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News |  23 Jan 2018 17:49 |  By RnMTeam

My dream is to make my own version of "Vande Mataram" with an all women crew: Merlin D'souza

MUMBAI: The only pianist after Yanni to have performed at the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the most respected women composers, Merlin D'souza is an epitome of what all Goans are known for, Joie de Vivre. Even when she talks, she speaks music.

"Like every typical Goan Catholic home, my home also had strong influences of music. My father, a folk musician himself from Goa, made sure that his children were trained in music. It was mandatory. I too started enjoying it, once I started learning," says D’souza.

She further adds, "I have been learning since I was 14. While I was getting more and more attracted to Jazz and Pop, my teacher, Mrs. Blanche Viegas, insisted that I complete my formal education in music and acquire a diploma in the same discipline." The advice proved to be of great benefit, considering she worked as an arranger soon for some of the blockbusters and some A-line commercials.

When she was in college, Merlin composed music for many plays, one of them was Artaban, based on a story a fiction story from Reader's Digest. What is also interesting about the play was its star cast. "Though a couple of years senior to my batch, Salman Khan was a part of that play. In fact, half the film kids residing in Bandra vicinity were a part of it," recollects the musician.

As she grew up she explored every medium for audio and visual - theater, advertising and films too.

"I love advertising as a field. In fact, a lot of people around me call me a frustrated copywriter," she adds jokingly. A heavy portfolio in advertising, she has composed and arranged music for brands like Raymonds and Vistara. 

She also arranged the score for movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Road to name a few. When asked what she enjoys the most-advertising, movies or theatre, she adds immediately, "All of them, but theatre never left. Also, live shows give me a different rush as there is no retake, but it trains me for my studio life, as when a producer says that he/she didn't like a certain line, I am all trained to fix it on the spot and almost immediately."

In the pipeline is an untitled musical that is ready with a bound script but is vying for a sponsor. The musical is a unique concept and has musical influences from all four zones of India-North, South, East and West and is based on the raging topic of "Swacch Bharat".

"I am really looking forward to this one as it promises to be a fun ride with names like Ashley Lobo for dance involved. The script is completely out of the box and composing songs for it would be exciting," reveals the singer-composer.

Adding further, Merlin says, "Apart from the music I have been doing, I also have had the privilege of exploring each genre of music and look forward to doing the same. I travelled extensively with Shubha Mudgal for shows and understood the nuances of Thumri and traditional bandishes, which helped me a great deal."

Earlier in January, Merlin did a show commemorating the women achievers in the field of Aviation and Aerospace and presented a song called Laadli.

Her Son Rhys is also following the footsteps of the family and is into music, "His grandfather (Merlin's Father in Law) was the most sought-after music arranger of the yore. Most of ace music directors like O P Nayyar, would insist for him to be a part and he has been a part of films like Mera Naam Joker and many more. So, it was a part of growing up for Rhys and he is very good at what he does. Also, I think he has more discipline than me."

She further shares her plans with excitement, "I have many things coming up. For yet to be launched app, my band Indie Divas will be performing in around 13-14 languages, plus the musical preps are on. I also wish to have my own version of Vande Mataram, but with a slight twist that it should be produced end-to-end by an all women crew."

We can’t wait to see this all-women version of Vande Mataram and more music coming from the music wizard.