Early life was fairly simple. I was brought up in a middle class family and music was the staple diet (since my mother is a music graduate). So, we were always overhearing ragas and other musical compositions. I used to sing in the school choir and by Class 8, I starting taking tabla lessons and found it coming to me quite naturally. I guess of all the things I learnt as a child, being honest was the biggest lesson. Also in childhood, one is inquisitive and it’s important to hold on to this trait. Makes you go places.
One would be when we (his band Faridkot) got selected for Channel V’s Launchpad. It played a pivotal role in getting the band noticed. So yes, that can be called the first success.
When I was in second year college doing my engineering degree, I heard about this group of musicians called Artistes Unlimited. It’s a platform where musicians from all ages and genres come together, jam and perform at several places. I went for the audition and got through. That was my first exposure to singing with musicians on a big stage. We also composed an album, En Route, which was a great learning experience. So that was the starting point.
I grew up listening mainly to film music, new and old, mostly in Hindi – from Mehdi Hasan, S P Balasubrahmanyam to Sonu Nigam. Then, as I entered college, I was exposed to a whole new world of Western music. From Led Zeppelin to the Beatles and from Pink Floyd to Mars Volta, the world is full of great music and people. I believe that there is something that inspires you from everyone around, every thing you see and interact with. It’s an ongoing process. Till you live, you have to stay inspired.
As I have mentioned, I feel honesty is a very important trait to have, especially when you are doing something creative. Hence, it’s important to be focused.
We should know what we want from our music and pursue it accordingly. We try to practice with the band at least twice a week, while the rest of the time is utilised in making new songs, listening to music, learning about new gadgets that you can use in live shows. I feel the only way to make music that has longevity is to let it come out of you than forcing yourself to make something that you think will be a hit. For it to come out of you requires a lot of practice with the band and also individual improvements at the same time. There is no substitute for practice.
The only way music has affected my personal life is for good. It has taught me to be a patient, content person. I feel this profession gives me enough time to dedicate to my personal life. And the best part is that work doesn’t seem like work.
Dealing with failure
I remind myself that it’s the road you take that really matters. Success and failure is part of life. If you can stay calm and focused through the ups and downs, you end up enjoying the good things more and paying less heed to the things that are not working out.
To be happy, do not be violent; love all. Do not think about making it big; focus on loving what you do and giving your heart and soul towards what you do.
And of course, let yourself go crazy. That’s when creativity comes out at its best.
As told to Pankaj Mullick