Hailed by Rolling Stone India as “one of the country’s leading singer-songwriters,” Prateek Kuhad has enjoyed a starmaking turn on the global stage in recent years, becoming the first Indian artist to sign with Elektra Records and even landing on the playlist of former US president Barack Obama. But with his newest collection, Shehron Ke Raaz, Kuhad returns his Indian roots, recording in Bombay and singing in Hindi as he explores the intimate, often hidden worlds that lovers create for themselves.

Shehron Ke Raaz translates to ‘Secrets of Cities,’” says Kuhad, “and that’s what these songs are all about. Big cities have countless stories of lovers lost in their own little worlds, and while their particular corner of the city may be small in the grand scheme of things, their emotional universe is large and all-encompassing.”

Standing in stark contrast to the heartache and longing of Kuhad’s 2018 breakout collection, cold/mess, Shehron Ke Raaz is a relentlessly romantic work of commitment, devotion, and infatuation. The songs here are hushed and tender, with sparse, delicate arrangements and soft, breathy vocals, and the production is similarly subtle and nuanced, calling to mind everything from Jose Gonzalez to Sufjan Stevens in its elegant honesty. Though Kuhad sings in Hindi on the record, there’s a sweetness to his delivery that transcends language and culture, and the result is a dreamy, understated, and profoundly moving EP that speaks to the kind of fundamentally human desires that bind us all.

“This EP explores love in a very gentle and personal manner,” says Kuhad. “The stories are hidden, and they belong to those who wish to participate in them. The music attempts to represent hope, mystery, and wonder in the most beautiful way possible.”

While Kuhad may be a household name in his native country these days (he’s consistently one of India’s most streamed independent artists, and his recent single, “Kasoor,” became the first independently released track to hit #1 on Apple Music there), the truth is that he was actually something of a late bloomer when it came to music. After an unsuccessful attempt at lessons as a youngster, he signed up for a guitar class in high school, but that, too, ended in failure, and it wasn’t until he moved to New York City and enrolled at NYU that things really began to click.

“I discovered Elliott Smith my freshman year,” Kuhad recalls, “and his music changed everything for me. After that, I started listening to Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie along with newer artists like Laura Marling and Fleet Foxes, and it made me want to get serious about the guitar so I could start writing my own songs.”

Liberated by the limitless possibility he discovered in New York, Kuhad took a leap of faith and began pursuing music full time upon his return to India. A pair of early EPs (one in English, one in Hindi) put him on the map, and his full-length debut, ‘In Tokens and Charms,’ was an instant hit. The record earned Kuhad an MTV Europe Music Award, Indie Album of the Year honors from iTunes, and the title of Best Pop Artist at the Radio City Freedom Awards. Kuhad’s song “Oh Love,” meanwhile, captured first place in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition, which had previously helped launch artists like Gotye and Passenger to global audiences. Soon, Kuhad was selling out auditorium and amphitheater dates across India, landing arena support slots with the likes of Alt-J and Mike Posner, and traveling the world for headline and festival performances in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2019, he sold nearly 40,000 tickets on his biggest international tour to date, and in 2020, he penned music for multiple Netflix series.

After years of fully independent releases, Shehron Ke Raaz marks Kuhad’s debut collection for Elektra Records (a part of the Warner Music Group globally) and signals the start of a thrilling new chapter in his already remarkable career.

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