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News |  18 Oct 2013 10:55 |  By RnMTeam

Shankar Mahadevan on his new album and label

MUMBAI: Humility is truly a virtue and Shankar Mahadevan is the live embodiment of it. A man that needs no introduction or background recap, Mahadevan, was recently declared the face of the Storm Festival 2014. With his Remembering Shakti Tour just a few days away and several Bollywood and otherwise projects under his belt, the singing sensation exclusively reveals to’s Disha Deshpande his plans for a new album and his own record label. He further talks about being a game changer, supporting young musicians, Shankar Mahadevan music academy and advice for young musicians.


View on the Indian youth becoming more receptive to the different kinds of music

They always were receptive. You do a very good song; there is no place you can put it out! You have a song, but if it doesn’t reach an audience, then you are not giving them a chance to judge whether it is good or bad. Yes, internet is there, but how long has that been in the picture anyway? Very few years, isn’t it? So platforms like YouTube, independent labels; I am also opening my independent label, these are the avenues that people will get to put out the music that they actually want to make.

Musicians your label will support:

Anybody and everybody! You never know. But this is where I will be able to use my expertise and goodwill that I have built over the years, if not anything else. I can easily go and ask an Amjad Ali Khan or a Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt to jam with a folk musician tomorrow because I want to see how it is going to sound. Nobody has ever heard it. I can request them as a label that please come together and do something. I can do here with Storm being the brand ambassador for the festival and say, “Please sir, please come on stage and do this because we want to hear you.” And they also get excited. See, initially, they will all get a little tossed but they also get excited to get an opportunity like this.

New album plans:

Yes, I am. In fact I have recorded a couple of pieces too, but that I release only through my label. The music will be anything from Pandhar ke Abhangs to maybe a Jazz fusion to a traditional Carnatic Tyagaraja Krithi, to a Patiala Punjabi dance song or maybe an association with a Marathi Lavani artiste. It could be anything. It is wont have the music channel from the album channelised to particular form. It is impossible and most importantly, I am not like that.

Feasibility of launching an album these days:

We have to change the game. Yes, I am going to try to be one of the game changers. I have always tried to.

On his music academy:

I do not believe that a person does not have time. You have to make time. Yes, I am not able to go there and sit and teach every student but I was very clear that is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to impart education to students through my academy. But I am responsible for it. I planned the curriculum. The whole academy was planned by me and my partner. There was someone to execute it, like these people at the Storm Festival. I always wanted to do a festival where I would be the curator or some such. I have been to most of the Jazz festivals in the world. I have seen Herbie Hancock and I have seen all these people curating these festivals and it is so beautiful and what an experience. Basically, the intention is to get the musicians and let people hear them, on one stage. The whole atmosphere is fantastic! When I used to go to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival, before-hours was Chick Koria and after-hours was Bobby McFerrin, so that was the level of musicians, you know? There was a bigger stage called the Miles Davis Stage, smaller stages, camping stages, a whole line of food stalls put out there and people selling merchandise. And I said, “why the hell can’t India have a festival like that?” So it was a deep desire of mine to be associated with a festival or start a festival of my own. But as you know, I was busy. This just fell into my lap. Besides, I know the people who are working with the festival, their intentions and what they are all about, because I have worked with them in the past and done shows for over 10 years with them. Otherwise I am the last person who would get associated with just anything.

Young music composers you would like to work with:

All of them! I have worked with new comers who haven’t done any film before. They call me saying, “Sir, could you sing one song for me and my album?” and I say “sure!” A composer is a composer. Send me composition. If I really feel you are talented, I will sing for you. I have sung for them free of cost also. At the end of the day, a musician helps a musician. That is the only way it works.

Advice to young aspiring musicians

Number one is work towards excellence. Whatever little you are doing, work towards excellence. Secondly, patience. Relentlessly keeping doing what you do. And if you do it to an extent where people feel you cannot be replaced, that they need you, and then you will be successful.