“To escape the morning light, you bring your hopes with the sunrise, but our hearts lie someplace else.”
This is from Go (2015), a song by Delhi-based musician Prateek Kuhad. The track uses a single guitar for the background score, and the visualisation is a juxtaposition of overexposed, out-of-focus frames, with only parts of Kuhad’s face visible. That’s his signature — dreamy, acoustic music.
The 26-year-old singer shot to fame on social media in 2014 with his single Oh Love. It has over 1.8 million views on YouTube. Kuhad has come a long way since — he has made his Bollywood debut with Kho Gaye Hum Kahan in Baar Baar Dekho (2016), and is just back from an international tour. He performed in Brisbane, Australia, and on the Formula 1 Grand Prix racing track, Singapore.
Kuhad grew up in Jaipur, in a family that encouraged performing arts. Yet, he never received formal training in singing or playing the guitar. “I attended guitar classes for a few months when I was in fifth grade, but that was all,” he says.
Kuhad’s been writing and composing songs since he was 16. For him, music is a mode of self-expression. “Every time I go through a tough phase in life, I write about it. Music is my coping mechanism,” he says. That explains his signature, soothing songs.
Even his musical influences belong to the mellow, acoustic genre: “Elliot Smith is my greatest inspiration. Songs like Roman Candle and Between the Bars are some of my favourites.”
A fan of intimate live performances — only a few people assembled at a café equipped with mics — Kuhad has performed in Delhi (currently his home town) and Mumbai over the years. Does he have a personal preference? “I’d pick Mumbai over Delhi. It has a homely vibe,” he says.
So, does he have something special planned for his upcoming city gig? “I am performing a set of songs: some altered renditions of my previous work, with a few original tracks thrown in the mix,” he says.
Prateek Kuhad in Concert will open in Mumbai on September 24, at 8pm
At: Sophia Bhabha Hall, Sophia College Lane, Breach Candy
Tickets: Rs 800 on insider.in