Name to know: Sameer Gadhia

When Orange County High School friends-turned-indie-rockers Young The Giant released their eponymous EP in 2011, the consensus was that an exciting energy had burst on to the music scene, even as it evinced more potential than perfection. The sticky chorus on singles like ‘My Body’ and ‘Cough Syrup’ made them radio favourites (and late-night show regulars), driven by Indian-American frontman Sameer Gadhia’s ridiculously bendy vocals. Last year, when the band released its more grown-up sophomore album, Mind Over Matter, Gadhia earned another round of appreciation for his expansive, controlled range, which was labelled “one of the great contemporary rock voices” by The New York Times.

That his five-member band is not identifiable by a distinct sound is a significant achievement for Gadhia, “[We are on a] never-ending quest for evolution, unwilling to sit mildly in the corner of our box,” he says. This year, the Stanford biology dropout (he does plan to go back) will spend most of his time on the road — his first stop is SulaFest in Nashik next month, followed by a US tour and Lollapalooza in Rio. While work on new Young The Giant music is ongoing, Gadhia is also using his creative momentum to pillar another talent — “My desire to write fiction has become much more ardent [since college]. I’ve written two novellas that I’m sitting on for the right moment.” If his songwriting is a reliable reference point, a deeply-felt bestseller awaits.  

SulaFest is on from February 7 to 8.

Photograph: Payam Doostzadeh

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