SEATTLE — A Seattle-area teenager is making his mark on the music world. He recorded an album in one of the region’s most historic recording studios.
Nikhil Bagga went from guitar lessons to full-fledged recording artist in just a few years.
Bagga took piano lessons until fourth grade and then moved on to shredding on guitar.
“The rule at home was that we had to play an instrument. So I still really come from a musical family,” Bagga said.
At the ripe old age of 13, Bagga displayed a rather rare mastery of the guitar.
“I crave a lot more adrenaline,” Bagga said.
Bagga also put his talent on the ice by playing the national anthem at a Kraken game last season. It was the first time he played it in front of an audience.
“It was absolutely surreal. I was just like, at first, I was just focusing on the guitar, and I was so nervous because it was almost silent,” the teenager said.
KIRO 7’s Ranji Sinha watched it in the studio, where he said it was clear that Bagga had fallen into music. Bagga’s rendition of the anthem will now lead him to perform it at a NASCAR race, a street performance with the Sounders and a Mariners game in August. It’s because he sent a demo to the Kraken, and they gave him a chance to play.
Bagga is not a guitar beginner. In a nondescript Shoreline building that houses London Bridge Studio, stepping inside is like a trip to Seattle’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is also the place where the teenager recorded his album, ‘Leap of Faith’, at the age of 11.
“Eddie Vedder recorded in this booth and when Eric told me that, I was so like that, actually?”
Bagga admits that half of his friends probably don’t know who Vedder is, but he does, and his producer Eric Lilavois said Bagga is an encyclopedia of music.
“Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Eddie, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, they were all here and now, sort of, I like to say, maybe, following in their footsteps,” Bagga said.
“He fits in perfectly with magic. He knows it and he comes into himself and it’s really amazing to watch,” Lilavois said.
Bagga’s encyclopedic knowledge was on full display when he gave Sinha a sonic tour through rock history.
“You name a song and he can play it,” Lilavois said.
“I have Ben Smith from Heart and Jeff Raus, you know they’re great players in the Seattle scene and so for him to step in directly and communicate with everyone and really learn along the way , it was fantastic,” Lilavois said.
Bagga’s father says stereotypes about Indian children don’t apply to his son as he has a future that clearly has a guitar in his hand – whether it’s performing in Seatte, taking part in events sportsmen or to riff the greatest.
“Writing music for me, it just gets easier because the ideas kinda come to my head,” Bagga said.
“Deep down, he believes music is universal,” Lilavois said.
“It’s like a simple thing that can do wonders,” Bagga said.
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