NAME: Ajay Mathur
ART: Singer-songwriter, Producer
MAIN GENRE: Singer-Songwriter, Rock, Alternative
ARTS AFFILIATIONS: The Artists Forum
BIO: Ajay Mathur is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter best described as eclectic, grounded, and always surprising. A musical cosmopolitan and smooth shifter between the stylistic worlds, the Swiss by choice with Indian roots now presents with his multiple awards-winning fifth long-player “Talking Loud” – one of the years most multifaceted albums.
Ajay does not allow himself to be pressed into any stylistic pigeonholes. Instead of limiting himself to just one genre, the charismatic singer and musician fearlessly lives out his almost childlike joy of experimenting and exploring. A quality that earns him well-intended comparisons with legends like Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen or the Beatles.
Speaking of the Beatles. Ajay also has them to thank for his successful music career. Growing up in India, it was none other than the Liverpool fab four themselves who awakened the passion for music in the then 14-year-old – when Ajay met them in person in the fateful year of 1968. This is just one of the countless exciting artist anecdotes that Mathur has lived through during his career spanning more than four decades.
The meeting with The Beatles was literally a life-changing encounter for Ajay, which eventually led to his former band Mainstreet after his relocation to Switzerland. In his newly adopted country, he quickly found great success in the European music scene and recorded four albums with Mainstreet in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Ajay states his latest album,
"Talking Loud,” is his “metaphor for self-confidence and self-esteem,” exuding an artistic confidence and self-awareness that Ajay has already demonstrated on previous albums “A Matter Of Time” (2011), “Come See Conquer” (2013), the Grammy-nominated “9 to 3” (2015), and “Little Boat” released in 2018, which was awarded “Germany’s Best English-Language Album of 2018” by the German Pop Foundation.
2023: March – Ajay’s award-winning song Common Mistake tops European Indie Music Network Charts and World Indie Music Top100 Charts.
2022: December – The German Pop Foundation honored Ajay and Talking Loud with 4 awards at the jury award ceremony of the 40th German Rock & Pop Awards 2022 on December 17: German Alternative Award, Best Crossover Band, Best Alternative Album and Best English language Album of the Year 2022. November – Common Mistake from the album Talking Loud won the coveted The Artists Forum Music Competition 2022 in New York in the Rock / Alternative category. The album title song was a finalist. May – The Real music video won the Roma Short Film Festival. April –Deeper Than Your Skin music video won the Venice Fullshot Film Festival. January – Real was Semi-Finalist of UK Songwriting Competition.
2021: December – Stop The Shame from the album Talking Loud won The Artists Forum Music Competition 2021 in Indie / Singer-Songwriter category. November: ‘Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence)’ from the album “Talking Loud” ranks on Play MPE Adult Contemporary Streaming Top 5 charts.
2019: October – Start Living Again music video is selected as finalist at The Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Image 2019.
2018: December – Ajay’s 4th album Little Boat awarded “Germany’s Best English Language Album of the year 2018” by German Pop Foundation. November – Ajay appears as “Guest of the Day” on German Television.
LATEST WORKS: “Talking Loud” – CD, double vinyl LP, streaming, videos. Links: https://linktr.ee/talking_loud
Talking Loud (2022), Real (2022), Deeper Than Your Skin (2022), Stuck on 75 (2022), Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence) (2022), Start Living Again (2019).
MEET THE ARTIST: MEET Ajay Mathur (2021)
GERMAN TELEVISION APPEARANCE: Guest of the Day (2018)
Please describe your artistic themes
I write primarily about the human condition and the effects that circumstances and situations have on people. I write about resilience and self-esteem, survival and serendipity. I am heavily influenced by what is happening around me, both in social and political contexts. One of my favorite sources of inspiration is stories that people like to tell in random conversations. Yes, people love to tell their amazing stories if you take the time to listen.
Please describe your creative process
I have a selective process of writing songs. Let me explain…. the melody comes to me first. It generally comes with the theme of the song, sometimes even with big chunks of lyrics. I play it on my guitar (or piano, whichever instrument is at hand) and sing it until I get to a key that fits. What happens next is that I try not to record, write or save the song idea right away. I let it rest for a couple of days or even weeks. If the song idea sticks in my head, then I know that there could be a song in it. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t worth pursuing anyway. If it sticks, I record the song and whatever pieces of lyrics I have on my phone and jot down any lyrics that came with it.
The lyrics are the crown-jewels of my music and clearly play an important role. I write a lot of the lyrics myself and I also collaborate with Mary Lou von Wyl, a very talented, creative writer and a fiercely independent thinker. Mary Lou’s style is more poetic than mine, which tends to be quite direct. At least that’s how I perceive it. Mary Lou and I have also adopted a real-time process of writing lyrics. I play, she writes, I sing what she just wrote and we tweak as we go. It’s very fast, fun, often cathartic (yes, tears flow sometimes) and it also prevents us from overthinking. This is basically the creative part of my songwriting.
My approach to working out arrangements, final lyrics, grooves and licks, etc. vary from song to song. I approach my production song by song and work towards whatever brings me closer to my concept of the essence and the atmosphere of that particular song, regardless of a style or a genre. When I work on a song, it gets my undivided attention until it’s finished. Then I move on to the next one. Song writing and recording is an ongoing process for me. I don’t have a specific album in mind during the creative and production work.
What are your artistic goals? What do you need to achieve them?
My goal is to create art that gives me goosebumps, and possibly anyone who experiences my art. For me, my art is not limited to just a song or an album: my goal is to create multi-dimensional experiences with sounds, images and movement, such as videos, cover art, illustrations, posters and even performances. I think I have succeeded in creating such an experience with my current album “Talking Loud”, which can be streamed and is available as a CD, a beautiful set of colored double vinyl LPs, along with a series of amazing videos and even an illustrated children’s book “Koko and the Little Boat” (ISBN: 9789391828158, which completes my Gesamtkunstwerk “Talking Loud.”
I’m looking for artists to collaborate with, and I’m looking for opportunities to expose my art to a broader audience. In this sense, The Artists Forum is an ideal environment for me to collaborate with other artists and present my art to an audience beyond the typical music listener.
What are your views on the industry?
Rock and alternative music is thriving as an art form, but unfortunately it doesn’t get the exposure it deserves in the mainstream media and the record industry. Nevertheless, rock and alternative musicians are creative and resilient. They are here to stay.
What advice would you give to emerging artists?
Be very critical and selective of your creative output. Remember, it’s about goosebumps: if you don’t get them, nobody else will. Own your career. Don’t depend on someone to help kick-start your career, because if you don’t do it yourself, nobody else will either. Base your artistic and career decisions on your self-worth, not on your ego.
APPLE MUSIC: ajaymathurapplemusic
FILM FEST: 2019
MUSIC COMPETITON: 2021
MUSIC COMPETITION: 2022
MEET THE ARTISTS: 2021