A musician of a generation

Cal student is making an album set to be released next school year


Anushna Sapatnekar

Junior Anushna Sapatnekar plays the guitar in the recording studio for their first ever album.

Nidhay Mahavadi and Tejas Mahesh

Vocals, guitar, bass, and percussion. All of these musical elements are crucial to every song, and all done by junior Anushna Sapatnekar through raw demos and inventive editing.
Sapatnekar is planning to release an indie rock album, “Little Dipper,” during their senior year in 2023.
They began the album as a freshman, writing 150 songs, but they are currently narrowing it down to their top 10 songs.
“The album is about what I went through during ninth grade and how I dealt with my mental health,” Sapatnekar said. “It’s also about a toxic and unhealthy long distance relationship and how it was affecting me.”
Sapatnekar’s music career started with classical music training when they were nine, but they felt that it suppressed their interest. Thankfully, their music teacher, Matthew Fisherkeller, recognized their talent early on and redirected their path toward the guitar.
“A few years into our study they picked up the guitar and with absolutely no help from me, wrote and sung their first song,” Fisherkeller said. “It was quality and so beautiful to me that I shed a tear or two from seeing how far they had come, excited they finally found their passion and knowing how much potential they had in store.”
Sapatnekar’s music was inspired by Taylor Swift’s poetic and detailed lyrics in “Folklore” as well as by Phoebe Bridgers and Car Seat Headrest, where they got their ideas for the bassline. Fisherkeller saw the music as fitting in with some sentimental singer-songwriters but also major pop acts.
“It’s sort of hard to listen to those styles and make your own styles which is why you need a mix of artists to look up to,” Sapatnekar said.
Their music-making process starts with a demo, a recorded melodic idea. They first record guitar and vocals and then use MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to add the bass and percussion. Once the demos have been critiqued by their teacher, they are sent to their producer, David Lipps at Earthtones Audio.
Those who have heard “Little Dipper” believe that Sapatnekar’s introspective music will take them places as a songwriter.
“The music has a melancholy feel but simultaneously it gets stuck in your head,” Anika Patel, Sapatnekar’s girlfriend, said.
When listening to one of the songs, “Infinite”, Sapatnekar’s friend Aarush Kulkarni described his listening experience as though he was standing in an open field, exposed to the elements of nature around him. Kulkarni added that Sapatnekar’s music goes to the extremes.
“The songs are drenched with feelings of nostalgia, youthful romance, and wonder that captivate our inner poet,” Fisherkeller said. “I believe this reflects on who they are as a person and trust that they have a lot of wisdom to share with the world as the years go on.”
Fisherkeller has been a part of Sapatnekar’s long musical journey and can confidently say that they have a true musical gift.
“As a teacher I truly believe anyone with the will to succeed will do so,” Fisherkeller said. “Anushna certainly has the talent as a singer and songwriter to do amazing things with their music. Regardless of what they choose, I know they will have a life full of sharing beautiful music.”