Karan Joseph, 29, lugged around his keyboard wherever he went. “Like it was a guitar,” says Rudy Wallang, Joseph’s friend, colleague and lead guitarist of the popular band Soulmate. “That keyboard was his crutch, his shelter from everything in the world. And when he placed his fingers on those black-and-white keys, he was a genius,” says Wallang about the Mumbai-based musician.
Joseph allegedly committed suicide Saturday morning after leaping out of the window of a 12th-floor apartment in Bandra’s Concord Apartments, where he was staying with friends for the past one month. A leading keyboard player known for his fine jazz improvisations, he left many of his fellow musicians shocked. Joseph had also become popular as The Karan Joseph (Madfingers) Project and played regularly around the country with a plethora of artistes. Joseph’s virtuosity had earned him the moniker Madfingers by his peers. The title and talent placed him in the top echelon of keyboard players in the independent music scene of the country.
The motive behind his alleged suicide is unclear, the police said. He did not leave a suicide note, they added. “A few months ago, the deceased was in Mumbai for a show and met a few people who were very impressed with his playing and invited him to stay with them the next time he was in Mumbai,” said an officer at Bandra police station.
Joseph had been staying at the 12th-floor apartment with four others. The police said at 8:45 am Saturday, Joseph was seated in the living room with his other flatmates, who were all watching news on the television. “The deceased was staring out of the window. Suddenly, he got up and jumped out of it. There was no grill outside the window,” said the officer. Joseph, the police said, was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead upon arrival. Joseph is survived by his parents and brother, who stay in Bengaluru. They arrived in Mumbai Saturday night. The police said his body would be handed over to the family once the post-mortem was completed.
The police are speaking to Joseph’s flatmates, family and friends to understand what could have led him to take his own life. “His flatmates say they did not notice anything unusual about him in the past few days. We have gone through his cellphone and not found anything unusual so far,” said a senior police officer. A case of accidental death has been registered at the Bandra police station.
Joseph played with Soulmate for three years. He was a sessions artiste with many musicians post that. “I had asked him to visit, be with us for a while. My daughter Andrea would always sing with him, hang out with him in Mumbai. He was family. We’ve lost a brilliant musician today,” says Wallang. Musician Vasundhara Vee, Joseph’s friend who performed with him regularly, wept inconsolably. “That people are relating it to depression, things are not that simple. He’d had a very difficult life. He was a very sweet boy and did a lot to keep himself afloat. There were very personal things that he was going through. But he was my friend and I wouldn’t want to talk about them,” she said.
Aditya Balani, who met Joseph in Berklee College of Music, remembers the soul and R&B musician fondly. “He loved his music and was a very happy-go-lucky person. This is a shock,” he said.
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