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Arjun Kanungo: I have just been a little unlucky (in Bollywood)

Comments  Comments [ 0 ]    By Ami Sheth | 27 March 2018 | 11:15am


In an #Exclusive interview with us, Arjun Kanungo talks about his unusual voice, his trending Pop songs and more

Do you think you have an unusual voice?

Yeah, I do think I have an unusual voice that is why I have also got my Bollywood playback (Go Goa Gone & Pizza) and I feel like it's always a season for everyone. I felt Atif (Aslam) had his own time, then Ankit Tiwari now Arijit Singh. It's a matter of time before Bollywood opens up to new voices. I think that's when I will be actually able to tell that I am an unusual or not because I do feel like I have a western kind of voice but, I don't know how unique it is. 

Is there any particular genre of songs that you feel it won't suit your voice?

I do feel the same thing and sometimes if I am making a song and if I feel my voice doesn't suit I do approach, other singers if their voice gives a better output than mine.  

You have been to various shows along with Asha Bhosle Has she ever reacted anything after listening to your songs?

It' a very strange thing, I got into singing because of Ashaji. I had gone to audition for a band as a guitar player some 7- 8 years ago. While I was playing the guitar and also humming a bit she stopped me by saying, "Aap guitar band kar dena, aap sirf gaana." (Do not play the guitar, just sing). I said, "Why?" and she was like, "Aap guitar player nai ho, aap gayak ho." (You are not a guitar player, you are a singer). Leave all these and come along with me on stage. You can sing with me and play a little guitar." Daily she used to give some new Hindi songs to learn as I only used to sing English songs at that time. The first two songs she had given me to sing were 'Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam' and 'Oh Haseena Zulfon Wali'. She asked me to learn those songs so that next time whenever we had rehearsals she could check how I sing those songs. With this process, I eventually started singing live on stage with her. She did tweet after listening to my first song Baaki Baatein Pine Baad in 2015 that she liked my work. I thought it was really cool. I still make sure that I keep sending her the links of my work. While sometimes she watches and reply and other times she doesn't. Maybe those times she might not have liked the songs (Laughs). Also, the music has changed a lot from what they used to make and what we make now. I hope, she likes my music, can't say whether she really likes it or not.

Any advice from the legendary singer that you follow?

The first thing she had told me was, "The amount of passion you put in singing the English songs the same way you should put efforts for the Hindi ones." That was when I was introduced to Bollywood and the best advice she has given me is to, "Learn the meaning of the lyrics of each song." She used to say beauty is in the poetry and I don't think so anything is truer than that.

Is there any singer that you have always been wanting to collaborate with?

I would love to do a song with Arijit and would love to make a song for him, to sing. Everybody loves his voice but, everyone has been giving him the same kind of songs. They don't make him try anything new. So, I would love to sit with him and really test his voice out. I am sure he doesn't have the time (Laughs) but, I would love to do that.

But, he did try with Binte Dil from "Padmaavat" and has been highly praised by the listeners.

I don't think it was that different. I feel that was in his comfort zone only. I would like to give him something that is out of his comfort zone. The closest I have seen him really test his voice is in 'O Sathi', a song from the film 'Shabh' (2017) in which Mithoon had given the music and he is best in testing the voice of the singers. And I felt Arijit was unbelievable in that song for the way he has used his voice.

Even you have been singing club songs till now, don't you think people might even typecast you for that?

You know the difference is that I am doing 'Pop' and the Pop music is already here. People have been saying that Pop music will be our future but, I would say it's already here. Last year, from top 40 songs half were pop songs and half were recreated Pop numbers. Since Pop is here I feel I am from one of those few lucky ones in this field and I feel in next two years we will be having more Pop artists. It's very difficult to get typecasted because we are close to about 40 - 50 good Pop artists in our country and that's a very small number to get typecasted so, I am not really worried about it right now as it has come in mainstream but, people have not really perceived it in that way they still call it as, "Album ka song hai" (It is an album song). There's a long time they will be having the change in their perception and when it does, maybe at that time I would feel like...I got to do something different now. 

Have you thought about recreating a song as that is a trend for now?
I don't have a problem with recreation but I feel like the marketing in every film is done only for the recreated songs and not the original ones. Well, they should promote the recreated songs, I have no issues with that but, they should also be promoting the original content. After 10 years, of course, they will again want to recreate some songs then how will they recreate if the original content won't be a 'Hit'. You can't recreate the same song again and again. The people who are marketing the entire film and their songs are not seeing the bigger picture that in 10 years they won't be having anything to recreate just because they did not promote the original content. 

You had sung for Bollywood in 2013 & 14 but, not post that. Is it like the music directors aren't offering songs or you are now more interested in making your own platform in music?

Pop has really kept me busy but, it's not like I don't want to do Bollywood. In Fact, I spent a lot of time for Tarun Mansukhani's film, "Drive" starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez. I had spent 8 months to make music for the film and two of the songs also got confirmed. They took the song, shot for it and then they realised that they want to remove the whole situation/sequence from the film. And that was like 6 months of my work in those two songs. I think I have just been a little unlucky as it was completely out of my control. Whenever you are doing a song for Dharma Production or Yash Raj Films they take a lot of time to decide and try ten different things, which is great as it is good for the film but, what happens when you are stuck in such situation is that, your songs are already locked but, due to some reasons they get cancelled and you have lost your 6 months of hard work. But, that's okay I am not complaining about it. These things keep happening however, you will definitely hear a song from me in July 2018.

What connects you to the audience and makes you feel that your songs will work on them?

If I will like it they will like it too because I genuinely don't release anything that I don't like. I take my time to make my songs. As I am young and people around me are also young, I play the song and take their opinion. If they do not connect to it I rewrite the song. Even before my song comes out I test it on 100 people and I really trust those people around me. That's how it works for me...if I like it, people around me like it... then why won't the Janta like it?

Tell us something about your upcoming single?

I can't tell you the label but, I'll be shooting in Thailand. The music video is with the Universal music, it will also feature one of their artists and it's again a Pop song. This year I am trying to release six songs. Even the audience today wants the trend to be continued and now that, everyone has started loving the Pop songs and many of my fans keep asking me about the upcoming singles I feel it's the right time to keep coming up with my Pop music.

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