Comments (0)
Interviews |  08 Aug 2018 14:02 |  By Minal Metkari

I am the only Indian composer, who gets his songs programmed internationally: Gurinder Seagal

MUMBAI: GF BF fame Gurinder Seagal has come a long way in his musical career. And when it comes to Bollywood, the singer has recently grabbed a big opportunity with the latest film, Nawabzaade, which marked his debut as a solo music composer. 

In an exclusive interview with Radioandmusic, Gurinder talks about Nawabzaade, Bhushan Kumar, music composition and how his songs stand out owing to international programming.

'Nawabzaade' is your first Bollywood movie as a solo music composer. How did you bag the project?

Nawabzaade happened when I tasted the success of GF BF and that’s when Remoji (D'souza) believed in me and gave me the entire script, without asking if I can do it or not. He, on the contrary, said, ‘I know you can do it'. He offered me the songs and the background music. And during that time, I was getting a lot of inquiries for shows, which I refused and focussed on Nawabzaade. So, it’s something I had never expected. 

How was it composing for 'Nawabzaade' ? 

When it comes to composing songs for Nawabzaade, all three songs were situational. It was pretty challenging because it is my first film and I had to do situational songs, which I had never done before. This entire film was challenging. This includes the background score as I have given a new theme to every actor.

Earlier, I did compose songs for Race 3 and Tutak Tutak Tutiya, but those songs were promotional and not situational. In fact, the song, Rail Gaddi that I composed for Tutak Tutak Tutiya was a last minute thing, completed in 24 hours.

Apart from composing, you have also written additional lyrics for two songs. 

I started my career as a lyricist. When I was in London, I use to write. So, I have an interest in writing, but I think there are amazing lyricists in India, especially in Bollywood. Kumaar Paaji, Sandeep Nath, Kunaal Varma and Shabbir Ahmed who is also writing for me. For Nawabzaade, I mainly worked with Kumaar Paji and Sandeep Nath sir.

You always get your songs programmed internationally. What is the reason for it? 

Oh! Yes, right now, maybe I am the only Indian composer, who gets his songs programmed internationally. I also compose in RnB. When I compose, I keep trap in my head, which is viral. With an exception of Aditya Dev, I don’t know a lot of programmers in India, who will understand what I want. I have worked in London, Canada, and Russia, for quite a long time, when I wasn’t in India. So, I have a massive team where people have new sounds and it is all about sound these days. I try and keep my melodies very commercial. And thus, my commercial melodies need commercial programming. So, what I do, I play very smartly. I will use the topmost programmers in India, which is Aditya Dev. Then, I will also add my international programmers. So far, Aditya Dev has been the right choice. He knows what he is doing and he is really fast.

For Indian melody like Mummy Kasam, I don’t think I have to find anybody better than Aditya. But for Aunty Dekh, it was Aditya and my programmer in Russia, Roman. He neither understands English nor Hindi so it was very hard for me to coordinate with him. Also, he doesn’t understand Indian words or lyrics, so it’s very hard for him to give that feel. We had to use the Google translation for that. A couple of other people from London and Canada had also experimented on the song. They experiment on it and send it to me and then I decide what to keep and what not. If I am getting paid for a song, I don’t save it, but put most of it in creating a good song.   

You have worked with different singers for 'Nawabzaade'. How was the experience?

 It was amazing. They are of the same age as me or maybe a little younger. Their energy is too good. For Mummy Kasam, I have worked with Payal Dev and rapper Ikka. Payal is one of my favourite singers in the industry.  She is versatile and I love how she gives her own style. When it comes to rapper Ikka, it was good working with him and he is very talented. For Aunty Dekh, I have worked with Sukriti Kakar. Sukriti was very shy in the beginning. But, once she got on the mike, she nailed it. Thus, working with Payal and Sukriti were two different experiences. While Payal is somebody who is very energetic, Sukriti came as a surprise package.

How has your association with T-Series and Bhushan Kumar been?

T-Series is the first label, that gave me my big break in India in the form of my first song, GF BF with Jacqueline Fernandez and Sooraj Pancholi, directed by Remo Sir. My relation with T-Series is more like that of a homely professional. We are 100 million plus on YouTube for GF BF. Bhushanji supported my voice.  He was like ‘Gurinder I want you to sing the song also'. GF BF was written, composed as well as sung by me.

Bhushanji is a wonderful person and is there for you. He will put the entire T-Series team behind you and not only make you the biggest star but will also help you in getting closer to your dream. He understands whether you have talent and knows what you are doing.

Do you face any pressure with shorter deadlines? 

It’s not the pressure, it’s the passion. Last minute things don’t matter.  If you are hungry and want something quick, you will find a way. It’s just about how dedicated you are. I spend a lot of time and put all my energy into a song, be it a rap or something I have collaborated on. I always keep things that are energetic and I surround myself with people, whose energies are very high.

There is a lot of confusion between music composition and programming. Can you explain both in detail?

When a lyricist gives you a song, my job is to compose it first as in I will give melody to those words. Then, that melody will go to the programmer, which we also call as a lap. Next, I will sit with the programmer and tell them if I want keys or guitar a specific point in the song. He knows the libraries, where my requirements are present. So, they have to be good players as well and must know to play keys, guitars, and a lot of instruments.

What advice will you give to those aspiring music programmers?

If somebody is getting into sound programming, they should be familiar with the new sound, new technology and they should be extremely dedicated. Because the faster you program a song, the faster, a music director can present it further as there is shortage of time in our music industry.

What are your thoughts on the Punjabi songs trend in Bollywood?

I think it’s a brilliant thing. If you look at the music industry, Baba Sehgal, Bali Sadhu, Daler Mehndi Saab etc. are the pop stars. There is a massive line between Bollywood, playback and solo songs. Both have their individual industry and fan following. But, one thing I have realized is that Punjabi industry is blunt. They just do it for the sake of doing it. But, when it comes to Bollywood, you are given a situation to work upon, which is a much bigger responsibility. I would say that Bollywood is more challenging.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am focussing more on singles right now. I am doing some collaborations with T-Series that are still in the conversation. These are Bollywood projects, which I don’t want to reveal more about. It’s good to create an air that I am coming up with good singles as well as collaborating with Bollywood voices for them.

Bollywood songs or singles, what do you enjoy more?

 When it comes to singles, it is something you enjoy and you believe that people will enjoy. I enjoy both, but I started my career as an independent artist. Bollywood knows one thing; if you are talented then they need you. They will give you the opportunity and the only thing matters to them, whether you are capable of doing it or not.

Are you planning to feature in your singles?

100 per cent, I will. I have a plus point here, which I believe that Yo Yo Honey Singh and Badshah also have. We are capable of doing both, Bollywood and singing, even though our style of singing is quite different but, we know the lines. So, I am definitely looking forward to it because a lot of people want to see me coming upfront. They want to see ‘how this guy looks like when he performs on his own songs.’