‘When I’m writ­ing a song, I don’t think Bol­ly­wood’

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - HTCITY TIME OUT - Aditya Do­gra aditya.do­[email protected]

Singer-song­writer Pra­teek Kuhad sure knows how to pull a crowd. His per­for­mance at Reverie, the an­nual cul­tural fest of Delhi Uni­ver­sity’s Gargi Col­lege was proof. The singer’s mes­meric voice had the crowd fol­low through ev­ery crest and trough of the song. And how did it go for him? “It was fine. Hon­estly, the past four or five shows have been like this one, with five to six thou­sand people, so this one didn’t seem like a change,” says Kuhad.

The singer adds, “Hon­estly, col­lege shows aren’t the best or­gan­ised. So, for us to come as a crew and per­form gets a lit­tle dif­fi­cult at times, and I don’t wish to put up any sub­stan­dard shows for my fans. Be­cause of lack of or­ga­ni­za­tion, a lot of things hap­pen, but I get that col­lege shows are more ac­ces­si­ble to many of my fans and that is why we are try­ing to find a bal­ance so that I can keep per­form­ing for them. I am open to play­ing any shows I get. I am a song­writer and per­former, so it’s kind of my job.”

In­deed, and one could vouch for it, but Kuhad still feels more com­fort­able in in­ti­mate set­ups. “When cold/mess re­leased in July last year, I chose to fol­low it up with some house gigs be­cause I wanted to do some­thing for my fans.

They’ve fol­lowed me, stuck with me and noth­ing is re­ally pos­si­ble with­out them, so this was a way of giv­ing back to them. I wanted the act to be re­ally stripped down, with­out speak­ers or am­pli­fiers. So, I chose for it to be just me with my gui­tar in a room with just 20 to 30 people.

It is a lot more com­fort­able for me to per­form in that kind of en­vi­ron­ment be­cause it is ex­actly like when I play in my own room. There’s no sound check, noth­ing at all. I just turn up with my gui­tar and share a more in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence with my fans,” Kuhad ex­plains.

Ask him about any musical in­flu­ences that he has had, and what his writ­ing process is like, and the 28-year-old says, “My mu­sic is a mix of ev­ery­thing re­ally. You bor­row from real life and fill the gaps with craft and fic­tion. I also try to do my own thing, though, be­cause that is the point of cre­at­ing your own songs. But I agree that all art cre­ated is a deriva­tive of some­thing that al­ready ex­ists. I am try­ing to be hon­est with my mu­sic, and the way I write my songs.” Back in col­lege, he could name the artists and bands he lis­tened to, but can’t pin­point spe­cific artists that dom­i­nate his playlist any­more — he is lis­ten­ing to a lot of stuff, al­ways dis­cov­er­ing new voices.

I’ve done one film where I sang a song I didn’t write, and it was more of an ex­per­i­ment for me. Play­back singing won’t hap­pen for me un­less the song re­ally speaks to me.

SINGER-SONG­WRITER

Kuhad has sung for Bol­ly­wood (Kar­waan, 2018), but he won’t do another song un­less he re­ally likes the song.

“I’ve done one film where I sang a song I didn’t write, and it was more of an ex­per­i­ment for me. I am not re­ally a singer, but more of a writer. I like singing my own songs more since I can ex­press bet­ter. Play­back singing won’t hap­pen for me un­less the song re­ally speaks to me. I have to re­spect the song to sing it. I don’t think of Bol­ly­wood when I’m writ­ing a song, and for me, such an op­por­tu­nity will be like any other project,” says Kuhad.

Suc­cess is usu­ally fol­lowed by people seek­ing ad­vice from you, but he says it is a strong word. That is why his re­ac­tion to people ask­ing him for ad­vice, is that he can’t tell them how to live their life. “I sim­ply tell them the facts of the in­dus­try. I’d tell any­one to ob­serve their likes, dis­likes, strengths, and weak­nesses and fig­ure their way out. People of­ten, in the pursuit of know­ing how to make it big or how to amass a fan base, for­get to fo­cus on what their craft is,” he says.

The Raat Raazi singer lives in Delhi, but isn’t much of a lover of the city. “I grew up in Jaipur, and I am not re­ally from Delhi, so I’m not re­ally in love with the city. I do love to go for a jog to Lodi Gar­dens, but that, too, has been ru­ined by the smoky win­ter air. I’d maybe re­sume that in sum­mer,” laughs Kuhad.

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