After having travelled and performed in over 800 concerts and music festivals all over the world, what hurts singer-composer Kailash Kher is that none of these music fests take place in India.
“My band Kailasa has performed worldwide, but in India, we hardly have music festivals. Indians can be found all over the globe, but we lack culture and art hubs in our very own country. We definitely need more avenues,” says Kher, who will be performing at the NH7 Weekender Festival in the Capital on November 30.
The prolific singer is associated with Sufi music, but what does Sufi mean to him? “Sufi is not music. It is poetry, a thought process... It’s your state of mind. It is very deep, not easy to understand... You can’t just add ‘rabba’ to a song and call it a Sufi song,” he says.
It’s been a decade since Kher received widespread acclaim for his song, Allah Ke Bande, in the film, Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II (2003), and since then he has sung many hit songs in the film industry. But since he doesn’t have a conventional voice, has it been difficult to make his place in the industry? “Indian film industry is open to change, and I’m an example of that. I can’t lip sync songs for actors, but the industry’s superstars are my fans,” says Kher. He narrates an incident to elucidate his point: “At a reality show that I was judging, Shah Rukh Khan was so touched by a song I sang that he touched my feet. I was shocked and humbled by the gesture.”
Explaining why an increasing number of item songs with obscene lyrics end up becoming big hits, Kher says, “It’s a marketing world. If a bad product comes with good marketing, it’s a hit and vice versa. In this rat race, commercial hunger often overtakes creative hunger.” But Kher believes good work always gets noticed: “Music by Gulzar, AR Rahman or Prasoon Joshi always does well. So, there is space for good music too.”
Kailash Kher (born July 7, 1973) is a singer and composer, with a music style influenced by Indian folk and Sufi music. He struggled quite a bit before hitting it big with the song, Allah Ke Bande from the movie, Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II. Since then he has sung several hit sings including Teri Deewani, Saiyyan, Arziyan and Tu Jaane Na, among others.