“I wanted to be a rock star ever since I was a teenager,” says concert pianist, singer/songwriter, teacher, choir director, and the Founder-Trustee of The Majolly Music Trust, Neecia Majolly. And while she may be way past her teens, Neecia, who believes that it is never too late to pursue one’s dreams is realising hers through The Majolly Project (TMP).
“Growing up as a teenager I loved to tune into the UK and US Top 40 songs. I would often imagine myself up on stage, rocking it. Although I did try forming various bands in my youth, they never seemed to work out or last long. TMP, what I call my one-woman army band, has been a long time coming. TMP works with a mixture of classical, electronic and progressive rock. People often wonder at my various avatars – classical musician, music teacher and a rock diva, who is into Goth,” grins Neecia.
Her latest Indie album Please, which was released in May 2017, focuses on alternative rock. “The album is a collaboration with various other artistes although I wrote all the songs myself. It is not a feel good album as the songs touch on women’s empowerment, politics, environment and realities of life. For instance, if Whitebone is on ivory poaching, Please is about a woman trying to say No,” says Neecia who has also released four singles, an album on Western classical music – The Renaissance Begins and a piano album, Gold Coast Spa, released by Universal Audio, USA. TMP won two Global Music Awards for its debut single Dark Room.
“As you can see, my range of music is varied, much like my alter egos.”
But then she did grow up in a household that had everything from the latest Malayalam and Hindi songs to classical Bach and Mozart playing in the background.
“Both my parents were into music. While mom, Molly Joseph Mathews, was into Malayalam and Hindi songs, dad, who was keen I become a Western classical musician, played a lot of Western classical music. In fact, my father, Joseph Mathews, started playing music by Beethoven, Handel, Chopin and the like when I was just 10 days old hoping I would fall in love with its regal notes.” And fall in love she did.
“Music has always been the largest part of my life. It is something I truly cannot live without — music truly is food for my soul. I knew even in my teens that I wanted a career in music, regardless of whether I made it as a pop star,” says Neecia, who started off trying to build a name for herself in the Western classical music industry in Delhi before moving to Bangalore, where she made her mark as a music instructor and performer.
Her The Majolly Music Trust trains students in Western vocal music, the piano, guitar and violin. “When I first started The Majolly Music Trust, many did not know the difference between a keyboard and piano. Students joined the classes due to their parents insistence. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of students who are actually serious about studying music to a concert level, and have gone abroad to pursue their further studies in music (there is no conservatoire of music in India for western music). Right now, there is a trend amongst youngsters to learn Western vocals.”
Neecia also leads choir groups Madrigals, Etc which specialises in music from the Renaissance period and the Camerata, The Majolly Music Trust Choir, which has a unique choice of repertoire.
“Yes, I do have my finger in several pies but that is only because I love music and the travel associated with my line of work,” says Neecia, who has performed in venues across India, Nepal, South East Asia, Sweden and Australia.
Neecia is currently on a Western classical music tour, which will conclude at Nagaland on November 26. The tour which began in Kuching, Malaysia, took her to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Goa and Kathmandu. She performed in Thiruvananthapuram recently in a concert organised by Clef and Canto Music School.