A self-confessed sucker for romantic comedies, Nitika Rajkumar was hooked on to acclaimed Korean drama Crash Landing On You after a friend recommended it to her. The Chennai singer-songwriter’s first brush with Korean culture was via pop band BTS during the pandemic, which led her to watching Korean shows as well. “Korean dramas have a happy ending, that’s why I like them,” she says.
Her third single “Oh My Dear” was written after ruminating upon a scene from Crash Landing On You, a 2019 series that sees a South Korean businesswoman fall in love with a North Korean army captain. “They kept having to say goodbye to each other and meet by chance, and didn’t know if they were going to see each other again. I was binge-watching the show and waking up every day with an aim to write. I started writing ‘Oh My Dear’ after watching one of the scenes.”
Produced by Ashwin Iyer, the track sees Rajkumar swaying from an easygoing and ruminative tone to being emotional and anguished through the course of the song. The Chennai artist, who has been performing in her city since 2017, has released two singles prior to “Oh My Dear” – “Young Love” and “Silhouettes On The Terrace” in 2021. She says, “The first song I released was last year. The coolest thing was that the day it released – seeing it on my phone and on Spotify – I went, ‘Woah, my song is on Spotify now!’ That was great.” All three songs showcase Rajkumar’s strong pop, soul and R&B leanings, something she built upon while studying western classical music at K.M. College of Music and Technology. The artist is also co-founder of live performance series On That Note, which was started around 2017 to promote independent artists in Chennai. “I didn’t know if I was capable of writing then – I didn’t have ideas and concepts in mind either. I think it was during the pandemic, when we all spent so much time being home, that I took out my book and started writing,” Rajkumar shares.
A performer for many years, getting in the studio was a brand new experience for the artist. “I’ve always said I’m a performer, but I’ve fallen in love with recording. I’m getting used to the whole concept and it’s very exciting,” she adds. Even with Iyer behind the boards at Le Music Studio in Chennai, Rajkumar still had her share of challenges while recording the song. “The whole process went on for a while, because the demo had just me and my ukulele. I didn’t want it to be on just the ukulele – we had a completely different idea for it in the studio. I envisioned it as a pop ballad that was heavier and fuller. We tried a bunch of things, but then Ashwin said, ‘I think you want the simple demo you wrote, I think that’s what’s going to work.’”
That’s around the time when guitarists Mayank Saini and Ashiyan Nujoom stepped in to work on what became the final iteration of the track. Rajkumar says clarity came just as they were flitting between a “heavy version” and her original demo.
Her three singles and a couple of other songs will form Rajkumar’s upcoming debut EP that’s slated for release in June. The thematic threads that tie the untitled five-track EP together are love and romantic relationships, plus the artist’s personal journey through it all. “It’s all about my experiences and all that I’ve learned. I personally relate to ‘Oh My Dear’ too. Plus, I watched Crash Landing On You twice over,” she says with a laugh.
Watch the lyric video for “Oh My Dear” below. Stream on more platforms here.