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Accomplishing the Grammy dream

Accomplishing the Grammy dream
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How was it winning the Grammy?
It was something I had never even dreamt about. It seemed so unattainable, because people who do get a Grammy, get it much later in life! I had never expected it to happen so soon. It was of course, exhilarating and exciting. The feeling is yet to sink in.

How did you get into music? Your family wasn’t really supportive?

I started practising guitar and keyboard when I was in school. When I was entering college I decided that I wanted to pursue music as a career.

My family didn’t agree with my decision. So, I had to make a deal with my father. I went for a dental surgery degree and till the time I finished the course I didn’t practise music for even a single day. The day my course was completed I handed my degree to my father and went ahead to pursue my dream.

It’s a worldwide problem. Parents feel that music is not a profession. And even those who pursue music expect immediate results. If you go for an engineering degree, you wait for four years, but as far as music is concerned,  you are expected to make money by the very next day. To pursue a career in music, you need to treat it like a career.  Now, that my parents see me working long hours with discipline; they see my work ethics and the fact that it is also paying me well, they are happy.

How was it coming back to India after the Grammy?
I was very eager to come back to India. The Grammy and everything surrounding was indeed very hectic and stressful. Now, it is time to relax.

How did it feel to be actually there and  receive the Grammy?
It was exhilarating being in the same room with people you have always heard about, followed and admired. The acceptance speech was the high point for me; standing there before the legends and delivering the thanking speech. 

After the award, they took me backstage and Hans Zimmer congratulated me! I am a big fan of his and it was definitely a moment to remember.

You won the Grammy for Winds of Samsara, in collaboration with South African flutist Wouter Kellerman. What’s your opinion on cross-border music collaborations?
It was bound to happen. Music is about connecting hearts and the world is realising it now. It is not about how you created the music and the processes that were involved, but the end product that matters. Music can blur all boundaries and cross every barrier.

Did you try to get into commercial music? Were you approached for films or other profit-making projects?

I love my independence. I can write anything I want, without a director’s pressure and I enjoy the fact that my music comes straight from my heart. And the award is a validation of it.

India really needs an independent music scenario. Unfortunately, independent musicians are not given a chance today. I wonder if even the commercially successful musicians sometime yearn to write something for themselves; about what they feel without a director’s directive. I want to tell budding musicians that it is alright to make their own music.

What are your future plans?

I really don’t know what is next; a Grammy is usually the ultimate ambition, so what comes next is not really a question that I can answer right now.
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