sit around and wait for things to change. I would go out and make them change. I do feel as though I'm quite underconfident though I don't let that stop me from being brave and doing what I need to do! I created the persona of "SHAA'IR" as a way to be braver, bolder, stronger than I felt like I was in my pedestrian life," explains Dogra.

Dogra is on an 'ever-learning' journey and the 'fundraising' controversy taught her few things that shook her on a personal level. "The controversy and the amount of people who were spreading hate didn't affect me. What really shook me was how many people I had held personal equations with, were more than happy to jump on the hate bandwagon.That shocked me! I was blown away by how people I had considered friends shamed me on multiple social media platforms," recollects Dogra. The issue is done and dusted and the high school way of dehumanising her no longer occupies her thoughts, but Dogra believes she could have handled the campaign that "began in good faith" could have been handled differently.

Monica Dogra had finished most of her album recording when the controversy hit the tabloids as well as social media and put Dogra in an extremely vulnerable position, but 'Spit' was the singer/actor's way of emoting what she genuinely felt. The album covers Dogra's life before she entered the country, and extends to the several little moments of joy, heart breaks and courage through the amalgamation of genres put together. 'Spit' may come out as a negative, provoking name, but Dogra's definition of the album is certainly poetic. "The word kept coming up in all my songs' writing and when I came to the point of naming my record, it felt right. But I think it's raw and unadulterated. It's an essence. I wanted to be that free when I let the record go as well. Art at its best is an offering that expects little in return," clarifies Dogra.

With an immersive show, two videos in pre-production, studio duties and a unique way of promoting the album, Dogra would essentially spend the first half of the year devoted for 'Spit'.

She has offered her art, yet again, in the simplest and most genuine of ways, and the artist expects little in return. The universe has its plans, as Dogra believes, and 'Spit' was surely a part of it, but the year 2016 would definitely offer the artist an opportunity to be finally understood.