Reviews

Album Review: Indigo

 
Learning piano through the British school of music since the age of 4, Anjali Ray’s early musical foundation was later strengthened by the contrast of her Indian vocal training, enabling her to begin writing her own songs and communicating in a way words alone never can. After performing in venues throughout Chicago and Los Angeles, Anjali began a career as an engineer, which enabled her to embrace her greatest gift to date – motherhood. She recently seized the opportunity to create a full length album of songs inspired by her experiences as a wife and mother. The title in question is “Indigo,” with 10 first class pieces of music.
 
The CD starts with So Long, which is a humble beginning for what comes alive as the disc wears on. It’s just not near the best track but the disc has to start somewhere. It really starts to take off right afterward on Indigo Boy, with its ever weird arrangement that somehow miraculously works. It almost goes over the top with melody all over the scales, but it never loses ground as it flies high with excellence. If you’re going to be an adult contemporary singer, this is how it’s done. There are some influences but nothing too blatant. The songwriting reminds me more of Sarah McLachlan than anyone else, and I like her. The lyrics on this album are fascinating as well, every song tells a story of intelligent word. Track 3, Immortalize Me, is yet another beautiful track with some of the best singing this side of Billy Holiday. And Float is just as good in its completely different way. I’ve really never heard anything quite like some of this, and plenty like it as well. There is a perfect balance between vocal majesty and songwriting that of which could not go together any better than achieved here. Things take a turn with the slinky strings of The First Day, with its battery recharging effect.
 
The Indian factor makes this one all it can be, I can imagine a bonfire burning with Indian drummers sitting around in a circle with Anjali singing in the round. It’s a masterstroke, simply mind blowing in every way. This album is full of great sounds, and The Best Is Yet To Come and Fear stand out among some the best on offer, as both contrast one another within the same confines. I’m not a big fan of the cover but I wouldn’t judge this book by it. I really am just left wanting more from this extraordinary artist.


 
An artist influenced by Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos and based on one of the most exotic places in the world should get anyone excited immediately and personally I had my own high expectations before even listen to the record, not only for the location but for the two artists as if you have read some of my reviews you would know I am a big fan of both of Anjali’s inspirations and when any artist or band sounds like Tori, they end up being really interesting – glad to say she didn’t disappointed, not even a little.
 
Indigo is an exciting journey into the mind of a creative artist like no other, “So Long” is the first track in the album and immediately her musical foundations and training is evident; however for me this record really kicks off with titled track, it´s perhaps the most interesting single thanks for her outstanding and unique vocals that blends so well with the rhythms from her motherland India (especially in the verses) and jazz (in the chorus). As you listen through the album, there´s not a trace of doubt you are listening to perhaps one of the most talented artist of our generation.
 
Another unique thing that stands about her is her dynamic lyrics and the simplicity in it doesn´t really match –at least for me- with the music, I mean, I would totally understand if the lyrics were about some complex idea or this was some kind of a concept album, but usually when someone sings about this type of themes and topics like motherhood and personal struggles they don´t usually bother in being as sonically captivating blending many different elements together and paying attention to the details as Anjali does.
 
There´s really no bad comments about this record or the artist, and seriously whoever has them they should run to their doctors right away because there´s something dead serious with their ears or worst, their heads. The production work is incredible, the way she finds the way to easily drift from one genre to the other is impressive plus we will all have to agree Jazz music isn´t one of the most popular genres out there as it´s definitely not for everybody, however Ray really finds the way to make it appeal to a broad audience thanks to the mix of pop sensibility and dynamic lyrics many can relate to.
 

Overall, I would dare to say Anjali comes as some kind of music messiah at a vital time, a much needed answer to the western world’s lack of mainstream honesty. This is one of those rare occasions where album actually hits all the right notes, it´s emotional and entertaining at the same time.


 
“Indigo” is a modern work of art.
 
First of all I love Indian music, and although this isn’t hardcore Indian music it does keep a healthy amount of Indian inflections. The CD starts with one of the lesser inspiring tracks on So Long, but at the end of the day it is still well placed. It’s the next track, Indigo Boy, which must be heard to be believed. This isn’t some over-layered pop tune it’s a massive cultural ride. This track is a thing of major beauty indeed. It’s probably the overall best number on the disc, but between the others it is a hard call, as they’re all well written and played songs. I do detect a bit of Beatles in there but perhaps that is how those sounds influenced her, because she does have pop as well as jazz prowess. The next track, Immortalize Me, is also wildly interesting for a ballad, as they can tend to be limited that way, but once again the vocal delivery here is simply to die for. It’s really over at this point and it might as well play all day. There are no Indian influences on this one, but it’s just one of those moments where it doesn’t call for that taste. Track 4 is called Float, and it meshes sitar with modern social factors and even mentions Facebook. It’s not easy combining this organic sort of campfire sound with computer platforms, but it is 2015, not 1968 after all. Change is inevitable, and that is one vibe you get from this album. It seems to ring of departure that way. And this is another winning track that has a tropical feel to it, almost like a love ritual. This is about as good as it gets for female jazz style pop singers, because there simply aren’t enough around anymore. Just like with this artist, they’re not standing tall these days. This journey continues with the fantastic The First Day, which takes the cake for originality here. And not every song here is as completely original as this one it’s among three or four that swing this way. You have to love it as it carries on with the best adult contemporary artists to be found. These songs will calm you down, get you dancing or just plain thinking. It’s music that does all three. Listen no further than The Best Is Yet To Come for proof of what’s really going on here.
 
Score: 10/10

 
East meets west in perfect harmony with New Delhi’s Anjali Ray as she releases Indigo Boy. Influenced by the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Sade, and Tori Amos, this Hindi artist understands the irresistible mix of pop sensibilities and dynamic lyricism. Citing her extensive training in playing classical piano, Indian Hindustani classical vocal training, and even jazz, Anjali provides both bluesy and ballad-y. It’s perfect listening whether at the jazz club, the spa, cooling down after a long day or, heck, at TJ Maxx where Natalie Imbruglia and Ingrid Michaelson are played twenty-four/seven.
 
Anjali’s musical foundation and training is evident through the album as her vocals and songwriting balance well, neither one outweighing the other. Indigo Boy is an honest result, formulated by stories of struggle only an experienced songwriter could endure with clarity. “So Long” begins this sonically global fusion fare, an upbeat yet lyrically painful offer that speaks a universal truth. She sings: “Then I hold you close to me and now I’m torn/Will you ever wake up…I can only love you for so long.” It rips your heart out by surprise as Anjali details love nearing the end of its rope. “I’m a rolling thunder/I’m a river moving on/I’m the night that vanishes into the dawn,” she continues, utilizing images of nature that help elevate this to an almost spiritual experience.
 
Anjali takes a step back to show her vulnerability with album stand out “Fear,” which sounds like it belongs with the best of female songwriting in the 1970’s alongside Joan Baez but more so belongs on your IPod. Here, against a simple piano instrumental Anjali rhythmically coos “I never rattled the chains of my soul/Pulling me under, I can’t see the show/But I chose fear, fear, fear/I chose fear, fear, fear.” This peek inside a haunted soul can once again be felt on “Won’t Let Go.” She asks the listener to “pray for the summer time, pray for a lover’s life,” and there is something about her vibrato lingering as she sings the words “won’t let go” that make you melt. The lyrics become literal.
 
At her most jazzy, “The First Day” does a soul good. Anjali sounds at her most comfortable and right at home when singing the blues. The piano and shakers do a great job on this head nodder as the drums find their way in during the chorus. Through all this, Anjali shines brightest on “Immortalize Me.” Perhaps it’s a statement on the hopeful longevity of her music (which is a personal hope judging by this review). Regardless, the Hindi songstress displays her greatest storytelling, singing: “A perfume on the breeze/ Is gone like ash and dreams/ Unfolding mysteries of life/ Life childhood innocence/ There’s nothing permanent/ But we can cheat the system blind.”
 
Anjali comes at a vital time, a much needed answer to the western world’s lack of mainstream honesty. Indigo Boy knows how to entertainment while making the listener reflect, a skill that too often is one without the other in the music of most artists.

RJ Frometa of Vents Magazine

There isn’t much to be said about Anjali Ray’s background, with very little behind her to tell as a recording artist at this point. This is the first I’ve heard of her but I hope it won’t be the last.
 
The CD starts with the soothing sounds of So Long, with its nice display of percussion that does ring in the arrangement of Sade, but her voice is un-mistakingly her own on this contagious opener.
 
Track 2, Indigo Boy, is an extremely hypnotic number with a very familiar vibe, like you’ve heard this music before but you probably haven’t. This blends Indian themes with pop in a way I’ve never quite heard and it’s all over the place but very together at the same time. Her voice is so pure it’s hard to compare to anyone, as she pulls off a real gem here in this song. This is very hard to not completely like, it’s almost psychedelic but not in the outdated sense.
 
On track 3 she asks to Immortalize Me, and the piano comes in and gives a chance to hear her perfect falsetto. This is a brooding ballad with great feel, harking back to the 70s, reminding of artists like Debbie Boon, but she’s way better, no questioning that. This is another excellent tune, which grabs your attention and throws majestic lyrics around the room.
 
Then we get to Float for a few minutes, with sitar and more acoustic percussive sounds, for yet another hypnotic track. Once again this is another quality track it’s full of social-political lyrics in its message.
 
The First Day is a trip into a more jazzy territory with an almost techno vibe, but that is more of an organic sound than electronic. Nevertheless it is another interesting piece I like very much.
 
The next track The Best Is Yet To Come, is another languid ballad with yet again some fantastic lyrics. Imagine a female Billy Joel on this and the following track, Fear, as both have that piano crooner appeal.
 
Taking the disc out are Won’t Let Go, 21 and Reality, all of which are also compelling songs to sink your ears into at just about anytime day or night. It’s both kick back and relax to, and romantic at the same time. This album is perfect for rainy nights. It loses a point for lack of creative cover art, but it loses nothing more, it’s a fabulous collection by a rare talent.

 
The CD kicks off with So long, but it doesn’t take its opportunity to set fire to the ears, instead it takes a humble front seat and lets the rest do the talking. It’s not a bad opener it just doesn’t stand out like some of the subsequent tracks, starting with track 2 is Indigo Boy, and an epic effort is made to captivate at every turn on this. It’s like something you’ve never heard, as it proceeds to show pop songstresses how it’s done. This is so femininely radical it’s amazing, I love it. Her voice is like no other, it’s that distinctly original. It’s as if she is without peer, as the influences mentioned above are all far behind her somehow in the voice department. Immortalize Me is another great highlight, a slower ballad with killer piano work. These songs all work perfectly as vehicles for her voice, but there are some cooler backings here and there, like on The First Day, where jazz does attempt to seep through, and it is nice touch. And then there is The Best Is Yet To Come, which takes it down a good due notch, as well as on the following track, Fear, both of which are excellent songs. Her voice is so spectacular the songs actually take a back seat to its beauty, but that’s not to rate them beneath her, it’s just that she could probably sing the phone book and not miss a sparkling note. This is a voice that is missing from the static norm, a voice that must be discovered and done all the right stuff with. Just listen to tracks like Reality and Won’t Let Go for evidence of one of the most unique voices to come along in years. It comes highly recommended, you will not be disappointed.
 
Score: 9/10

 
Anjali Ray’s album Indigo offers something more than listening pleasure. It’s a spiritual experience. This isn’t too surprising as she comes from a Hindi background, infusing her music with a Western hemisphere, Asian-fusion sound all her own. There is a warmth to her soothing vocals, both uplifting and seductive. It takes more than one listen to Indigo to truly appreciate the messages in her lyric-driven record. Give the album a first listen for the production alone as well as her haunting voice. Allow the second go to value Anjali’s honest portrayals of heartache, fears, and optimism.
 
While set worlds apart – or at least hemispheres – this East meets West sophistication is elevated by universal themes that folks from every corner of the vast globe can recognize. In a social media-important society and age, not only do human want to feel connected to those on other side of the planet but we’d like to be more recognized than them. “Immortalize Me” understands the fear of death while leaving our accomplishments behind to be savored. We are fame seekers and we know it. “Kiss me while I ask of you, what only you can do, hold me in everlasting size, immortalize me.” It’s like the apprehension of dying comes second to the fear of being forgotten.
 
And speaking of fear, the eclectic album showcasing jazz, pop, and blues all over the map shows Anjali at her strongest vocally with “Fear.” Slow and melodic and altogether haunting, Anjali expresses: “I never rattled the chains on my soul, pulling me under, I can’t see the show…Broken, repentant, the mind twists and turns, the ashes still smolder with lessons I’ve learned.” Whatever she means, her vivid imagery take you on an almost cinematic journey of expression.
 
“21” evokes a nostalgic view of that oh so transitional age. “We climbed aboard,” Anjali begins of a train station memory. “Bound for the stars, you can’t believe that your looks holding out this far” She further sings it’s “too beautiful to explain,” just as this song is too pretty to write about. “So Long” is Anjali’s best written song and radio-friendly track onIndigo. It has a timeless feel that could have been written in the 70’s or 80’s or 90’s or even today. It’s poignant and tragic rolled in one about trying one’s best to love someone with all that she can before having to give up. It’s worth repeated listens.
 
Anjali’s Indigo is a different spin on what should be considered mainstream. Here, the Indian singer hits all the right notes, taking the listener on a train ride across the world with themes, genre, and emotional flight.
 

 
Anjali’s album Indigo is a collection of beautiful songs inspired by her experiences as a wife and as a mother. Her music is an amazing blend of Indian culture, with a modern twist.
 
Anjali Ray is a rare breed. She’s incredibly inspiring, and puts a unique twist on this pop-indian . I took an extra liking to a few of the songs off of her album Indigo and this is why:
 
“So Long,” sounds like an experience of moving on. I love the metaphors Anjali uses in this song, it really brings emotion into how hard it is to move on. Anjali has a beautiful sound and I also like that she incorporates what sounds like bongo drums into this song.
 
“Indigo Boy,” has a really cool ring to it. It sounds very ‘Bolly-wood,” and I really like it. I feel like it’s a song you could get up and move around to. Anjali even incorporates Indian lyrics toward the end of the song and it’s very cool to see her cross-over the two cultures. I also like how spiritual she seems to be, it’s beautiful to listen to her project her thoughts onto the world.
 
“Immortalize Me,” is one of my favorites on the album because it’s so powerful and heartfelt. This song portrays Anjali’s vocals perfectly and it really gives listeners a feel of what her voice can really do. Her vocal range is out of this world. The piano is also played beautifully and it gives such an emotion to the track.
 
If you enjoyed listening to Indigo by Anjali Ray, I suggest you take a look at some similar artists and tracks listed below;
 
Sade – “Smooth Operator”
 
Sarah McLachlan – “I Will Remember You”
 
Tori Amos – “Cornflake Girl”
 
Macy Gray – “First Time”
 
Overall, Anjali Ray is a very talented and well-rounded artist. She gets up close and personal with her listeners and really lets them see inside of her world. That is one of the most important things for artists who want to succeed. Anjali incorporates both her Indian culture and her American culture to give her music a very distinct sound. She gives off an extremely pretty vibe which is probably why a lot of people are drawn to her music. Her use of instrumentals are perfect in every single song on this album. If Anjali keeps doing her thing and continues being herself, there is no doubt in my mind that she will become the next big thing. Her talent and passion to succeed will be enough to carry her over the edge.

By Graham Sclater CEO Tabitha Music Publishing England
 
What do you expect when you hear music from a young lady who was raised in India, now lives in California and, incredibly, is also an engineer?
 
Not one word but two: “She’s fantastic!”
 
Anjali Ray’s music manages to blend the sounds from Asia with the Western world, and it works. Her new album “Indigo” combines both the instrumentation, sounds and production from worlds apart, and with lyrics that are so original. She has something so different you can’t help but love it.
 
Her ten track CD is an eclectic mix of jazz,  blues and mainstream pop, which she is so easily able to carry off with her soulful and rich voice. The production is cleverly understated, and it works, allowing Anjali to use her jazz influenced piano playing and voice and give space for her beautifully crafted songs.
 
Tracks like “Immortalize me” and “So long” set the feel for the album but the Indian influenced tracks like “Indigo boy” “Fear” and the unusual “21” take you on a wonderful journey to another world.
 
“If you like “real” music you will love this.”
 
“Coming to a radio near you very soon.”
 
“Indigo” the first, album from Anjali Ray.
 
Graham Sclater CEO of Tabitha Music Limited England says. “When we heard these songs we had to publish them and be part of this amazing lady’s career.” *****

By Stephen Wrench, creator/producer of the television show “Do I Have A Hit Song“, Nominating and Voting member of the Grammy’s.
 
“When I first heard the music of Anjali Ray I had to listen again and then again. Her vocals drew me in with a warmth that I could feel. Truly an album you can listen to over and over again and never grow tired of.”

By Bryce Wastney, Director of Astonish Me Creative, New Zealand
 
“Her crystal clear vocals and tasteful arrangements make the music of Anjali Ray interesting and unique. This is a good example of a highly accomplished artist blending art & cultural melodies with absolute precision and skill.”