Prateek Kuhad: I did it my way because there was no other choice
Singer songwriter Prateek Kuhad says he had no other option but to release music himself, because all the deals offered to him five years ago were “shitty deals”.Updated: Jul 15, 2020 18:42 IST
It might seem that singer- songwriter Prateek Kuhad’s decision to stay independent, which meant that he didn’t sign a deal with a big music label or a streaming platform, gave him the power to release music on his terms. But, he reveals it wasn’t that simple. “I did it my way, because there was no other choice,” says Kuhad who released the single Kasoor recently, despite the fact that it was recorded last year.
“Even the video [of it] was conceptualised last year. But its just that things kept getting delayed. We released cold/mess in 2018. Then it got bigger. Then we released its video, last year and it got even bigger. Then towards the end of 2019, Obama spoke about it. So I just kept delaying Kasoor because cold/mess kept getting bigger,” he says.
“For me personally, I put out songs, when I think I am ready to put them out. Sometimes it can take time. Sometimes it doesn’t,” he adds.
This approach of releasing music independently, worked in the 30-year-old’s favour, who, ever since releasing his first album, In Token and Charms in 2015, has become one of the biggest names in the independent music space. Even former American President, Barack Obama, is a fan of his music.
“[But] It’s not like that I wanted to just put out music and see that if it does well that’s great... Me and my manager, and the larger team I worked with, pushed our music hard. We tried to make the best of the situation, and of the relationships me or my manager had,” he says, adding that “shitty deals” offered to him by record labels meant that he had no other option but to release his music on his own.
“If a great deal had come my way, five years back I would have taken it. It’s just that all the deals that came my way [then], were all shitty deals. I didn’t want to sign any shit deal. I only wanted to sign a good deal. And I have done that. I signed one with [Jio] Saavn for cold/mess. It’s not like I don’t have any record commitments [with any label or streaming service] at this point [either]. But I will only sign a deal if its good,” he explains.
Perhaps all of this freedom also meant that Kuhad didn’t feel the need to change his plans amid the pandemic, even as others scrambled to release more music in the absence of live gigs. “Yes, live gigs, which were a major source of income for many of us has taken a big hit and I don’t see it coming back for another year or so. I understand everyone is really glum, because the situation is like that right now. But I look at it like its an aberration. Things will get back to normal. So I don’t need to do anything different.”
“I mean I can just record, say a sort of a bass line for a song, and send it to a bassist and ask him to record their version of it and send that back to me for a song. But, I really don’t feel the need to do that because I don’t have to produce anything. It’s a non issue for me right now,” he signs off.
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