Six Independent South Asian Musicians That You Must Listen to This Exam Season

By Nidhi Maurya

Exam season is undoubtedly a stressful time for us all. It’s easy to end up running on only three hours of sleep with an energy drink in one hand, and a bag of Cheetos in the other. While finals make me want to pull my hair out and question my life decisions, I find that a certain genre of music helps me to de-stress and makes life a little easier. Today, I’m sharing a few of these musical gems with you in the hopes that you too may find some solace in this time of calamity.

  1. The Local Train

The Local Train is an Indian Hindi rock band that uses their lyrics to express an amalgamation of ideas. “Khudi”, the song linked below was the first single released from their second album, “Vaaqif”. Give it a listen below, even if only for the inspiring music video. Might I suggest this song as your go-to motivator this exam season?

2. Prateek Kuhad

Singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad pens his lyrics in both Hindi and English, essentially giving us the best of both worlds with his relaxing tunes. His English-language song “cold/mess” linked below is, at least in my eyes, a musical masterpiece that somehow invokes feelings of joy and melancholy simultaneously. With Prateek Kuhad’s piercingly distinct vocals, it is the perfect song to unwind to after a long night of studious endeavors.

3. Mali

It’s not every day that the master of music, AR Rahman, tweets positive affirmations for an artist. Mali is one of those worthy artists. Maalavika (Mali) Manoj creates music that I would describe as a soothing fusion of jazz and electronic. Her single linked below called “Age of Limbo” is referred to by many as the quarantine/lockdown anthem. In addition to the lyrics and music, the visuals of this particular crowd-sourced music video itself deliver a powerful message.

4. Anuv Jain

Early in quarantine, I accidentally came across Anuv Jain’s “Baarishein” on a YT playlist and I’ve been listening to his songs on repeat ever since. Since his first single blew up on YouTube about a year ago, he’s blessed the internet with new singles every few months. Most recently, he released “Alag Aasmaan.” Give it a listen below. 

5. Ali Sethi

I first learned of Ali Sethi through the Pakistani music platform Coke Studio, where he debuted as a featured artist. Before he spawned an interest for singing, Sethi wrote a book calledThe Wish Maker” and even wrote for The New York Times. We stan a multi-talented individual. 

Sethi’s soulful music inspired by ghazals will transport you to a whole different realm. You will absolutely enjoy his music if you are a fan of ghazals. Listening to his most recent single, “Pehla Qadam,” is hands down the best way to collect yourself this exam season. Check it out below!

6. Suzonn

Singer-songwriter and composer Suzonn brilliantly blends simple tunes with profound lyrics, finding inspiration from common life experiences such as love, separation, and social issues. His simple, yet sweet, song “Rihaee” symbolizes a much larger metaphor. View the official music video below to explore what it means to you.

Perhaps one these artists can be your next favorite! At the very least, I do hope you find a sense of comfort and relaxation in these songs. 

Good luck this exam season! Remember to hydrate, sleep, slow down, stay sane, and kick butt!


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