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Interviews |  20 Oct 2015 16:37 |  By RnMTeam

I survived on the unemployment money the Swedish government gave me: Neeraj Shridhar

MUMBAI: Indian singer-songwriter and lead vocalist of the pop and rock group ‘Bombay Vikings’- Neeraj Shridhar, has achieved a great deal musically. From being a popular face on the Indi-pop scene in the 90s to singing for some mainstream Bollywood films in the 2000s, Shridhar has made some rather memorable music during his music career. However, he says that there is so much more to explore.

While the industry believed that he was off the musical circuit for a while, Shridhar has very much been around. The ‘Kya Soorat Hai’ singer, who has also dabbled in direction, has done some extremely versatile work with songs like ‘Ticket to Hollywood’, ‘Halke Halke Rang Chhalkein’ and ‘Chor Bazaari’ amongst others. More recently, he rendered vocals for ‘Tod Tadaiyya’, a track from the Salman Khan starrer ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. In conversation with, Shridhar talks about his musical journey, new ventures and more.


Tell us a bit about your musical journey?

It has been a beautiful journey. I have stayed in Sweden all my life, and living there has made me a more grounded human being. When Bombay Vikings and its music started getting famous, I was called the king of remixes. Thankfully, the Swedish way of life I remained humble. I have evolved as a musician over these years; so the journey has been long, but a happy one.

Do you feel like you have made any wrong decisions during this journey?

There was no room for wrong decisions, but as humans we are always criticising ourselves. So, when I shifted from Sweden to India and my first album did not work here. I felt like that was probably a bad move. I was set to pack my bags and leave the country, but that was when I bagged my first film playback offer. Basically, everything turned out to be successful after that.

What do you think has been your best decision ever?

I used to work at this airline, where I did odd jobs to support my music career. But, one fine day I decide to quit the job. My boss, who used to play an air guitar, told me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life; as he was about to promote me. I told him that I was born a musician and I would like to die a musician. I moved out of there and opened my music studio. It was tough initially, but I survived on the unemployment money that the Swedish government gave me for six months. I would have to say that quitting that job was my best decision, for I would not have been here today.

You are now rumoured to be getting into music production.

I am trying something new in music. But, we will have to wait for the right time. Apart from that I am trying my hands at various things under my company Bombay Vikings in Sweden. I have started creating ads. We do about two or three ads a year, as a lot of my time is focused on song recordings and live events.

What is happening with your band Bombay Vikings?

We have been doing a lot of concerts, although the band’s line-up has changed over the years. Earlier, it had just Swedish musicians, but now we have an India artist. As a band we travelled around the world, but unfortunately, the pay did not work for them, which is why we disbanded.  

What advice would you give to newcomers in the music industry?

I was respected as a musician even before I bagged my first Bollywood project, but that never changed me. I have been around for 16 years but have kept my head calm. New musicians need to understand that sustaining one’s self in the industry is important. You cannot get carried away by people yelling your name in public. We experienced it all and I am more famous than what I was back then, but I work harder. Today I work 12 hours a day to offer better work. So, I would simply tell them to work hard, stay grounded and keep the faith in themselves.