Pianist Viraaj Arora’s latest release, ‘The Waltz’, is a sublime, peppy and charming instrumental that both provides and elicits auditorily all the feelings and emotions of a date with your crush.
Based out of Bangalore, Viraaj says the piano has been his instrument since he was about 10. His first solo piano EP, ‘Note to Self’, was released in 2019, and ever since then the artist in him has continued to grow. Since 2020, his creative vision has come to incorporate boldness. The music he creates is arranged with strings, horns, and percussion amongst others. He describes his music as cinematic, and rightfully so. The Waltz does sound like something out of a Pixar soundtrack.
When describing his latest composition, he says: “It’s the first ‘happy song’ I’ve written. I remember playing the beginning at my parent’s place and my dad popped his head into my room to ask “What’s that?!” I said it was just something I was writing and he said “I love it! It’s the first happy song I’ve ever heard you write!” The following year, I moved out to my own place. I ended up finishing the song there and decided to add a string ensemble to it. You will hear bells, a violin, violas, and cellos painting the piece as the percussion (played by Rohit P.S) and bass (played by Alan Santosh) embrace the piece like a hug.“
Further talking about the music video, he goes on: “The Waltz is a story acknowledging that there exists a version of ourselves that once used to hear the music – the version of ourselves that has a skip in our step. It acknowledges the truth that we feel burnt out in our day-to-day lives, but also rages against the idea that we lose the capacity to feel real connections – to our surroundings, to people, to art, and to ourselves.“
Q. What motivated you to create your first “happy song”?
I was taking a 2-week break from work and had just got back from a vacation. This was back in August, 2018. My heart was light, my mind emptied off responsibilities. I sat at the piano in my room at my parent’s place and started writing this.
Q. How has the lockdown transformed your creative process?
Actually, the lockdown was a huge boon to this for me, but not in the way that one would expect. The expectation is that there is more time to write because we were home all the time. However, it wasn’t that as much for me. I found solace in the fact [that] the world had come to a stand still. While there were heavily adverse effects to this, I somehow felt safer and calmer. The world had stopped racing, urgently moving around in traffic, honking, burning. It started sitting still – thinking, letting each other breathe, and the air around them.
Q. Has your family been supportive of your endeavours?
Absolutely! Music or otherwise. I’ve been lucky enough to be born into a family [that] has given me the liberties I’ve needed, and let[s] me earn the ones I’ve wanted. Dad’s often said he wishes he was a musician. He dreams about which home theatre system or music system to buy next, and updates me and my sisters on his current favourite Ariana Grande song frequently.
Q. If you could have ‘The Waltz’ featured in a musical, which one would it be?
Oof. Great question. I’m thinking of Mary Poppins. I love that musical, and the movie. Honestly, any musical with a fair bit of whimsy during a Christmas setting is ideal. I wish for this song to be an auditory bonfire.
Q. What is one word you would use to describe this piece?
Q. What does the future look like for your music career?
Tough, but beautiful, if I can crack it. I want to play live and give people a really immersive, almost cinematic experience. Tough, because I’m an indie artist, playing instrumental music, aspiring towards a small orchestral set-up in India. I have to create the space, the experience and nail it every time. I want this music to be used in film, but I want to perform it at theatres for people – make them feel it. Kind of like a Hans Zimmer concert.
Dreamy, cinematic and warm, Viraaj’s ‘The Waltz’ is bound to leave you with a smile on your face. It is accompanied with a spirited music video. Find the full video here: