Mainstream music is synonymous with film music in India. A significant portion of the 2,000 feature films the country produces each year are musicals, and composers and playback singers are the country’s biggest pop stars. It is difficult to overestimate the cultural significance of India’s vast, multilingual film industry; Musicians need their presence if they want to be successful there. Bollywood, among other regional film industries (India makes films in 20 languages), allows them to make a living and find audiences, but with more latitude with their own creative expression – the input of directors, composers and crew members in any film they share. – Artists usually have to work hard to build a second distinct presence.
Then there are Divine. Born Vivian Fernandez, she is a hip-hop star whose rise did not follow the usual rules. Divine’s popularity began to bubble in 2011 after she released a low-budget song in her hometown, Yeh Mera Bombay. But, he said, “I really knew something was changing after ‘Mere Gali Mein’,” his 2015 landmark track.
Inspired equally by American hip-hop and the city and people of Mumbai, Divine’s music is not just interesting – it’s relatable and authentic. His popularity has skyrocketed for many popular collaborations, live performances and singles. In 2015, writer and director Zoya Akhtar saw him starring in, they collaborated on the blockbuster film Alley boy, Which Akhtar IV is passionately based on DIVINE and his crew’s gang. It was his only Bollywood campaign, and as successful as it was, Divine did not feel true legitimacy until he became the first Indian to sign Nasser’s ‘Mass Appeal’ label.
The definition of success is on its own terms
For Devin, perfection is gaining wide recognition without compromising on his artistic vision, and his story of going there without spending much time in the world of Bollywood is unusual. Other artists such as singers, producers and composers Sid Sriram And multilingual playback singer Jonita Gandhi There are less dramatic but equally inspiring stories of success and satisfaction in swinging between Indian film music and independent work.
Music has been created in Sriram’s DNA. He learned music from his mother – a Carnatic music teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he grew up. Sriram holds a bachelor’s degree in music production from the Berkeley College of Music in Boston and his big break in the film industry comes with the collaboration of AR Rahman, the legend of the unique bluesy track.Aadiye“From Mani Ratnam’s 2013 photo The lizard. Sriram moved to India and found his fans through the film industry, but always wanted to take responsibility for his own words. In 2019 he led two major projects: he released his first independent album, Entropy, And has acted as a composer in the upcoming Tamil film Vanam Kottum, Scheduled for release in January 2020.
For Gandhi, having a career in music was a more deliberate decision. Born in India and raised in Canada, he was influenced by some of Bollywood’s greatest playback singers (Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle) And his father (a musician by hobby), and began to take singing seriously in his early 20s. The turning point came when he won a competition in 2011 that gave him the opportunity to sing with a famous Indian vocalist. Sonu Nigam For a Michael Jackson Tribute Concert. Gandhi took some time off from school to see where it could go, and he has been working in India ever since, singing playback songs and juggling independent, collaborative covers with The Janita Gandhi Band.
Explore every idea
Divine is not ashamed to mix her hip-hop with other genres. Collaborating with Electronic Jagarnet increased its popularity Nucleus For the crazy single “Jungle King” and the team he worked for Alley boy Features a host of mechanics from pop, metal and electronic backgrounds. DIVINE likes to collaborate locally wherever she can. “If I live in Punjab, I get a friend who can rape in Punjab,” she says. “It varies depending on where I’m at, but I like to give people what they want. It connects me to my fans.”
Divine collaborated with Sriram to lift ‘Too Hype’ near R&B in the 2016s Kohinoor. They admired each other’s work from afar for two years and when Divine asked Sriram to create a track, Sriram was more than happy to be compelled.
He said, “We are interested in our soul that we take our work very seriously. In all the different ways that I am involved, I try to be as present as possible. “Search is the most important thing for me,” he said, “so every day I’m pushing my personal boundaries and finding something more.”
“You have to expand the horizons of your genre,” Gandhi said. He has the ability to sing effortlessly in 10 languages, and despite the heavy workload of the film industry, he pushed himself as an independent artist with The Janita Gandhi Band. “Getting in the door is just the first step. The real work begins after that – find out how relevant you are and keep growing,” he says.
Embrace the Internet
The world of digital music is democratic: to be successful, artists no longer need access to labels or the film industry in India’s India. The Internet is an invaluable networking tool that makes it easy to find and collaborate with like-minded musicians, even people from other parts of the world. Divine discovered all of his collaborators online – his longtime producer Sage, Nucleus, and even his live performers, members of the Alley Gang. Gandhi contacted his first colleague Akash Gandhi (no affiliation) through his YouTube channel and told them “Water photos“From the movie Vicky Donner That’s how his fanbase started to blossom.
The biggest advantage of streaming music is the way it makes it easy to search and discover new music; Many fans of Sriram and Gandhi find their way to independent work through their film music. Speaking about sharing his music online and finding his way to the playlist, Sriram said, “It makes my music more possible.
As record labels are relatively low outside the Indian film industry, many artists are looking for opportunities to share and collaborate through digital platforms. Gandhi noticed that another advantage of finding a digital audience is that metrics help him understand who is listening. “The goal is to learn from that information,” she said, adding that it helps her understand how her fans view her music and what they like.
“Represents yourself; you really should try for it,” Gandhi said. Reflecting his love for pop, that’s why he started his own band.
Sriram’s advice is to take on the challenges of taking on different roles without losing sight of yourself, even when the pressure increases. “If you base your passion on how your music is perceived and whether you’re popular, you’ve gotten worse,” he says. He further mentioned that there is always more to learn and experience. Entropy There came a time when he was at a turning point, after personal frustration and the failure of another project that did not see the light of day. “Entropy A cathartic was born out of a deep need for musical experience. It allowed me to heal and deal with different emotions, “he said.” What helped me hold my roots. “
Devine was introduced to the rape of a child at school, who wore one Get rich or die trying ‘ T he burned young Fernandes his first CD, a collection of raps from the east coast of the United States. Divine’s first attempt at rap was in English, as he saw her sculpting. But her music did not resonate until she spoke Hindi, the language she spoke at home and with her friends.
“People liked me then because I was honest,” he said. “They liked music because I was myself – I was relative.” He tried to be honest with his work Alley boy Also, and wants to be selective with Bollywood. “If Bollywood comes to me, I will handle it with care,” Devine said. “I mean if it’s a good song, if I write it and it’s understandable, I’ll do it. Otherwise we’ll keep it independent.”
When Divine was young, her idol did not look like her or speak her language. But by staying true to his reality, he has set an example that future musicians can see. Free, creative expression goes hand in hand with truth. So what is the key to finding that balance between commercial success and artistic expression? “There’s no clue,” Divine said. “The most important thing is to believe in what you do and keep it normal.”
– Dia Gupta