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How A Breakup Inspired Mali’s New Song ‘Ashes’

The track is the Mumbai-based singer-songwriter’s first release since her 2021 debut album ‘Caution to the Wind’
Maalavika Mali has also performed as a playback singer for Tamil films and has contributed to the soundtracks such as Harris Jayaraj’s “Iru Mugan” (2016) and Anirudh Ravichander’s “Vivegam” (2017).
Last year, Chennai-bred and Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Maalavika Manoj aka Mali released her eight-track full-length debut album Caution to the Wind. The release sealed the musician’s reputation as one of the prominent singer-songwriters in the country as she also bagged a spot on Forbes India’s 30 Under 30 list for 2021 and even graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar India’s October-November 2022 issue. Although Mali has been regular with releases since 2016, she’s recently had her longest dry spell without sharing any fresh material. The answers for not dropping new music are heard within the artist’s just-released melancholic yet lush and uplifting track called “Ashes.”

Mali says, “I had actually written the song before Caution to the Wind was out. There was a lot going on then and my objective was to see the album release through despite it. I’d made a demo which I sat on for a while and then we fleshed the whole song out just a few weeks ago in a day’s time.”

Produced by Aria Nanji, the track also includes breathy guitar parts from Jishnu Guha aka Short Round and delicate cymbal playing by Jehangir Jehangir (of ska outfit The Fanculos). On her part, Mali handles synths and piano duties as her poignant vocals standout throughout the track. Lyrically, the singer-songwriter has penned some of her most heartfelt lyrics, such as, “Can’t stand the sight of my reflection anymore/A walking callous numb from skin to the core/Hope you’re happier now than you were last year/Now the flames put out and I have only ashes to inhale.”
Last year, Chennai-bred and Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Maalavika Manoj aka Mali released her eight-track full-length debut album Caution to the Wind. The release sealed the musician’s reputation as one of the prominent singer-songwriters in the country as she also bagged a spot on Forbes India’s 30 Under 30 list for 2021 and even graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar India’s October-November 2022 issue. Although Mali has been regular with releases since 2016, she’s recently had her longest dry spell without sharing any fresh material. The answers for not dropping new music are heard within the artist’s just-released melancholic yet lush and uplifting track called “Ashes.” Mali says, “I had actually written the song before Caution to the Wind was out. There was a lot going on then and my objective was to see the album release through despite it. I’d made a demo which I sat on for a while and then we fleshed the whole song out just a few weeks ago in a day’s time.”

Produced by Aria Nanji, the track also includes breathy guitar parts from Jishnu Guha aka Short Round and delicate cymbal playing by Jehangir Jehangir (of ska outfit The Fanculos). On her part, Mali handles synths and piano duties as her poignant vocals standout throughout the track. Lyrically, the singer-songwriter has penned some of her most heartfelt lyrics, such as, “Can’t stand the sight of my reflection anymore/A walking callous numb from skin to the core/Hope you’re happier now than you were last year/Now the flames put out and I have only ashes to inhale.”
Stream “Ashes” on Spotify below and on other platforms.
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