Rising Corner on spreading mental health awareness through their music

About two years ago, after finding out about Prince’s passing away, Suma Sundararajan wrote the lyrics for a song called ‘Corner’. She was bothered by how success is perceived and how there is no way of knowing what is going on in a person’s life. She wrote the song in an attempt to put the message across and shared it with Neill Braganza. He gave a voice to her words, and Rising Corner was formed. “So one day I was doodling over the guitars, and a tune happened to arise as I was reading the lyrics and it became a song and Suma took that song and made it into Rising Corner,” says Neill. 

Neill and Suma have come together to work on the project Rising Corner to spread awareness on mental health and wellbeing. Suma explains that with their songs, they want to highlight how these issues can impact everyone across the human race, and in turn the ecosystem. They aim to reach out to youngsters with their music, show them why it is important to be talking about these issues and thus, try to make an impact. Neill adds, “people deserve more than what they feel in times of distress, and that’s the purpose, to help humanity one song at a time. As far as the end goal goes, I don’t think there’s an end to this. The attempt will be on until we feel we’ve made a difference.”

Neill and Suma - Rising CornerImage Credits | Sumukh Bhardwaj

This is the first time that Neill and Suma are working together on a project. Individually, they have accomplished more than most do in their careers of choice. Suma has been writing for a very long time; she believes it’s her truest form of expression. Along the way, she did engineering and worked very closely on issues plaguing rural India. “All of these experiences reaffirmed my belief on how muddled our society is. And my writing continued, continues,” Suma says confidently. Neill founded his Pop/Punk rock band Neill Braganza Music in 2013 and had been actively performing with them ever since. As a part of Rising Corner especially, he has learned a lot musically. He explains, “the writing process of every song has challenged me as a composer and changed my whole approach on songwriting and how each song needs to be felt straight from the heart.”

Based on their experiences and general observation, they wrote the Rising Corner songs and gave them visuals that would reach farther. To create impactful content, they took the help of budding cinematographer and director Sumukh Bhardwaj. Suma has been taking care of the production of videos, working closely with Bhardwaj on everything from conceptualising to completion of the end product. “Co-ordinating and getting timelines on time isn’t really my strong forte,” confesses Neill. 

In June, the two released ‘Refill’, the fourth in the Rising Corner series, which will comprise of a total of five songs, all accompanied with videos. At the centre of their latest music video is substance abuse; it highlights how the present generation deals with drugs. Suma explains, “The video for Refill is a metamorphosis. We wanted to keep the cause of addiction close to the source and also have help coming from the source itself. We often wonder what can trigger addiction, and sometimes the answer is in knowing what that thing which takes priority over you is. In the video, the boy wonders the same, and there it begins.” “This song reaches out to my soul, makes me feel everything in life has second chances,” Neill adds. 

The Indian independent industry is only now starting to find more patrons who understand that they need to support upcoming artists. We are far from success on that front. In a scenario like this, it is real passion that drives talented musicians to put their best foot forward. “My two cent here is passion, focus and quality. We are doing this, because this is our duty, as a writer, as a musician, as a cinematographer, as a doodler, as a web designer,” says Suma. The financial and time-bound issues of making music videos were always there, but Neill and Suma found like-minded people to work with them and kept pushing through. 

Talking about all of their released material, Suma explains the purpose of each song on the Rising Corner album. The first song, ‘Corner’, is a deep song with which they wanted to surface the questions we are faced with when we are pushed into a Corner. The second single, ‘A Little Bit’, is a light and easy track. The simplicity of the song will even be attractive to and comprehensible by children and help them appreciate the little things in life. ‘Wake Up’, the third song, talks about not taking anyone for granted. “Each day that we get through is because of others in it. We must be grateful,” she adds. ‘Refill’ was born when Suma chanced upon Flea’s article on addiction and how he took control of his life.

“(Neill) he gave life to my words accidentally. Never imagined that before and now Rising Corner is our baby. We want the baby to grow, at least I do,” Suma says with positivity. Both her and Neill are hopeful that Rising Corner is just getting started and won’t be over anytime soon. The fifth and the last Rising Corner song is currently in the making. 

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