© Ritviz

Ritviz on his album Mimmi: “Last six months have been epic for our family"

The electronic pop artist speaks about returning to his family home in Pune to collaborate with his mother on his latest album.
Written by Anurag Tagat
5 min readPublished on
At this point in his career as a pathbreaking, globally-known electronic pop artist, Ritviz has often spoken about how he was raised by a mother who’s a classical vocalist and a father who is a tabla player. But his new album Mimmi brings us stories and lyrics that tell us a lot more about his relationship with his parents, particularly his mother Anvita Bharti, who is a collaborator on the record.
Although dabbing into a sonic palette that’s familiar to Ritviz hits like ‘Jeet’, ‘Udd Gaye’ and ‘Liggi’, the structure and emotion flowing through the songs on Mimmi feel much more intimate and revealing. The singer-producer isn’t so much into drops and big build-ups any longer it seems, trading them in for varied song structures that of course, easily lend themselves to becoming dancefloor bangers.
Lyrically, Ritviz explores love, family, growing up and childhood nostalgia in different measures, never straying too far from ruminating on the past, present and future, guided by lyrics and vocals by his mother. Mimmi is, after all, an ode to her and that’s seen right from the album cover, which is a childhood photo of the vocalist, one in which the similarities to Ritviz are striking.
Ritviz speaks about the journey to making Mimmi and how it’s strengthened not just his bond with his parents, but also his belief in the power of his craft as an artist himself.

The making of Mimmi

“I think the last six months have been very epic for three of us. My mom said, ‘In the last few weeks, it feels like you’re in the 7th standard again.’ It’s because I had come back to Pune to finish this album. When I look at the last six months, spending time with my folks and my conversations with Ma are the songs. They took the shape of these conversations I had.”

Creating art dedicated to a mother and artist

[laughs] “I hope she feels great! I’ve co-written this album with her. All of this was happening when Ma and dad were around. What I'm basically focusing on with this album is that it's not the subject that I'm chasing. It's the person helping me change. This album is an ode to Ma because everything up until this point was about finding an answer or making a goal. This album makes me realize it’s not about those things, but the person helping you do it.”

Should people make music or create art with their parents?

“Absolutely. I was talking to Ma in the afternoon and in the night, I’m feeling things and writing these melodies. Then later, the lyrical aspect comes from the context of the conversation. Spending time is how it starts. I see it as pure expression and a reflection of the time that we spent together and the memories that we share.”

The concept

“This entire album is like a parallel between my young adult life and my childhood self, and my quest of trying to understand love better. ‘Aaj Na’ is me feeling sad and thinking about all the memories I experienced as a child. The unconditional love is what I focus on, because we live in a world right now that has a lot of conditions. So the story begins where I feel sad and want the unconditional love that I was provided as a child.
“The next song, ‘Mehfooz’, means ‘safety’. I start to extract the love out of the happy memories I had as a kid, but I don’t ask why I need it today. The third song ‘Mimmi’ is by when I’ve gained perspective. The love that a parent gives to their child is unconditional and I think, ‘I can find this.’ Because of this realization, ‘Chandmama’ is a letter to my kids – I’ve started to get hopeful and think about the future where I hope I can instil these values in them.
“The next three songs – ‘Taj’, ‘Jaana’ and ‘Pukaar’ – enter this celebratory phase and now I’m hopeful I can place this love into the world and get it back. They’re love songs which have this return.
“Towards the end of the album, there’s another conflict building in my head. I’m thinking, ‘What if this is a pattern?’ I'm being hopeful and it’s becoming negative for me because I'm focusing on the outcome, you know?
“The last song ‘Aas Paas’ is when realization hits that I have been looking for unconditional love in a way that defeats the whole point of it. I’m expecting it, which is a condition in itself. Then I look back at the songs so far and realize, I just need to give. My reward is in the process.”

The cathartic outcome

“This happened in real time while the album was being written. I’d be listening to the music and having these cathartic moments where I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this is what I wrote this song about’. You can hear it in my voice.”

The stylistic change in songwriting and production

“My energy is going towards composition – and that could be in a songwriting sense or a production sense. I feel like I've shed off a lot of the electronic aspect with this album. I think I've evolved that way. But at the same time, I think I have gained… it's a very lyrically heavy album, you know? So all of that attention has gone somewhere else.”

Taking Mimmi live and the US tour in October

“I’m building the Mimmi show, so it’ll be very interesting to see how people react. We’re going to test out the songs. My live set is very versatile right now in terms of genres. A little part of the show will also be improvisation, looking at the reaction of the people to the music and then I can build more as I see the response.”