The Diva Collective is a recent addition to Chennai’s already vibrant music scene. It is a collaboration between some of the city’s finest, and might we say, prettiest, female vocalists — Kavita Thomas, Nadisha Thomas, Mridhula Sekar, Maalavika Manoj, Marcia Nicholas, Ranjani Shanker, Shilpa Natrajan and Shema Abraham; each one, an established name! As one can imagine, they come together on stage in a power-packed mix of melodious harmonies and talent.
It’s not a band. Rather, it is a collective of Chennai’s female powerhouses,” says Kavita, who helped start the Collective through her company The Madras Stage. “I had programmed a series of gigs at the Chennai pub US 101 where we collaborated for the first time, and we just happened to work brilliantly together! More offers rolled in, so we decided to keep it going. We’re now rehearsing a ‘killer’ set for future gigs,” she exclaims.
Marcia Nicholas joined them only last month, bearing testament to their ‘collective’ tag. There are male artistes in the group, too — Siddhartha Ramanathan, Vikram Vivekananda, Conrad Simmons and others, all on backing instruments. “Individually, our music is so different yet similar in certain ways. We all sing contemporary, but within that we take on different styles. But it’s a whole new feeling to be singing and harmonising together — it’s no longer just you, it is a collective,” says Shilpa.
The same excitement is echoed by Mridhula Sekar, who’s been with the Collective since its inception. “Despite sounding clichéd, we bond over music and it’s so genuine and lovely. We all understand each other’s vibes and get along so well. We’re practically family! And our music is happy music - everybody can immediately put pin on it and recognise it — but it’s prettier because of the harmonies,” she says, adding “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — Kavita is a huge inspiration. She was the one who put it together and it’s just been amazing since,” she says.
“We are women and we did want to create something with just women — using harmonies. When we have such great female artistes in the city, you can’t go wrong with the musicality of it all. I can only hope it goes on, I don’t have a reason to believe it won’t,” she concludes.