For me, music is originality: Pankaj Awasthi
MUMBAI: Do you remember the voice behind the song 'Karam' of the same name movie 'Karam'? Pankaj Awasthi, the Delhi-based acclaimed composer-singer who was better known for his compositions for another movie ‘Anwar’ (2007) is also a man behind many ad jingles and background scores.
Earlier he has composed and lent his voice for a jingle ‘Dekho Dekhe Ye Zamaana’ (Honda) featuring Akshay Kumar, the theme song behind MP Tourism ad, and the theme song behind Nerolac excel umbrella ad featuring Shah Rukh Khan to name a few.
People who don't know, the self-taught singer-composer is a big time foodie, also the surprising part is Pankaj graduated from a medical college as well. However, the doctor turned composer-singer wished to make a career in music and he did.
Radioandmusic.com spoke to him about his passion for music, what keeps him focused, his earlier days, about working in the various aspects of music and more.
Pankaj, who does not belong to a musical family, played his first gig in Delhi in the year 1998 during Durga Puja. Influenced by Pink Floyd, Pankaj used to play the bass guitar during that time. While talking about his passion for music he stated, “It all started in the eleventh standard with me strumming the guitar for the first time. It’s been quite some time now. When I started, it was more of rock and jazz era, now the approach of producing and composing have changed. I think life has been inspiring other than anything for me. I listen to many things these days including various background scores from around the globe. Several sounds, also paintings are quite interesting and inspiring.”
His debut album ‘Nine’ was released in 2006 and the song ‘Tera Hi Karam’ featured in the 2005 Bollywood action flick 'Karam', was a part of the album. His commendable debut album 'Nine', which contains nine songs, which he sang, wrote, composed, arranged, and produced.
“Sanjay F Gupta, the director of the movie ‘Karam’ wanted to make a video of my song for the movie as he liked the song before and that’s how Bollywood happened. In this addition, I would like to say, Susmit Sen, formerly part of Indian Ocean helped me a lot before I came down to Mumbai. I admire him a lot.”
Pankaj, who is an aficionado of world music, while talking about Bollywood, independent music prospect and the change of sound, stated, “Bollywood doesn’t excite me only, as I think it is very limited. I don’t essentially follow new artists; for me music is originality. I want to hear something new and I am very much inclined to world music in recent times, also the soulful Arijit Singh. We used to listen to albums that had so many different songs, each song used to be different. The whole concept is gone, which disappointed me a little. The objective of contemporary music should be extensive. However, the approach of indie music should not be overlooked and the musicians should pay attention to the distribution, production and marketing as well. Conversely, mainstream music tends to take away all the attention.”
Talking about his upcoming projects and his keenness on composing jingles, Pankaj said, “I like composing for ad jingles as there is so much variety; you get to do a lot of original stuff. There is more room to experiment with sound. I have done some jingles for Shop clues and Vodafone. I am currently in the process of creating some songs, but I don’t know how and when I will release them. I might choose to release them as singles or together as an album.”