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The Serious & Soulful Singer/Songwriter from Nagaland – Tokaholi Chishi

Gifted with a flair to write verses and compose melodies, Tokaholi Chishi, is a musician with perfervid passion whose narratives resonate a perfect  balance of singing and story-telling. 

We had a chat with Tokaholi to talk about her love for music, her life, and her roots.

RootsandLeisure_Tokaholi Chishi

Photo: Tokaholi Chishi

  • Hello! Could you tell us briefly about yourself?

My name is Tokaholi Chishi and I live in Dimapur. I write songs and I play the acoustic guitar (albeit not very skilfully) , I try to voice out my passion in undulating tunes, just like life- some times high, some times low!

  • What is your process when it comes to composing songs and what kind of genre do you prefer?

I like to write, whether it is poetry or a story. I  add melody and soul as mediums to communicate and connect with the listeners. Music serves as a great tool to tell stories, that’s my primary goal and when it comes to a genre there is no fixed style. (independent music would hopefully fit the bill).


  • When did singing become a serious career path for you?

I see singing less as a career and more of a responsibility, I take the art form very seriously. I see it as a channel to help people, in any and every small way.  I used to be an almost reclusive singer, finding comfort within my room or a private space but it all changed last summer. I decided to really step out, to allow people to hear the songs I had been writing because communication is a two way affair. If I want to reach out to people, I have to put myself out there!

  • Could you tell us something about your upbringing and the influences that have helped you shape yourself as an artist?

I grew up in a family of story-tellers. My grandfather is the prime example. He would narrate stories through quirky songs which were the highlight of every evening during childhood. My father would read out poems, explaining the magical essence of the context and background.  My mother would sing and take me on a lyrical journey. It is the oral tradition of storytelling modified through each generation which has a deep influence on my music. I like to tell personal and silly stories, even trivial ones about the mundane lives through music. Music gives the stories a soul.

RootsandLeisure_Tokaholi Chishi

Photo : Tokaholi Chishi

  • How do you keep creativity flowing as an artist?

I keenly observe everyday life and the people that surround me. They serve as significant musings that I store up in my mind.  I write down the things that stand out to me, either on my phone or a mini notebook. My philosophy is really simple. I sit at the table, take my pen and paper and begin to write. Creativity becomes a reflex response. Then, all sorts of inspiration and determination follows.

RootsandLeisure_Tokaholi Chishi

  • What do you hope people take away from your Music?

I am aware that I am not the best in singing and songwriting; but I try because I believe in myself but more than that. I believe in God and through my music I want the people to listen  to the heart of God. It is only then that I can to be comfort my listeners show them that their struggles can be beautiful too! I want them to believe in something so sincerely, like a child who believes in miracles because that kind of faith is what makes life worth-living.

  •  What are you working on currently and what should we expect from you in the future?

I am currently working on recording a new single, and hopefully, if things go as planned, I’ll release an EP early next year. People have been encouraging me to start a YouTube channel as well so that is going to be a fun new project that will keep me occupied. Feedback and constructive criticism will help me grow as an artist.  On a personal note, I would like to thank the  Roots and Leisure team for giving me an opportunity like this to share a little about myself. God bless.

Check out Tokaholi Chishi’s original track titled,  “Await”

Nara Longkumer

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