Saturday, 2 July 2016

Mohini Dey: Prodigy talks about being different and the excitement of working with Steve Vai

Three recent articles featuring the towering bass talent Mohini Dey a genuine prodigy.
But the pretty young bass guitarist, by her own admission, doesn’t act or talk like a 19-year-old. She feels disconnected from others her age — then again, that’s how she’s felt since school. “I started playing with older musicians at a very young age. I was around them most of the time and used to hear them talk, so my thinking also kind of transformed. I’m more advanced compared to my peers. Even today, many teens don’t think like me, so I find them weird and they find me weird,” she says. 
Her recent collaboration with American guitar legend Steve Vai is another feather in her cap. The excitement in her voice as she talks about this is palpable. And what got her really kicked was Vai’s eloquently-worded email to her (see box), in response to two audio recordings she had sent him at his request.

you ever feel the pressure of being a child prodigy? There is no pressure as such, though I feel stressed out because of the workload sometimes. It's not just my projects, but also because I have to communicate and deal with a lot of people. However, it now feels natural as I have been doing this for 10 years. Do you get along with other people your age? To be honest, no. I don't have any friends my age. They don't feel like talking to me. There are a lot of differences in our thought processes and maturity. I don't like cheesy topics and instead prefer to talk about music, life and nature. Maybe that's why I only have older musicians as friends. It has also got to do with me. It is hard to mingle with me. I keep myself focused and don't speak much. But it's OK — I chose this life. I am happy I get to collaborate with renowned musicians, share knowledge and travel. I think, to get something, you have to leave something out. In an age when degrees are so important, you left studies after school...

A commerce student, Dey never hung around with people her age and completed her 12th grade through private coaching. "I didn't know how accounts, economics and the rest of the subjects would help me further my love for music," she adds. It is all the more evident from the fact that just a day before her 12th board exams, she returned from a recording for AR Rahman's band, NAFS. Thus her idea of whiling away time includes hanging around with other musicians and discussing music — something she always planned on doing.