After making his singing debut with the song ‘Hey Yaar Tu’ from the film ‘[email protected]’ in the year 2011, Hrishikesh Chury went on to lend his voice for songs in ‘Housefull 3’ and ‘Tera Intezaar’. He was also a jury member of the singing reality show ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs’. We had a conversation with the upcoming singer and got some insight into the Hindi music industry and what it takes to be successful in it.
Pycker: When did you first realize that music is your passion?
Hrishikesh: I used to love music as a child but I started loving music when I was in school and heard the title track of the film ‘Roja’ and sang the song and realized that I can sing well because I don’t come from a musical family but they also realized it and that was the time I started taking vocational courses.
P: Tell us something about your family background and growing up years?
H: I come from a family with a strong education background which is filled with engineers and doctors and music was something very out of the box and we hardly knew anything from the music industry or film industry…and yes it was a very different experience for all of us. But education was a must for me so I did all my education first along with my singing.
P: How much did you have to struggle to get a break in Bollywood?
H: First of all you don’t know what exactly you have to do because singing is not all about singing you need a lot of time and have certain people around you who could tell what to do what not to do…so, I guess I took a lot of time to understand what I need to do to get started on a singing career.
P: So how did you get your first song from [email protected]?
H: During [email protected] I was meeting a lot of people and that was the time I met music director Monty Sharma who checked my voice and then asked me to sing the song ‘Hey Yaar Tu.’ Though the film was not a big one neither there was much talk about it but yes, that was my first song and was happy about it. Those days it took a while to meet music directors but nowadays you have cell phones, text messages Facebook and Social media which makes it easier to get in touch.
P: When you get a call to sing a song what sort of preparation you do?
H: They give the setup and the scenario of the song and who is going to sing it and how you have to express yourself…these are the inputs we get from the composer and lyricist and we have to sing accordingly
P: Are you allowed to make any changes or give your inputs while singing a song?
H: We have to sing in our own style and sometimes the music director says thoda sa aisa karo, waisa karo, sometimes the director, producer and music companies too have to be called in to suggest while creating a song because every song has a different greeting and every singer has a different greeting.
P: Which music directors inspired you in your growing years?
H: It was A.R. Rahman whose ‘Roja’ compositions inspired me to sing. Though I haven’t sung for him but have tried to meet him a couple of times. Yes, it was Rahman who inspired me to sing.
P: Apart from Rahman any other music director you’d love to work with?
P: Which actor do you think your voice would suit the best?
H: I haven’t thought about it before but I would love to sing for one person which is Amitabh Bachchan because he’s a living legend and if someday I get a chance to sing for him that’ll be the best moment of my life.
P: Can you name a song which you think you’d have done a better job of?
H: No, no, no…I don’t think that I would’ve sung any song better, I think whoever has sung the song was best suited for him or her, I don’t think about it in that direction.
P: But still is there any song you’d have liked to sing?
H: There are so many songs I would have liked to sing because there are so many songs coming every day that I guess it’s not a practical thing.
P: What’s your definition of success in the music industry?
H: Success for me is to singing more and more songs, every second day if my song is coming out or probably every week if my song is coming out and if I’m reaching out to people. The sky is the limit for a person. Ek zamaane mein Kumar Shanuda used to sing 28 songs per week so there is no limit on how much you want to achieve. I would definitely love to sing more and more songs.
P: What according to you is the key to survival in Bollywood?
H: Just don’t get disheartened by things because sometimes it goes very slow, it takes a lot of time. If I would have quit long back I probably wouldn’t have been in Bollywood industry. And you have to be frank as well.
P: Have you received any acting offers?
H: No. I’m just a singer, I’m just a music guy and I’ve never thought in that direction. People have told me a couple of times but I have never taken that thing seriously.
P: You’ve done quite well academically too. So if not music, what would you have done?
H: Academics was always required from my family and I’m from Bombay so I couldn’t go anywhere else. If I was from some other place I could have left everything and come over to Bombay. But I was answerable to my family, my relatives and people around me. So academics was something I had to do and music was my passion since childhood. I’ve always wanted to be a singer and getting my first song has taken a lot of time and getting my second song after that took almost 5 years but singing was the only thing that was on my mind.
P: You’ve also given a song for ‘Tera Intezaar’. Apart from that would you like to tell us about your upcoming projects?
H: I can’t disclose any upcoming projects as I’m not allowed to talk about them.
P: How was your experience being a jury member of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs?
H: It was really excellent. We really bonded like a family. Initially, we thought that we’re 30 jury members from the same field, how would we be able to bond with each other for such a long time as we had to sit there for about 18 hours per day for the shoot. But the way we all bonded, it was like a huge family. From the jury members, the judges to the production guys, it was like a family with all the participants and all. So it never felt like we were working, we were having fun.
P: Music has changed a lot over the years. What’s your take on modern Bollywood music?
H: I think change is a part of life, everything changes but there’s not much change in the music industry. Of course, there was the time of Mohd. Rafi Sahab and in between there were Udit Narayan and then Sonu Nigam but you have to adapt that style to go with it and you have to sing in your authentic way. You have to improvise and you have to follow the trend but at the same time, you have to keep your authentic voice and not imitate others. So basically, keep your own voice, keep your own texture, keep your own style and follow the trend and go with the change.
P: Are singers well paid in Bollywood or do you think there should be a payment format structure?
H: It depends on the singer. If you’re good then people are paying well.
P: Sometimes singers get typecast to only sing for a particular actor, for example, Sudesh Bhosle mostly sang for Amitabh Bachchan. What’s your take on that and are you scared of being typecast?
H: I don’t know if Sudesh Ji was typecast. It’s the singer’s choice and I think Sudesh Ji getting out Amit Ji’s voice at that time was liked by people and I think people wanted Amit Ji’s singing voice to sound like his actual voice and that was done excellently by Sudesh Ji. It’s completely the singer’s choice about what they want to sing and what projects they want to take. Amit Ji ki voice mein gaana was a difficult task for people and unhone woh kiya tha, that was his USP for singing and that worked for him and people wanted him to sing so that was his call, what projects he was taking in.
P: Nowadays Bollywood songs have a shelf life of one or two weeks. Where do you see Bollywood music going maybe in the next ten years?
H: I think now we’re living in a life where we want everything fast. We are not into something for a very long time. You cannot keep something for a very long time. Agar khaana chahiye toh fast food, not like pehle ke zamaane mein we used to cook aaram se 4 ghanta cook karte the, probably we don’t have time to cook also so many restaurants are coming up. So there is change happening everywhere because we don’t have time and because we are moving on from one thing to another thing very quickly. The same thing is happening to singing but there are so many songs coming up and we are listening to one song for some time. Previously what used to happen is when a song came out, time zyaada diya jaa raha tha for longevity, now what is happening is the quantity is more and tumko samajhne ke liye time hii nahi milta uske beech mein we are getting ten more songs and options so we are also not giving time to that song.
P: Given an opportunity, what is the one thing you’d like to change in Bollywood music or singers?
H: I’ve never thought of that and actually I’m not that big a person to change. To work on my songs and to work on my singing, I’ll be more than happy than to look at the entire Bollywood and to change the entire Bollywood structure is something beyond my capacity to even think of. In fact, Bollywood has changed a lot when compared to what was there ten years ago I think that’s a nice thing. Previously not many people had cell phones and it was not easy to get the numbers of music directors. Now they are all available on social media. Pehle agar music director ko unke ghar ke bahar dekha bhi toh aisa lagta tha ki arrey wah wah wah I just have seen that guy but now it has become easier and things are changing very rapidly in a positive way.
P: What is your advice to upcoming singers and people who want to get into the music Industry?
H: Work hard first of all, be prepared with your voice. Secondly, you have to look out for the right people. Ek hota hai ki kabhi kabhi you don’t meet the right people so first try to analyze who you are meeting. Aapko koi bolega ki main inse milaaunga, unse milaaunga par hoga hii nahi. Koi bolega ki I’ll do this and that so first criticize that person. This is a big thing, some people take advantage of you and they are not even from the film industry so you have to scrutinize these people. And the third thing is that you have to keep patience. Don’t expect to get a call immediately. You have to be patient and you have to keep improving yourself with the trend.
P: How would you describe yourself?
H: Describe myself? These are very unique questions and nobody has asked me these questions in the past. I’m a passionate guy about music and that’s the thing I do all the time and I can’t say no to people who need help. I really appreciate honesty. The three words that describe Hrishikesh Chury, I would say are an honest, hardworking person.
P: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?
H: I would love to be a well-established singer and for people to know me. That has been my dream for a very long time.