RadioandMusic
| 09 Dec 2019
20-TEN Year-ender: Raju Singh - Composer, Musician

* 2010: A tuneful, rich year for the music industry 

A mixed bag of peppy numbers and some heartwarming melodies is what the year was all about. As a music composer, I describe the journey of music in 2010 as â€?a tunefully rich one'. There have been the one-song wonders and also some enjoyable albums; new artists have made their way into the industry, while many continue to shine. A lot has taken place on the technology front and the buzzword â€?copyrights' has been a mainstay, along with another welcome government initiative – that against piracy. All of these have  marked the year with interesting progress.

Melody has taken over

Some songs have battled for and claimed the �top blockbuster' spot. Two of the most rocking numbers this year have been Sheila Ki Jawani and Munni Badnaam Hui. I've heard them at every wedding and every party this season. I believe these songs are now etched on the Bollywood wall of fame. I'd place them amongst iconic tracks like Jumma Chumma De De, Maa Da Ladla, Jai Ho and the like. However, I'd like to state that such songs are as much about the music, as they are about the performance and the promotions.

Besides such singles, there are also albums this year that have caught my attention. One of them is I Hate Luv Storys. Three tracks in this album are what I'd call simply amazing – Bin Tere is a simple song with a soulful voice, while Jab Mila Tu and Bahara have also rocked! All of these are lovely melodies and have that special element that makes them linger on the lips. As an album, it's a fantastic piece of work.

Then there is the smash hit of the year â€?Dabangg'. This again has three great songs to its credit – Munni Badnaam Hui,  an energetic, high-on-beats number that everyone loves to croon, Hudd Hudd Dabangg and Tere Mast Mast Do Nain… chartbusters, all.

There's also the movie Crook with a striking number, Mere Bin, which has a lovely composition, excellent arrangement, fantastic sound engineering -- all of this held by apt singing. When I hear this song, it takes me back in time to last year when I did the music for Vishesh Film's Raaz 2. The track Soniyo has continued to hold its place in the audience's hearts and is still playing on radios in 2010. This is a year I can say I've kind of missed out on, I'm in the processing of pulling up my socks and rearing to go in 2011! Alright, enough about me! All in all, 2010 has been a year where melody has taken over. I'm so glad to see musicians bring this to practice across film- and non-film albums.

The battle against piracy; the issue of copyright

Speaking of our music industry, what has surfaced in 2010 is the collective endeavour in the battle against piracy and the issue of copyrights. Protecting copyrights is the need of the hour. This year the creative side of the industry has stood up unanimously to gain its freedom from piracy and uphold their right to royalty. This, I believe, is all the more relevant to today's music scenario since digital formats are becoming more and more popular by the day. The Indian music industry is riding high on the success of the mobility sector. Today, for every one legitimate site for music download there are more than a hundred pirated ones. While mobile companies are in the process of launching legitimate platforms for music access, the government is also pitching in with efforts -- one of them being the regulation towards legal downloading. Largely, it's good to know that the government has finally taken the initiative to protect not only musicians like me, and lyricists from Bollywood, but also artists from classical, traditional and folk music.

This is a mammoth challenge covering within its fold the entire music fraternity of India, and one that I genuinely appreciate. Moreover, this is a step in the right direction in terms of encouraging new talent to come into the industry, securing them of their efforts. I feel this will make a significant impact on the vibe of our industry, given that all involved, including the labels and music companies, approach this with the positive attitude that we're striving with. This also helps in steering clear of vested interests that in the past have created mayhem over the copyrights issue. We've been able to override the confusion and make known to those concerned and also to the citizens that the system of copyrights is simple, as practiced the world over, and we're only rooting for this simplicity. However, I'd like to say in the wake of the complications woven around it that the key to knowing the truth is to read, get the facts and then voice an opinion or take a stand. Even internationally popular sites like limewire.com have been forced to shut down while sites like Napster now have a model for charges on their popular services, in a move to curb piracy 

Recording

In terms of recording, while people are sitting up and taking notice of new home studios, what impresses me is that the sound we hear from these budding sound recordists / arrangers with relatively newer and smaller setups is good – the quality has not taken a back seat at all! As a part of this industry it makes me proud to see quality consciousness being taken seriously.

Awards and Events

Awards have been an eyebrow-raising affair this year. Two things that made it to the headlines have been: (i) A R Rahman's Grammy Award 2010 for Jai Ho, which has made the music fraternity and the country even more proud of him, and (ii)A R Rahman and his mentor Ilayaraja were both honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award this year! This has glorified our industry all the more.

November also witnessed another mark in the industry – the inaugural Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA) – India's first awards for film and non-film genres of music. This is a moment that will always be cherished, given that it was a tribute to the legendary Lata Mangeshkar for her Lifetime Achievement Award, in the presence of A R Rahman. For the first time, many of us brothers of music – Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, Salim-Suleman, Shantanu Moitra, Leslie and I -- came together to for such a beautiful performance. For me to be a part of this defining moment is something that goes beyond words.

Some other events are also definitely worth a mention in the musical journey of 2010. One of them is IMC or the Indian Music Conference -- a one-of-its-kind, landmark gathering, bringing together all the music fraternities, absorbing every possible genre, style and background of music. Held in November in Goa, this music conference-cum-festival showcased all that could possibly be related to music, larger than life and never seen before in the country. Then there were the concerts! India played host to the much loved pop boy band Backstreet Boys; also to Jayce Lewis and Richard Marx, and had the crowds swaying in a trance. Even Independence Rock celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, and saw many of the earliest Indian rock bands and recently formed ones perform and scorch the stage to an audience of over 6000 fans!

Thank you, Radio

For a long time now, music, which is essentially a creation in audio, had become sorely and aggravatingly dependant upon the video medium – people are familiar with only those songs that they have seen on television promotions of films. Radio, with its excellent playouts of music, and the way it promotes and aligns itself with music, has been getting good music and its creators awareness and recognition for their good work just on the basis of audio. Now, increasingly, good music need not necessarily be dependent upon the presence of a video to help itself become known. Radio is here, and robustly so, thank God.

Mirchi Music Awards

In fact, one radio network that has done a massive service to Music and the music fraternity is Radio Mirchi, which, for the last two years, has been investing in awards for music only, called the Mirchi Music Awards. In fact, Radio Mirchi is the only Radio Network to have invested so hugely in such a big – and still only -- music-awards-created-by-a-Radio Network, in the sprit of giving the  music industry its due. Such genuine and strong initiatives for music are bound to touch a chord with anyone who loves music  The award winners are arrived at after a strong process, vetted by a very respected and unbiased jury, which is why I am proud to have received the Best Background Score Mirchi Music Award for 2009 for Raaz-2. I am sure this year too, the Mirchi Music Awards will be a huge hit. I hope other radio networks too take similar initiatives. Both, Radio and Music cannot survive without each other.

The year for Indi Rock

In a way, 2010 has been the year for Indi Rock. Bands have broken free of their garages and warehouses and have started finding their space centre-stage. They've been performing to large audiences all over the country and have also started releasing their own albums. This is a big step for the mushrooming Indi Rock era. Whether it's the true blue bands like Indian Ocean and Parikrama that have been around for years, or new bands on the block like Avial and Eccentric Pendulum, they've all made a splash in 2010! I get the entire buzz about this music of today and am intrigued by it, since my son is keenly taking to music. He strums the guitar and also has a feel of the drums. This keeps me constantly updated and I get the perspective of a young mind on the new-age stuff. Like I got to see how artists abroad as well are adding an Indian flavour to their music in genres like metal! 

Music Reality Shows

Another emerging trend we've all seen widely this year is the music reality shows. These are becoming a breeding ground for raw talent. There are some gifted singers we see on the shows whose skills are honed via this medium. We've found two of our leading lady playback singers – Sunidhi and Shreya – through such shows. I hope the winners of today's shows too go the extra mile and make it big. The youth of the country is taking to music like never before. I, for one, have a real feel of this phenomenon given that ours is a family that has always been in the business of music instruments.

It's fascinating to see how youngsters are making a beeline for guitars, drums, flutes and other instruments and are so well aware of brands and other nuances  Today, we see the younger lot not only emerging as singers and musicians, but also as entrepreneurs, artist managers and event organizers! India is, after all, full of promise and vibrancy. I too hope to kindle this through my creations in 2011! Here's wishing everyone a magically musical year ahead!