In the studio with Kavya Trehan

There’s never a dull moment around Kavya Trehan. We sat down with the 25-year-old musician, model, actor (and the second curator of Nico Radio) at her Delhi home and talked about her music, her style, her cats, and more.

Here’s an edited excerpt from our conversation.

Kavya, let’s take it from the top. How did you get into music?
I think the school that I went to played a very big role in establishing music as a place of expressing myself. I have an older sister and a very musical mother, so in the family we were always singing, always harmonising, plus our school really pushed us to do public productions. So from the very beginning, music and positivity went hand in hand for me. It’s something that I learnt at school, and was also inculcated at home.

And what school is that?
It’s called Mirambika. It’s a free progress school so no uniforms. You can dress as you want, steal your dad’s clothes if you needed to, and have coloured hair and pierced eyebrows at age 13. But don’t do it guys, bad decision.

Now you’re 25 and a musician, an actor, a model… are we missing something?
Oh, I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve been a part of advertising, interior decor and jewellery making. Not to forget, I actually wanted to be a clinical psychologist and tie myself down to academia for seven whole years. But yes, right now, I’m pursuing music, acting, and modelling because music is a very expensive passion for a middle class kid like me. Also, interior decor because spaces excite me a lot.

Between all of these professions, which one do you think is the easiest for you, and which one takes the most amount of effort?
Well, all things take a lot of effort but of these, the easiest would be modelling. I love you models. I think you guys know way too much and I’m just taking advantage of being a musician and then having a little bit of a personality. But with me, it’s the makeup artists, hair stylists and photographers who’re doing most of the work. Toughest would be interior decor because that depends on your clients. Therefore I pursue music, which is like equilibrium for me.

Are there any instruments you can play?
Lots!

Name them.
I’m not a maestro. There’s no Dr. L Subramaniam here but I started off with playing the Carnatic violin. That got stolen so heart was broken; never picked it up again. Really regret it. I can play a little bit of the piano. I can play the drums, the guitar and the ukulele. So I feel I’m mostly a string instrumentalist, and a percussionist.

Do you follow a ritual just before you go up on the stage to perform?
Yes. No drugs, no drinking. I’m sober two weeks before, so it’s like a cleanse. Just a lot of water.

Let’s create a dummy’s guide: how do you even make a playlist? Are there any rules to follow?
Well, there are no rules to music. If you want to get technical, there’s bpm [beats per minute] which is tempo, there’s the pitch at which the song is, and some people like to go from one pitch to another, one bpm to another. But I feel if you want to make a playlist, just gather all the songs you’ve been listening to, decide on an emotion, and express it however you want. Just lay it all out!