‘I am a musician, not a rockstar’

‘I am a musician, not a rockstar’
That unmistakable baritone in his voice, the alacrity to sing multiple genres with equal ease, and his humble devotion to music carved his three decade long and successful run as an ‘Indian western musician.’ Gary Lawyer, the oft called rockstar of India who started his journey from night clubs in New York back in 1980s, rocked the capital last weekend with his performance at Hard Rock café.

You must have performed so many times here in the Capital, how is Delhi as an audience?

I have lost the count of years since I last toured India with an English singer, but I remember coming down to Delhi at that time. We used to play at Siri Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and a few open air places. Delhi always had a great music scene. Look at it, this time I came here on a searing hot day in the year, when even my friends in the city were out on a holiday but it didn’t impact the performance one bit. It was a packed house with an absorbed and appreciative bunch of audience; what else can a performer ask for?

So did the audience get to hear any of your new compositions from the upcoming album Heaven’s Child?

Not really, because the album is in the production stage. And I don’t like to form a song list for a gig. The only thing I decide is the opening song and then it’s followed by the mood in the air. You know I even played a Frank Sinatra song for Delhiites because they kept on asking for it.

And the new album, tell us more about it?

I can’t put a date to its release for now. It’s the first time I am playing all sort of instruments and producing my own album. I am not that tech savvy and my first two albums were recorded in the States. Heaven’s Child has 11 songs and it is not introspective like my other pieces of work; it’s more about the street children I see around me.

Seeing the independent music scene now, how do you feel about the time you started off in the industry and has it changed tremendously?

I have to confess I was lucky when I started out. Coming from a Parsi family, we were always involved in music but only as a hobby. But I could see my calling in it.

Coming back from the States, I casually sang at one of the events where a friend’s band was performing. And you wouldn’t believe, from that night onwards I started getting calls to sing jingles and perform. Youngsters still come up to me and tell me how they like my cigarette jingle from those days; it was quite a hit. I rode along this new wave on television that broadcast western music back in 90s. My song
Night on Fire
was played at an hour’s interval on television. Those were the days! I can’t compare it to today’s age. I know that youngsters now can easily produce music online but how do you single out something remarkable out of so much data? And then there is Bollywood, a predominant industry that hogs all the limelight in media.

Through your perspective, sticking to independent western singing seems to be an ordeal in this scenario. Share a word of advice for the budding artists.

There’s a song titled Come what may in my new album that dwells on the same thought. The aspiring artistes need to search their soul, understand their talent and then take it forward. A true artist would rather starve but not bow down to adversities on the way to his destination.
Isha Arora

Isha Arora

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