On the occasion of World Music Day (June 21), three up-and-coming musicians Ishaan Nigam, Vivek Kar and Yoel Young share what drives them to make music
From Bahraich to Bollywood, Ishaan Nigam’s roadmap is clear
That to be born in a small town is no hurdle to dream big is proved by 27-year-old Ishaan Nigam. Starting his journey from the nondescript town of Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh, Ishaan is on the threshold of achieving his goals. A successful independent musician, Ishaan’s dream of becoming a playback singer in Bollywood doesn’t seem to be far. One of his singles ‘O Jaana’ released at the beginning of the pandemic last year was viewed more than 100 thousand times on his YouTube channel. The song, written and composed by Brite Roy and shot in Mussoorie. featured Ishaan as a visually impaired artist, giving him ample scope to emote and ace his acting skills as well.
A software engineer by profession, Ishaan recently completed his Masters in Indian classical music, which he feels helps him take a deeper look at the composition and understand it better and deliver it more professionally.
Sharing his musical journey, Ishaan says while in college, he auditioned for UTV Bindass’ Dreamstart in 2015 and was selected to be the top 20 musicians from India to pursue a summer course at A R Rahman’s KMMC in Chennai. “It was there I realised I should start doing music professionally,” says Ishaan. A successful YouTuber since 2011, he says, “I believe it’s one of the best platforms to showcase an individual’s talent, especially for the indie artists who also work on the official video of their song but I believe now with changing times, there are other audio streaming platforms that serve their purpose.”
Ishaan’s Covers and Bollywood mashups keep attracting viewers and he enjoys the freedom of his non-genre specific repertoire. He says, “I like exploring different genres because I believe sticking to a particular genre holds back the creativity of an artist.” Ishaan minces no words about his future course. “I aspire to become a playback singer. I come from a small city, with no musical background. Luckily, I have grown up listening to Bollywood singing legends like Mohd. Rafi saheb, Lata Mangeshkar ji, Asha Bhosle ji, Manna Dey saheb, Sonu Nigam ji and I worship them like gods.”
With a mix of singles and score for movies, Vivek Kar is on the right path
Very few can say their life has been the way they wanted it to be. Singer-composer Vivek Kar is one of them and happy his journey from Sivasagar in Assam, where he was born, to Mumbai has been an interesting one. “It happened the way I wanted it to be and I believe that some blessings were always following me,” he says.
Vivek’s hands are full with a movie with Zareen Khan and Emraan Hashmi and a video with Prince Narula and Zareen coming up, and he’s excited about the projects. “The video with Prince Narula is a sad breakup song; mostly my upcoming songs are sad. There are many more happening with Prince. He is one gem of a person to work with, and Zareen Khan is perfect to work with,” gushes Vivek about the artists in his video.
Vivek was a journalist before he met lyricist Rakesh Kumar, and that changed his life. “My last release from Zee ‘Tu bhi royega’ gave me big time recognition and I’m thankful to Kumaar paaji and Anurag Bedi sir of Zee music company,” says Vivek who’s doing mostly singles for Zee music.
Unlike film shoots that were put on hold, the indie music industry thrived despite the pandemic. “By god’s grace, I am happy that as musicians, we are able to do what we wanted to. This pandemic has been tough. The films that are complete are yet to be released because the theatres are shut. There are four movies that I am co-producing in collaboration with some good and big directors from the south. I am also co-producing an interesting biopic” informs Vivek.
Vivek imbibes musical sense from his mother who’s trained in classical music; he admits having music as his goal since school days. “I am very focused on my work and towards my goals. By God’s grace and the support of family and friends, I could reach this milestone.”
From Nepal, Yoel Young creates music that crosses boundaries
At 17, Yoel Young from Nepal has an interesting lineup of singles on Spotify and other music streaming platforms with impressive hits. Yeol has been singing and creating music for around two years now, making use of the pandemic lockdown time.
“I’m still in high school and due to the pandemic, it’s simpler to adjust school and music,” he says. The youngster’s musical style draws from and blends different genres of music.
“My songs are tailored and glued by feelings and are collections of different emotions that I have felt at different points in my life. I attempt to depict them through my deliveries, melodies and lyrics,” he points out.
Yoel started listening to The Scorpions and The Eagles in his growing up years. “Their songs inspired me to create music. I also got inspired by a lot of hip-hop artists to create music that makes people happy.”
Though not trained formally, Yoel’s exposure to web courses and YouTube is helping him to take up music professionally. “As I am fairly young, I have the leverage to try out different things. I am confident that I will succeed and make it big. I don’t like to settle in a comfortable place. Be it in real life or music. I want to keep evolving and the same goes for my music. That is what sets me apart, says this confident teenager, who feels his biggest accomplishment is doing well on streaming platforms after going viral on Tiktok.
“The pandemic is the best thing that happened to me, as I got to nurture my skills,” he says.
What is the way forward for Yoel? “I want to carry myself and be portrayed as a Creative. Because, if you’re in the music business in this day and age, creativity is the only thing that can keep you relevant for a long time. I’ve been working on an album now and want to put out the best music I possibly can.”