Between ensuring that you frequently come up with new stuff and get to perform as much as you can, you also have to deal with all the stuff life throws at any of us from time to time. However the beautiful part is that, as a musician, you can always use these experiences to create something that’s truly marvellous. Mumbai based singer-songwriter Vernon Noronha is a shining example of one who refuses to let life get him down. The emotional ‘Come Back Jack’ is a message to his missing father, a man he was very close to, whose whereabouts are still unknown. There are few songs that really touch the soul like this and both it, and his recently released debut EP ‘Closer To Home’, truly speaks volumes about Vernon’s abilities as an artist. Having been a part of the scene since 2010, Vernon is an upcoming singer-songwriter who as prolific as he’s talented. When he’s not making songs at a prolific rate, he’s opening for brilliant acts like Lucy Rose and organising gigs for his potentially game changing initiative ‘Songwriters Unplugged’. It may have taken a while for his first EP to come out of the pipes, but once you’re done listening to it, you will definitely forget about the wait. Closer To Home is a beautiful collection of songs that one can listen to at any time. With each track being a journey on its own, this well produced EP will leave you feeling nostalgic and once again bears testament to the relatability that great singer-songwriters possess. With a debut EP like this, Vernon truly makes a compelling case about it being high time that singer-songwriters be regarded more seriously and we can only hope that the day we see him headlining an event is not too far.
We talked to the singer-songwriter about a bunch of cool stuff. Here, check it out!
Q) You’ve finally released an EP after being in the scene for such a long time. How does it feel? Were there any songs/artists who you think might have helped you get through this testing period?
It feels really good that the EP is finally out. I contemplated about it a lot, I never knew of the challenges that were to come while doing the EP. Come Back Jack was a special song to me and that was one song that I really wanted to release.
When I started work on the EP that’s the one song we worked on first.
I was really lucky to have a supportive bunch of good friends who helped shape the EP in their own ways.
Q) You’ve so many songs under your belt. Which are your favourites outside the EP? And why go for an EP and not an album?
Yes, I have written a lot of songs. All of them are in different bunches which have undergone various treatments depending upon my mood and stage of life. For example the songs I wrote in college cannot be put together with what I’ve written 4 years post that.
Closer To Home had songs which I had composed between a specific time period, and I couldn’t put the much newer songs in that, because they weren’t going well together. Hence the EP and not an LP.
My favourite song outside of the EP is a song called ‘House in the Sky’, which again is a song I wrote for my father. I think I should just release a small EP, dedicating songs to him and one song for mother.
Q) What was the theme behind the EP?
I have no home left to go back to; I’m still shifting places and living on rent.
And I’ve really been longing to finally go home. I keep dreaming about my imaginary home. While I did all of this, I shifted quite a number of times and wrote plenty of songs which went through a lot of different things. I picked the five songs I wrote and it really reminded me of my old home. Keeping that in mind, I named it – Closer To Home.
Q) How do you approach your lyrics? Was it tough writing ‘Come Back Jack’ given the story behind it?
Nowadays I write the lyrics as I compose the melody. I had written the first two lines about Come Back Jack and left it for a long time. It was just supposed to be those two lines because I was hoping for things to change so I could erase those lines. Things never changed and got worse, so I started compiling memories with my father which I then ended up putting in the song. It’s really tough for me to sing the song at times, because I go through a whirlpool of emotions with every line that I sing of it.
Q) What’s your take on the position of songwriters in India? How do you think it should change?
Not many people know what singer-songwriter actually means. I get questions like – ‘What’s your band’s name?’ after which I tell them I’m a singer-songwriter or an artist. Right now I feel that this whole culture of singer-songwriters is slowly starting to bloom and the number is definitely increasing. Most of us songwriters are absolutely capable of playing a headlining act apart from the usual opening acts that we are usually remembered for.
Q) What was it like opening for Lucy Rose?
I was introduced to her music when someone at the production house had suggested one of her songs as a reference. I was hooked immediately and in a few months I was following her on Facebook, Instagram etc.
When I got a mail to play before Lucy Rose, I couldn’t believe that it was happening at all. That has got to be the best confirmation mail I’ve ever received.
Lucy was there while I sound checked, and I got to meet and speak to her for a bit post her insane gig. As soon as she saw me she said (British Accent) “Hey, you’re one of the supporting acts right? I really enjoyed your songs.” I then went on to praise her and get photos which I have framed.
Q) An EP and a music video recently released. What’s the rest of the year like for you?
Pushing the EP as far as I can.
Working with the band more and strengthening the sound.
Play as much and travel much more.
By November I plan to release some more music if everything falls in place. And a music video for another song from the EP.
Follow Vernon on Twitter.
You can also buy Closer To Home on iTunes.
Picture Credits to Sukruti Anah Stanley.
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