It feels great. I’ve been coming here since 1999 and it was one of the first cities where we launched my album Pal. Those days, it was very different, as there was barely any traffic and the weather used to be a lot cooler. The first time I came to Bengaluru, I thought I will come and settle down here. The population here is so vibrant and I’ve had a great spate of gigs here. I’ve performed at different venues in the city and it’s been an eclectic mix of people across all age groups. My cousin lives here and he takes me around Malleswaram early in morning for simple, authentic and wholesome food around the area. Each time I’m here, we try out a new eatery.
A lot of it is rhythm and dance music, but there are some hidden gems even now that you get to hear occasionally. It’s not like it’s not there, but it’s more like a ‘demand and supply thing’. People want to hear music in a particular way and it’s a trend. I feel it’s time that music directors start setting their own trend rather than following one, because I feel there is so much talent in our country. There are so many music directors, who are new, young and talented. I feel there will be a turnaround, not just in Bollywood, but in the non-Bollywood space as well, which is growing slowly. There are so many new artistes on the other side of the fence.
I miss the freedom to create your own songs and music and having listeners who would support new artistes, who didn’t have a Bollywood backing. There was a time when even music channels were about music. There were so many bands performing across the country, having a good time. That time was great. I think somewhere down the line, people jumped the bandwagon wanting to make a splash and getting noticed. A lot of us, who did really well with our first albums, got sucked into Bollywood. It wasn’t a bad thing to do playback singing but my aim was to do my own album. But when I got into Bollywood, my mindset was different. I wanted to try different things in playback. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed it because I got to do great songs. Then I really enjoyed myself and thought that I will postpone my album, but I didn’t realize that my next album happened after nine years. You don’t realize the time because you enjoy the ride, it’s a great trip. But somewhere, I felt that the artiste in me suffered, not the vocalist, but the artiste and that’s what am trying to rediscover now. For 22 years I’ve done this, but now I want to get back to my zone.
Is that also the reason why you are doing fewer Bollywood numbers now?
Yes, that is one of the reasons. To rediscover yourself, you need to make a few changes in yourself. I need to take my time, rethink creatively. When you are working with someone else, you are working on a clean slate trying to recreate things. But when you work for yourself, it begins from the scratch.
You’ve sung in Kannada films earlier. Are there any more songs in the pipeline?
Social media has changed the dynamics in the field of music. Do you think that today’s generation has to compete a lot or is it easy for them to be noticed?
Your kids are into music as well. Tell us more…