Prateek Kuhad

Thalia Hall

1807 S Allport St


17 June
Prateek Kuhad
Schedule Fri, 17 Jun 2022  7:00 PM Venue Thalia Hall
1807 South Allport Street
Chicago, IL 60608

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For just over a decade, Prateek Kuhad has been quietly carving out a
unique role for himself as a globally recognized pop musician from
India. Originally from the northern city of Jaipur, Kuhad, who sings in
Hindi and English, easily connects with fans of all ages and
backgrounds. Praised by Rolling Stone India as “one of the country’s
leading singer-songwriters,” Kuhad found a new wave of global
recognition in 2019 when former President Barack Obama added the
heartfelt breakup ballad “cold/mess” to his annual list of favorite
songs. Following his acclaimed 2021 Hindi EP, Shehron Ke Raaz, Kuhad now
arrives with his third studio album, The Way That Lovers Do, via
Elektra Records.

Kuhad, who cites Elliott Smith as a major
influence, did not necessarily set out to shatter conceptions of popular
Indian music, which is generally embedded in Bollywood film culture.
Growing up in Jaipur, Kuhad began playing guitar as a teenager and
listened to his parents’ Cliff Richard and Harry Belafonte CDs. Through
his older sister, he found contemporary pop tapes and CDs of the
Backstreet Boys and other ‘90s Top 40 radio fare, but it wasn’t until he
moved to New York to attend college where he really began to blossom as
a musician, playing local shows around the city in the early ‘10s.

the years since, Kuhad moved back to India but has continuously spent
time playing and recording in numerous US cities. To that end, The Way
That Lovers Do features 11 brand-new tracks about human love,
friendship, and connectivity, recorded at Seattle’s secluded Bear Creek
Studio with Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Vance Joy). Each song, written
over the last three years, is elegant and intricately layered,
highlighting Kuhad’s whisper-soft tenor.

Earning comparisons to
indie balladeers like Sufjan Stevens and Jose Gonzalez, Kuhad has
generated universal praise for his pop and folk-driven songs about love
and desire in all its forms. The Way That Lovers Do continues this
journey, looking at deep affection through the lens of romance and
friendship. Initially, after being dubbed Heartbreak Kid in a
magazine, Kuhad wasnt sure he wanted to keep writing love songs. But
when the pandemic set in in 2020, that kind of forced me to slow down,”
he says. “I realized I should just do what I want to do. There are no
rules here.

Conceptually, the album seeks to break down and
understand what it means to be a “lover.” Opening cut “All I Need”
delicately layers Kuhad’s vocals as he asks a lover to be vulnerable
with him. “I want you to know/ That I did try/ To open your heart/ And
break in inside,” Kuhad admits.

But The Way That Lovers Do does
not only explore the formation and dissolution of romantic
relationships. Among the songs in Kuhad’s latest collection is one about
friendship. The deceptively light and sweet sounding, “Favorite Peeps”
describes a low point in the singer’s life where he was grappling with
suicidal ideation. “I realized how your friends and your family and
people who love you – they can really help you push through the bad
thoughts in your head,” Kuhad reveals. “And being there for them feels
like a responsibility that gets you back on track.”

“It’s not just
the fact that theyre helping you through an emotional situation,” he
adds. “But also the fact that everybodys going through stuff. I value
them being in my life so much.”

Later, the electric piano-led
lead single “Just A Word” finds Kuhad exploring new sonic territory, as
he rolls out a silky R&B melody, complete with finger snaps and a
mid-tempo groove. “I wanted to write something that was a bit more pop
compared to all the folksy stuff that I was writing before,” Kuhad
recalls. “I just wrote it for fun and forgot about it. Then I was in LA
doing a session with a songwriter friend of mine. We were going through
older stuff on my phone, and she was like, ‘That’s really cool.’ So I
started thinking about the song again.”

In addition to trying out
new sounds, The Way That Lovers Do is Kuhad’s most authentic album to
date. “I experimented with sounds and production techniques that Ive
never done before,” he says. Part of the reason had to do with the fact
that Kuhad’s longtime backing band were unable to secure visas, leaving
Kuhad more or less alone to figure out what The Way That Lovers Do would
sound like. Spending two months in rural Washington, about 20 minutes
outside of Seattle, Kuhad for the first time was writing and recording
away from the circle of musicians he was accustomed to being around
during the recording process. Ultimately, this ended up being
“liberating” for Kuhad, if only because it forced him to adapt and learn
to work with a fresh set of collaborators. “Literally every single
person there, Id never met before, they had no idea who I was,” he
says. “So it felt like I could do whatever I wanted.

“This record
feels like the most ‘me’ in that sense,” he leaves off. “Especially in
terms of the sound and the production, it really is exactly what I
wanted to do.”

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