The Score Magazine - Archive April 2017 - Page 13

Tell us something about your formal education in music. Did you take taalim in diverse genres? Who was your guru? I started learning the piano at a tender age of eight from talented musicians like Ruma Majumdar, Kersi Gazdar, Xavier Pinto, Yvonne Heredia, Xavier Fernandes, Benny and Joy sir. They’ve all been wonderful teachers and each of them taught me something new to absorb and adapt to! I finished my Trinity College of London course in piano, which was all about western classical music — the likes of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Schubert, et al. But soon I got more and more attracted towards rock, RnB (Rhythm and Blues), pop and country music during my growing-up years. My childhood buddy Krish still makes me listen to a lot of varied genres of music and I am kind of open to everything and anything that my hands can lay upon. So my routine has been to listen attentively and soak in like a sponge right from the start! I never got trained to produce EDM (electronic dance music) and Dubstep that I’m usually known for. For instance, numbers like ‘Sooraj Dooba Hain’, ‘Chal Wahan Jaate Hain’, ‘Kar Gayi Chull’, ‘Zindagi Aa Raha Hoon Main — all have the influence of electronic dance music. Composing a melody was something I think I got naturally. It was in my genes and I had grown up in an environment with a continuous exposure to music sittings and live recordings. My jazz and chord progression lessons came from my teacher Benny, who is a wonderful human being and a great master to boot. Can you trace back your growing up years as siblings under the same roof? Armaan and I were each other’s support system since childhood. Dad and mom went through so much of struggle in life together, that both ensured to make ends meet and yet retain that smile on our faces. Mom would do tuitions and dad did everything possible to just put food on the table. We were not the kids of a super successful father but then what we are today is because of our humble, sweet parents and their healthy upbringing so as to say. My father never saw the success he deserved and even though he never showed us he was down, he always made sure that it never affected us. He fought alone with his own internal strife and depression and took us out on the best of trips to cheer up our mood, even if it meant losing out money and work. Armaan and I realised it at the very onset of our childhood that things would be getting rough and we need to buck up diligently. So you may say, that as kids we were very understanding and never grumbled with unreasonable demands. Mom was brutally honest and thank God for that. She never painted a rosy, unrealistic picture before our eyes about our status. Instead she told us in black and white that we weren’t rich and that we must work harder to earn our bread and butter. I also remember telling my dad after the 10th grade that ‘don’t you worry, I’m leaving home now with my equipment to venture out, learn the ropes of this industry and stand up for myself’. Both of us brothers I may recall would spend most of our times in the studios and simultaneously pursued studies seriously, as that was something we had to manage with full efforts since mom came from a very astute academic background. Were you and Armaan both naughty kids joined at the hips, having loads of fun and being partners in crime? Of course, we have had our fun times too. We went swimming on the weekends, played across sandy beaches, enrolled for music classes together and so on. Those were some wonderful days it seems as I reflect back. At that time, my only sounding board was my brother and even though he was a mama’s boy, he kept most of my secrets well, unless he wanted revenge for some toy I broke of his or a slap that was too hard for him to digest, ha-ha! How did you convince Bollywood bhaijaan Salman Khan to come up with a version of the Hero title track in his own signature style? I never had to cajole or persuade h im for the song. I had composed the song during my Jai Ho stint, when I read somewhere that Hero is being made. I dunno why I thought of making a title-song on such a non-romantic word — ‘Hero’. But the way it came about was indeed beautiful. I couldn’t believe what had conjured up but I was pretty much sure that it would be somewhat special and strike a chord. Luckily, Salman sir felt ditto. I mean he loved it so much to my pleasant surprise, that he told me “let’s keep Armaan’s version in the film and record a second edition” in his voice as a “promotional number”. You know, before this touching ‘Main Hoon Hero Tera’ track came out, I was only offered dance numbers to score and no one ever thought that I could be a serious composer as well, who is really capable of churning out a simple heart-melting romantic ballad. So it’s solely because of Salman sir that I got a scope to showcase a different side of my creativity. This break actually brought about a turning point in my career. So am amply indebted to him for unearthing the hidden potential in me. In the wake of many singer-composer-songwriters making a mark in mainstream music these days, did it ever occur to you Amaal, to put your words to your thoughts and pen down the lyrics of the tracks while scoring their notes? I’m glad that more and more singer-songwriters are coming into the scene. It’s a good advantage if an artiste can write, compose and sing. Songmaking is after all a multitasking craft involving many disciplines of art. You see, the industry is more open than it ever was. Thus it pays off to be a multifaceted musician around. Six years ago, when I commenced proposing my ideas to a couple of directors and producers, I was heavily discouraged and told not to compose as I was too young in their estimates. Today it no longer really matters at what age you are setting out to take the world by storm. People don’t bother at all or care much about who you are and what you’ve acquired so far. It’s what you have now and a good song is anytime welcomed with open arms by all labels and producers alike. I’ve penned Armaan’s debut single ‘Leja Zakhm Tere’, and I got a lot of ‘likes’ both as a composer and lyricist for that song. Do you enjoy female attention? How do you handle crazy fans...did you ever come across any bizarre request? Well firstly, I don’t agree with the word “crazy”. My fans and supporters love my music, love me for who I am, for the way I think and how I have a voice of my own. They give me their honest feedback, and that helps me comprehend the audience- profiles and tap their pulse better. As artistes, we live for the appreciation of our work and always yearn for love. As far as female attention is concerned, yeah, I do enjoy it (blushes!). The Score Magazine 11