“There’s One Thing Jubin Nautiyal Believes In – ‘I Sing But I Never Regret’.”
He’s hot, happening and here to stay! He’ll make you cry with his soulful ballads and groove to his party tracks! Be it Hummahumma or Humnavamere, Jubin nautiyal has captured the hearts of the audience with his remakes and singles. And now he’s on the hunt for his new sound. Read on to know more about his new songs, views on the trends in Bollywood and the independent music scene.
You’ve come a long way in your musical career. How has the journey been? Any off-key notes in the way?
My journey has been very eventful with lots of ups, which gave me the power to keep moving, and lots of downs which motivated me to do better. Since I don’t have anybody from this line of work in my family, coming here was overwhelming. Getting to do what you love and getting to love what you do, it’s such a beautiful thing. Off-key notes toh chalte rehte hai. I’m a person who’s constantly in a fight with myself. I need to get better and grow as an artiste. That’s my biggest fight in Bollywood; how to outdo myself. I don’t care about how people hear me, whether they like my work or not. I just want to be honest to the work that I’m doing. I want to make sure that I should be happy after crooning my song. Otherwise main khud hi kitni baar music directors ko bol deta hu ki nahi karna hai gaana, this is not for me. For instance, the Holi Biraj Ma song, if it would’ve been anyone else apart from Himeshji who would’ve brought me this song, I would’ve never done it. He was there while I was dubbing and he showed me everything, even how to do all the expressions, holi ka woh essence jo maine kabhi kiya nahi hai pehle. That is the kind of faith I should have before getting into the dubbing studio.
What or who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music?
For me, my father has been the biggest inspiration as a person. Even though he didn’t have a family background which could support him, he did very well in his life, and created a lot of opportunities for me and my sisters. I have a black belt in mixed martial arts so I could be a mixed martial arts guy, a businessman or a politician. I have done national shooting as well so I could be a national level shooter, but picking something from scratch and building up on it, I think that’s the right way to go about it. Truly self-made, that’s my vibe.
Can you share a memorable story behind any of your songs? Or a star-struck moment that you’ve had?
Yes, there’s a song which is close to my heart, Zindagi kuchtohbata from Bajrangi
I just want to be honest to the work that I’m doing.”
If I feel like I’m not connected to the song, I tell my directors ki it’s not working.”
Bhaijaan. It was a turning point for me, where a small-time singer turned into a mainstream voice. Pritamda was happy with my initial dub. But it was Kabir Khan’s project and I was working with Salman bhai for the first time! Salman Khan, according to me, is the biggest star. And getting to work with people I’ve only seen in newspapers all my life, I wanted that song to be more than perfect. And that lead me to dub it 6-7 times. (laughs) So, Pritamda would say Ho gaya hai dub! Jao yahan se! And I would say thoda aur dub karenge, thoda aur!
Mahesh Bhatt’s Jalebi has you crooning Tumse. Tell us how you felt recording the song and your experience working with the composer duo Samuel-Akanksha.
First of all, Samuel-Akanksha are the cutest music directors I’ve met. They’re husband and wife and their chemistry comes out beautifully through music. Samuel and I go way back. We had dubbed Tum se hi back in 2012-2013. When I met Samuel again and asked him what had happened to that song, he told me that he was still working on it. Maine kaha let’s dub it, Bhatt sahab would be the right person to play it to. So we met, we dubbed the song and played it to Bhatt sahab. And Bhatt sahab has a lot of knowledge about music. Jab woh koi bhi gaana sunte hai, woh usko perfection pe le jaate hai. Maybe that’s why he likes working with me because mere main bhi woh keeda hai, perfection ka. We would dub a song over and over again, listening to all the takes throughout and then decide which one was better.
Have there been instances where you’ve not related to a song?
Many times. I build myself with the song. I try to say it more than I sing it; it’s more like a monologue for me rather than a vocal take. If I feel like I’m not connected to the song, I tell my directors ki it’s not working, I’m not confident with the song. There have been big songs that I’ve dubbed but I pulled out from them because I wasn’t happy with what I’d done.
Do you ever regret those choices?
There’s one thing that Jubin Nautiyal believes in - ‘I sing but I never regret.’ I know my journey, know myself and my music and I’m sure of what I want.
Tell us something about your song in Loveratri.
Chota sa hai, a cute duet. It’s a good song. Tanishk and I go way back, so even if he calls me for a random track, it’s always going to be something interesting because we share that chemistry as a composer-singer. When Azeem called me for Love ratri, I was quite excited.
What are your thoughts on the ‘remake’ trend that has gripped the Bollywood music industry?
It’s fashion, baba. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I think there are two great things that this trend is doing; one is that it is giving all the older melodies back to the younger generation with a new twist that’s more
I think K-pop is the biggest sound in the world right now!
suited to their taste. And secondly, it’s urging upcoming music directors to come up with better compositions as they’re competing with cult songs! I think it’s raising the bar of the music that we’re creating. The recreations that I do probably work because I don’t recreate the song, I just sing it the way I would have wanted to sing it.
The one trend you wish to see in Bollywood music?
I was really hoping that the whole album time should come back. Ever since I was little, I’ve written six albums. Earlier, people used to enjoy both the music and the words, now they just wait for the hook or the drop. I’m waiting for the right time, when viewers and listeners will hold a taste in music to sit and listen, not rush through it. When that time returns, I think the albums will come again.
What kind of music do you listen to? What is your favourite song at the moment?
I’m listening to artistes from all over the world be it African, French, Spanish or Korean music. Or folk, classical, semi-classical even opera sometimes! I’m really enjoying John Mayer’s new album. (croons) You’re gonna live forever in me, I think that’s a beautiful song.
Having focused on playback singing for so long, you
immediately captured everyone’s attention with your second single Humnavamere. What do you think the future of independent music is going to be like?
Independent music is picking up. I think we are going into the Western space again, where we will end up doing singles and independent artistes will show their expressions and styles and that’s where the magic really happens. I’m quite excited about the independent space and we’ll probably soon get to listen to those albums I have made.
What are your future prospects?
I have a lot of opportunities for collabs. I’m just trying to crack the right sound for my next single. Having done a sad song, now I want to do something upbeat, maybe pick up something in folk! Since I have a lot of films lined up, I’m focusing on independent music for now. I’m trying to look for a sound that hasn’t been presented in India yet. Maybe K-pop? I think K-pop is the biggest sound in the world right now!
As you get famous, people try to drag you down. There was an unsavoury incident recently that happened in which you were involved. Tell us about it?
I’m just a small-town boy who’s getting a taste of stardom now. Bach gaya main toh! It was a planned move. Actually, it was my birthday party and some people just came and started messing with my security to get inside the party. When things got out of hand, my family and I left from there, but later on those guys started alleging us wrongly. Things just kept getting complicated but when the higher authorities got involved, their earlier LIU reports came and their whole scandals and history got exposed and they had to apologize. Everything was sorted from day one.
Lastly, how do you maintain the flexibility of your vocal chords? What’s your daily music routine?
I sit with my guitar a lot. I spend a lot of time listening to music and by that, I mean listening to everything that’s happening in it, not just the voice or the melody but also how the song progresses as a whole. That teaches me a lot. I think curiosity is a big teacher and as long as this curiosity is in my heart, I don’t think I’m stopping anytime soon.
The recreations that I do probably work because I don’t recreate the song, I just sing it the way I would have wanted to sing it.