Father’s Day and World Music Day Special: Pop’s music

Millennial musician Dhruv Visvanath on how his late father influences his music even today and the projects he’s been working on during the pandemic
Dhruv Visvanath, 29, known for his unique guitar skills, says it was his father, Shekhar, who exposed him to the world of music early on
Dhruv Visvanath, 29, known for his unique guitar skills, says it was his father, Shekhar, who exposed him to the world of music early on
Published on Jun 20, 2021 08:06 AM IST
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By Dhruv Visvanath

“My dad was a pretty funny character and he always looked at the brighter side of life,” is how Delhi musician and singer-songwriter Dhruv Visvanath, 29, known for his unique guitar skills, remembers his late father, Shekhar, who passed away when Dhruv was 16.

His dad was also the person who exposed him to the world of music. He didn’t care what Dhruv and siblings listened to, but he wanted them to be aware of the world of music.

Dad’s playlist

Shekhar Visvanath’s list included Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Chicago, Ace of Base, No Doubt, Modern Talking, Peter Cetera and Dire Straits, to name a few. Essentially 1970s, 1980s and 1990s bands from the US and UK from the time that pop music really thrived.

“He travelled a lot outside the country, saw a lot of the world and was exposed to a lot of different music, which he brought home to us,” says Dhruv. All that, and the occasional Jagjit Singh.

His father was a good singer and when he was younger, he had enjoyed going on long drives at night, listening to music.

Dhruv says that he understood what music became a vehicle of understanding his father
Dhruv says that he understood what music became a vehicle of understanding his father

That has today impacted Dhruv’s taste of music in a certain way: Dhruv appreciates strong melodies more than lyrics. “For example, I like The Police as their music is so deeply rooted in melody and has powerful, emphatic choruses and brings people together,” he says.

And after spending a decade in the industry, he says he feels as though he looks at music as a place to learn, not just to listen. But of course, his father had taught him the joy of listening.

“I understood what music made dad feel and I felt the same way. It became a vehicle of understanding my father,” he says.   

Musical therapy

For a boy who picked up a guitar when he was 13, after he had abandoned the piano lessons his mother had enrolled him for, music was therapy.

“The healing helped me get past the pain. When I started my musical journey, I used it to express the pain and grief I didn’t have the words for. And then I grew into new sounds and spaces. As I climbed each level, I was opened to new levels of expression,” he says.  

His first EP, which released in 2011, had a song titled Father. It’s a simple melody which turned into a song about his father. His second album, called The Lost Cause, also had a song dedicated to his father, titled Afterglow.  

“It reminded me of the beauty of this world and how somehow you are here to witness it. My dad was responsible for my journey and this was my way of saying thank you. It’s hard to revisit losing him and dealing with the pain again and again. Just being able to write and express it through music was a victory for me,” he says.

Dhruv wears a hat while performing as a tribute to his father
Dhruv wears a hat while performing as a tribute to his father

Dhruv also wears a hat while performing as a little memory of his father, who had got him his first hat.

“It would have been great to have him around and have him see what I’ve been making and how I’ve been working,” he says.

Lockdown diaries

In March, Dhruv released an album titled The Book of I which he produced. He also mixed some of the songs. Mixing and producing other artistes’ works has led him to a good understanding of how different people make music, giving him insights into his own music.

He’s also joined a platform called Patreon ( patreon.com/mrdhruvv ), which people can subscribe to for monthly content, production lessons and discussions, arranging songs and songwriting, where he gets to share his musical knowledge. And the money he earns from Patreon is meant to help people who are struggling with mental health issues.

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From HT Brunch, June 20, 2021

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Saturday, October 23, 2021