By: Suyash Gabriel
Before picking up the bass guitar, Harshit Misra was on the road to becoming a mechanical engineer. His decision to start playing bass, however, was more than just an urge to learn the instrument. It was an attempt to separate himself from the realm of the ordinary. It was his ticket to being more than just your everyday college student. “Something just felt wrong about the path I was on. I felt like fate had carved a certain path for me, but I was moving in a different direction,” he says.
Seven years after his instinctual decision, Misra is playing alongside Grammy Award-winning R&B outfit The Jackie Boyz, American Idol winner Candice Glover and singer-cum-entertainer Wayne Brady, who is famous for the improv-based television series, Who’s Line is it Anyway? Misra, who was born in Delhi and grew up here, is now a touring bass player in Los Angeles, where he is based, and California. He is also a sessions bassist for a number of artistes such as Columbia Records artiste Ravaughn, Scottish songwriter Liam Horne and LA-based songwriter Brandon Bassir.
“I started playing the bass guitar but wasn’t sure how to take it forward. I found out that there were sound production courses that teach audio engineering. That seemed like a good place to start,” he says. He moved to Chennai and began a one-year course at School of Audio Engineering (SAE) in Chennai, where he also began playing for a local progressive rock band, 83 Miles Per Hour. “Playing with my band gave me the technical skills I needed and also taught me how to compose with other musicians. But I wanted to go bigger,” he says.
In 2012, Misra went on to win a full scholarship for an Associate of Arts Degree in Bass Performance at Musicians Institute, Los Angeles, where he was soon discovered by The Jackie Boyz. “One of my friends told me about a Jackie Boyz gig for which they were auditioning bass players. I went and played at the audition, came back, did my research on them, and was blown away by their credentials. The next thing I know is I that get called in as the bassist,” he says. The 24-year-old, who is endorsed by guitar strings company Dean Markley and Danish audio equipment manufacturer TC Electronics, also accompanied up-and-coming girl pop group Girl Radical (led by NSYNC singer JC Chasez and Golden Globe-winning, Grammy-nominated songwriter Jimmy Harry) at a pre-Grammy Awards red carpet party in January. “The experience was surreal.
When I went for my first rehearsal, I was so confused because there were so many of them. But they work well as a team and the show was lovely,” he recalls.
In addition to his current projects, Misra is working on his debut solo EP which he hopes, as he did when he started out, “will make things bigger”.