World Music Day 2021: Kumar Sanu, Shibani Kashyap, Mohit Chauhan on how the industry has changed

  • On World Music Day 2021, we talked to singers from the 90s - Kumar Sanu, Shibani Kashyap, Mohit Chauhan and DJ Sheizwood -- to explore how the industry has changed over past few decades.
Kumar Sanu and other senior singers talk about the changes music industry has seen over past few years.
Kumar Sanu and other senior singers talk about the changes music industry has seen over past few years.
Published on Jun 21, 2021 06:02 PM IST
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World Music Day 2021 is being celebrated across the globe on June 21. On the occasion, we talked to singers from the 90s such as Kumar Sanu, Shibani Kashyap, Mohit Chauhan and DJ Sheizwood to explore how the industry has changed over past few decades.

Most of them believe that technology has overtaken the songs being produced these days. The voice of a singer, and thereby the song's soul, is also overpowered by the technologically produced sounds, they believe.

Kumar Sanu said, "The style of singing has changed. We have become upgraded technically but the soul, (that was there in songs) is missing. So many films were musical hits earlier, I am talking about the 90s. Now, the focus is on sounds while the soul is missing. I would want it to be a priority that producers maintain soul of the songs."

Shibani Kashyap had similar views. She said, "The only thing that I have a grouse with is that of late we see too many remixes and recreations wherein original music is suffering. On the global platform as well, a lot of gizmos have come. We hear lot of noise and instruments and then the voice - which also sounds like the gizmos now. Earlier songs had souls. Like music of Sting or John Meyer or Dua Lipa, they all had the sense of music. Now, vocals are treated more like instruments."


DJ Sheizwood added, "I think, music is changing a lot because nowadays, people work on sounds a lot. Previously, musicians worked on compositions, but now they rely on sounds. (For) remixes and any other compositions, most musicians rely on mixing, production etc. Earlier, in the 90s or 70s or 80s, it was about composition. We continue to hum (those songs) because of the hard work that the music composers used to put in. That is the basic difference for me."

He also said, "So much of production of music is happening and at a very fast rate. You do not have time to work on the music really. Earlier musicians had time to create music for movies, at times (they took) six months for a song. I talk about 90s. A that point of time, producers told us ‘we want these kind of songs, do you have anything or (do you) want to create?' We also had time to create the situational songs. Now, we create songs and then take it to producers/music labels and they decide whether those can be hit and (whether) they are saleable. We created beautiful situational songs, innovative rendition. Now, everyone wants a hit, Bollywood or music albums, they just want a scratch on WhatsApp and mail and then (want to) decide if it can be a hit."

Mohit Chauhan, however, does not see the change as a negative one. He said, "It has been more than 20 years now (that I have been working). One obvious thing that changed is that there is very less of live music, instruments for recordings. A lot of stuff is done on digital, keyboards and computers. Even a lot of live instruments are played from the keyboard. It has become a digital affair. Earlier, 10 musicians would play instruments. Now a single person alone can produce a song in a studio. The ease of music has changed because of these apps and technology. I plan to use a lot of organic stuff for my new album that I am working on. At the end of the day, it is about what music you create, if people like it then it is good enough."

Troubles that singers face in the Hindi film and music industry

"Often, the same song is recorded by 10 or so singers and no one knows whose version is going to be used. Worst case, they will not be compensated for it too, unless their version is used. I was once offered to sing a song and then was later told that I would be paid money only if my 'version' got selected for the movie. I asked them ' I would be taking efforts to reach the studio, spend hours on giving my best, record for like 3-4 hours and give my soul and heart to the song. At least compensate me for all that, if not the full payment'. I was told that was not possible so I did not go for it," Mohit shared. He added that he knows at least 20 very well-known artists, senior singers who also complain about 'this particular aspect of the industry'.

Also read: World Music Day: How Imtiaz Ali used songs as a narrative tool in his films

Kumar Sanu also shared his views and added, "Personally, I have always been treated with respect. However, I have seen around. Overall, the respect for singers has gone down. Not that they people behave badly with them. In the sense, nowadays, the same song is being sung by many singers and the producers chose one among those voices. I believe that is a disrespect to singers. It happens when the music producer, director or creator does not have confidence on himself. Now, no singer is sure after recording a song, that it will be the final version retained in it."

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Kaushal has 13 years of experience covering Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, national current affairs and social issues.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022