Washington DC born and San Francisco raised artist Reeya Banerjee has been playing music since the early age of seven. She was brought up by two creative parents - both Indian immigrants who moved to the US from New Delhi in 1978. Reeya’s mother was a classically trained Indian singer and her father played classical violin as a young man. Reeya credits her lifelong musical obsession to her mother who introduced her to The Beatles. Reeya cut her musical teeth by learning piano during a 3 year stint living in Chicago. There she also began singing and touring as part of a local professional children's choir called the Evanston Children's Chorus. After two years this pursuit culminated in a performance at Chicago Symphony Center with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when Reeya was just nine. The choir toured all over the Chicago area giving performances and this was Reeya’s first real taste of live music performance.
Middle and highschool saw Reeya immerse herself in the world of musical theatre as she pursued acting and eventually going on to write her thesis for college on Bollywood. Finally Reeya would engage a long unfulfilled desire that had stirred inside her ever since her mother exposed her to Paul McCartney and the Beatles as a child. Finally, after leaving Vassar College she would take up bass lessons with classes at Beacon Music Factory in Beacon, NY. This led Reeya to performing regularly in public, putting her own unique spin on 60s and 70s rock classics. Now today she is ready to present her most personal work yet in the form of the alternative indie-rock album The Way Up with all original material.
Reeya began collaborating on new music with Manhattan-based producer and multi instrumentalist Luke Folger in 2019. Speaking on those early sessions Reeya says ”I had a concept and some themes we wanted to explore, as well as a general agreement that I wanted to move away from that classic rock mode that I had inadvertently pigeonholed myself into.” By February 2021 Folger had all of the instrumentals tracked and they recorded Reeya’s vocals for all eight songs in two marathon recording sessions in an empty, repurposed condo in the Bronx. Common themes emerged under the banner of mental health, trauma and the process of working through long-standing grief. Reeya’s mother had passed away in 1997 after a long battle with cancer when Reeya was just 12 years old. The Way Up acts as a sort of map through the hardships and uncharted territory that life brings.
Speaking on the implications of the recording process for The Way Up Reeya states that: “I hope this record conveys the idea that yes, sometimes people experience trauma and suffer with mental illness and it feels like there's no way out of the hole, but there is. Things can get better, when you are willing to do the hard work of getting better - and maybe that's daunting, but it's do-able and really at the end of the day it's not shameful to struggle, it's ok to ask for help, and there is a way out. Or a way up, I suppose.”
released January 27, 2022
Vocals by Reeya Banerjee
Music and Lyrics by Luke Folger
Instrumentation and Engineering by Luke Folger
Recorded in Inwood & The Bronx, New York, 2021
Mastered by Jon Markson