There’s something about his voice that makes you play Prateek Kuhad’s songs on loop, something that warrants a few extra minutes on his Soundcloud page and a long drive till Olive in Mehrauli to hear him sing. The 24-year-old’s toned down, minimalistic voice, paired with complex guitar arrangements whisper the simplest truths. Come January, he releases his debut full-length album titled In Tokens & Charms. “I began recording the songs earlier this year, wrote most of them in the last six-eight months. But some tracks are older. I realised that I have more English songs than Hindi, which is why this one’s in English,” says Kuhad.
The singer-songwriter gained prominence with the release of his debut EP titled Raat Raazi last year. “Abhi toh shaam baaki hai, aur raat raazi hai/ abhi toh baatein baaki hai, aur raat raazi hai” hums Kuhad in the eponymous single from the EP. His nostalgia-ridden, warm melodies touch the right chords. Through all his songs, love is a common theme. “Either the songs are personal and talk about my relationships over the last few years or they’re about my opinion on love and emotions in general,” says Kuhad, who shuttles between Delhi and Jaipur. The 10-track album features Nikhil Vasudevan on the percussions, Sahil Warsi on the double bass, Jacob Cohen on the cello and Danny Severance on the violin.
There is Flames, the first track on the album, which Kuhad says is about love and separation. There’s also Oh love, a song about a lover’s plea. “I wrote a poem called Be at Ease in 2012. It’s a song in the album now and is about how people look for internal balance in life and how they try to achieve it,” says Kuhad, who went to New York to mix the album.
It was in New York that Kuhad began singing and writing, four years ago. “I was studying Maths and Economics in New York University and in my second year, I lived alone in a room. That’s when I began writing because there was so much alone time,” says Kuhad, who released a few songs on the side. One of them, Raat raazi, received rave reviews and he got invited to perform at the Delhi edition of NH7 Weekender in 2012. Kuhad quit his job at a financial consulting firm in NY soon after, and moved back to India to pursue music. After performing at The Gig Week in Delhi last week, Kuhad travels to Pune and Mumbai this month with a box full of old and new originals.