• Ellie Sanders

Prateek Kuhad (Elektra)

Updated: Jan 8

What does it take for one raised in Jaipur India on Pop Music and Bollywood to break out half a world away at heavily-saturated SXSW as NPR’s Artist to Watch? Or place first at the International Songwriting Competition and land a deal with Elektra? For Prateek Kuhad, discovering Elliott Smith as a Math and Economics freshman at NYU reset the trajectory of his life to one pointed at the inevitability of becoming a household name as one of India’s most prominent singer-songwriters.

U.S. audiences are now discovering why Kuhad is hailed in such favorable terms through his most recent six-song EP cold/mess. His writing masters the minimal as each careful word supports its weight and nothing is superfluous. His ethereal voice quakes with heartbreak while light and airy music soothes the burn. This is exemplified in the single “cold/mess,” where Kuhad sings, “I wish I could leave you my love but my heart is a mess,” while the listener is lulled into a delicate sway. Simple string arrangements, stripped-down guitars, and muffled kick drum backbeats lend the EP little hints of Sufjan Stevens or Belle and Sebastian as the EP grows to a climax with the tracks “for your time” and “fighter” before winding back down with “100 words.”

As for the writing, it’s not necessarily that Kuhad has experienced more relationship drama than anyone, as he explains to Huffington Post India, “I don’t have any experiences that are very different than yours. We go through similar struggles with different degrees of intensity. I just happen to write songs about them. They don’t contribute to my music in a disproportionately high manner. Ultimately, it’s your discipline and commitment that makes you a good artist, not the heartbreaks.”

“cold/mess” was introduced to radio audiences during Elektra Music Group’s October Live From Everywhere showcase and has been captivating listeners ever since finding heavy rotation at WFUV, KXT, WRLT