You recently recreated the iconic song, ‘Kinna Sona’. What made you choose the song?
My love for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan saab’s music made me choose it. I always wanted to pay him a tribute by keeping the music urban and keeping my vibe intact. I am receiving amazing feedback on the song and I couldn’t be happier.
What kind of reactions have you been getting for the song?
It’s been almost a week now since the song was released and I am really very thankful that I’m getting just about the right kind of reactions. The ones who have heard the song, appreciated my vocal and musical abilities. There is a strong sense of resonance that most people have with it and hence the connection feels strong. I’ve also seen so many people on Instagram making reels with the music, so, yes, it feels both overwhelming and exciting!
What are the downsides of recreating classic songs of legends like Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan?
I don’t think there are any downsides; nobody currently on this planet can match what Nusrat saab has created, so, the question of being compared goes completely out of the picture. All we, as musicians, can do best is keep legends’ music alive and keep passing it on to future generations.
Remixes and recreations are in trend currently. However, not everyone is on board with the concept. What are your thoughts on the same?
The best way for music labels today to make fast big bucks today is recreating songs, which is purely a business-based decision, so, why judge anyone on that? If I was running a music label, I might have done the same. But I’m glad we all have the freedom of choosing what music we want to listen to, so, all we need to do is choose wisely.
Your grandfather Pandit Pran Nath ji is a reputed name in the Indian classical music industry. Have you also received training in the same?
Yes, I’m formally trained in Hindustani classical vocals under Ustad Tanveer Ahmad Khan of Delhi Gharana and I’ve also trained myself to play the piano.
When and how were you bitten by the music bug?
More than a bug biting, music was and is my first love. My sole purpose on this planet is to make music. From holding the microphone for the first time when I was a three-year-old, to my first lessons in classical singing at the age of seven, to becoming the lead singer of my school rock band, to becoming the president of the music society of Hindu college–it’s been quite a journey and there’s so much more music I still want to make and produce.
Who do you idolise in the music industry?
To be honest, I’m working hard on myself every day, so that one day I would be that artiste others idolise. It’s best to be inspired by others who have made it before you, but idolising is not my cup of tea, and since I personally listen, appreciate, and create every genre of music, my list of inspirations is a huge one. But I love listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan saab, Md Rafi saab, Freddie Mercury, Kishore Kumar, Chick Corea, Rd Burman, Ghulam Ali saab, Asha Bhosle, Kendrick Lamar, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Shakti band, Iron Maiden, David Foster, and Quincy Jones.
Korean music is taking over the globe, especially BTS. Are you fond of their music?
BTS has definitely increased the standards of audio and video in the realm of global pop music. The quality of music and music videos they are making are definitely trendsetting, but I personally don’t prefer to put them in my everyday music playlist.
You have also dabbled into acting. You also feature in your own music videos. Which is your priority–acting or music?
Well, I believe God took his own sweet time to refine me before sending me on earth; I love making art in the complete sense–be it directing my videos, editing videos, or post production, to featuring in the video, and obviously making the music–I do it all. I work very hard so that I can be a part of every step; every little step done right gets me close to the vision I have for my music.
This is just the beginning for me. I am looking forward to releasing my first-ever music web show, which will be something along the lines of Coke Studio. I’ve lent my voice as a rapper for the recreation of the song ‘Saat Samandar Paar’ which will be releasing soon. Also, a few film songs as a music composer and rapper are releasing later this year and next year.