Dot’s the word

She’s fiercely independent about her original music and doesn’t believe in genres. Meet 18-year-old Aditi Saigal, whose songs are creating waves online

April 28, 2017 06:24 pm | Updated 06:24 pm IST

Becoming an overnight success on the Internet will always have a few downsides, but 18-year-old Aditi Saigal (whose artist name is Dot) has the most polite way of talking about it. In February, she uploaded a video of her song ‘Everybody Dances to Techno’, a sweet piano ditty that’s got over 35,000 plays at the moment, and a lot of fans.

She says over the phone from Bangor in Wales, “I have to take it lightly, and not try to do what everyone wants me to do, because that’s complicated.” Aditi has been putting up several of her own songs shot on video that showcase an honest, intimate voice like few other young Indian singer-songwriters.

There’s a honeyed, jazzy quality and zero inhibitions that have earned fans for Dot’s music – they tell her (via social media comments) that her weekly video recordings of songs are things they can’t get out of their heads.

Of course, fans also ask her for lyrics or request for covers, but Aditi comes across as fiercely (okay, politely) independent about writing and performing her own music — something that she’s doing while pursuing a degree in music and creative writing at Bangor University. She says about fending off cover requests, “If somebody asks me, I just smile and go, ‘Haha, yeah that’s a nice song’. I only do things when I really feel like it.”

Her being bullish about her own material comes from — at least in part — having parents like Amit Saigal (the founder of one of India’s oldest music magazines, Rock Street Journal ) and Shena Gamat, actor and co-founder of New Delhi-based Barefoot! Theatre Company. Unsurprisingly, Aditi started off in a band called Blank (possibly a preference for monosyllabic names) in New Delhi, collaborating with musicians from One World College of Music. She says, “It was interesting, it was with some of my friends: a singer and flautist and a bassist, guitarist. We all contributed with a bunch of songs, so it wasn’t just my songs. I think it was a bit more pop-oriented, but I can’t really put a finger on that. I don’t really get the genre thing, anyway.”

She feels the same way about her own influences, which range from singer-songwriters such as Regina Spektor, KT Tunstall (whom she cites as a favourite) and Paolo Nutini to jazz singer Peggy Lee and Etta James. Aditi says, “It hasn’t really changed. The only thing that’s been included now is the more electronic stuff — not the full-on dubstep stuff — some streams of EDM, weirdly enough,” she says.

YouTube is the go-to medium for Dot and her fans right now, but the singer says she hopes more musicians get more gigs in the UK and India. Aditi tells us that she’s back in India for a break between June and September. “For the first month, it’s kind of just a holiday for me, but I do want to get as many gigs as I can.” Something tells us there won’t be any lack of demand.

Anurag Tagat is a Bengaluru-based writer and critic who is into everything from metal to trip-hop, and tweets @anuragtagat.

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