Cue the orchestra...: A 22-year-old is working with Berklee graduates to create songs as gifts - Hindustan Times

Cue the orchestra...: A 22-year-old is working with Berklee graduates to create songs as gifts

ByAnesha George
May 18, 2024 06:26 PM IST

It was tribute tracks he wrote for loved ones that gave Yajur Madan the idea. Now, he runs My Creative Factory and invites commissions for musical works.

The first time Yajur Madan wrote a song for someone was in 2018. It was a gift for a friend on her birthday, and he spent six hours composing it, recording it and creating a video to go with it, featuring highlights from their years as best friends.

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He was 17 at the time, still in school, but the memory of her reaction stayed with him. “She had tears of joy in her eyes,” he says. Back then, as he dreamed of a career in music, this gift showed him, first-hand, the impact that his art could have.

But life had other plans.

By 2021, Madan was pursuing a degree in business management at Singapore Management University, majoring in entrepreneurship. As he considered what kind of business he would eventually like to run, his gift and his friend’s reaction came to mind.

He decided to find a way to weave his original dream into his new path, and launched My Creative Factory, which received its first paid commission in January. The company doesn’t just offer personalised songs. Songs are worked on by students and graduates from the Berklee College of Music, Boston. The result is essentially a bespoke work of art.

The aim is to remain an intimate offering in a niche space, focused on stories about human relationships, says Madan, 22. And so, love of a different kind plays out in a Hindi song commissioned by a 21-year-old UK-based student, Janhavi Mahajan, for her mother Divya Mahajan, back home in Punjab.

This one features music and lyrics by Madan:

Mumma, kaise kiya? / Sabki khushi mein khush reh liya

Mumma, socha na tha / Tere bina hum karenge kya

Mumma, kya dooriyan / Jab dil mein saath ho saari jaga

(Mom, how do you do it? / How do you find your joy in others’ happiness

Mom, I have never tried to imagine / What I would do without you

Mom, what distance can there be / When you go everywhere with me in my heart)

Divya Mahajan, who is 46 and runs a women’s initiative in Jalandhar, says she was taken completely by surprise by the gift. She added it to her playlist, of course, and so it sometimes starts to play unexpectedly, “and I am transported to the moment when I first received it and was so touched that my two children had captured the journey of motherhood for me so beautifully.”

Yajur Madan.
Yajur Madan.

Madan talks to every client, conducting the first 30-minute call in which they lay out the story they wish to tell. He takes copious notes as they share fond memories, beloved mishaps and more, and passes these on to the musicians.

A song typically takes four to six days to compose, with prices starting at $250 (about 20,000) for an audio recording and $300 (about 25,000) for a video version.

Radhika Shankar, 39, a senior product manager in California, has commissioned one such music video, for her husband’s 40th birthday this month. In addition to notes on their life together, she has sent in details of their banter, references to the music they enjoy, and voice notes from their children.

“It was fun reaching out to old friends to pull out pictures from his college years, and family members for childhood photos, bringing together a community of people celebrating a person we all love so much in different ways,” she says.

As his business helps people create new memories, Madan likes to credit his grandfather too. The young man was back home in Delhi during the pandemic, confused and directionless, when he lost his grandad, a math professor named Vasudev Madan.

He remembers sitting in his grandfather’s study soon after, surrounded by his books, and just writing about how he felt: “Still wear your watch on my left hand / I miss the way you made me laugh... / If there was some magic in this world / (I’d) sing this song loud and make sure you’ll hear it.”

It was his first tribute song since the one at 17. “It was a turning point for me and my music. It confirmed for me that this was what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. “This is also when I realised that a lot of people struggle to put their feelings into words, and I realised that’s where music can help.”

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