'A song should connect with masses'

'A song should connect with masses'

'A song should connect with masses'

It’s been more than two decades now that music composer Leslie Lewis, has been writing jingles, some of which have been hits too. Considering his experience and creativity, he cannot be challenged in music. Therefore, composing a song which is dedicated to a particular theme and that too ‘healthy heart’ is not a difficult task for him.

Leslie recently composed a song titled Mumbai Ki Dhadkan, to highlight the issues of heart diseases. “The song should not sound like a bhashan (lecture). Instead it should easily connect with the audience,” says Leslie, who takes the entertainment quotient also into consideration. “The song does not have to be dinchaak to reach out to the masses but it should connect,” he says.

And for the ‘connect’ everything has to come from heart. He believes in it and introduced the audience to pop music with slow and soothing songs like Pal or a feisty track Meri neend udd gayi hai. “Channels like MTV and V, were then alternatives to Bollywood and promoted culture of pop music,” says Leslie.

Very true!  But then the culture gradually slumped and Leslie holds Bollywood responsible for it. “Pop music introduced some of the finest singers of today, like KK and Shaan. It was a phase when Bollywood had its specific singers and music composers. These popular pop singers were grabbed when few Bollywood directors began experimenting.

“Bollywood gives a lot of exposure and every artist want to enjoy it. For instance, there was a time when nobody knew about Mika. It was his stint in Bollywood that has given him fame. Now, he sings for films only.”
For singers who have entered Bollywood via pop music, it’s like having, “tasted blood. I worked with KK, have done solo albums with him. But it has been eight years now, he hasn’t recorded any pop album because he has been pulled into the Bollywood circuit. There is more popularity in Bollywood compared to pop albums, which somewhere restrict these artists.

“The vacuum that was created on the pop music scene after fine singers were picked up by Bollywood composers, was filled up by remix numbers,” says he. It was at the time that Leslie gave music lovers the gift of Piya tu ab to aa jaa. “The trend gained momentum with the song and in no time people went completely crazy. With that some vulgar and not-so-good stuff was also served. The whole system got overloaded and made the condition of pop music industry deplorable,” he says.

It was around that time that MTV approached him with a show on classical fusion. “After years, music channels gauged that there was no original music on television and Bollywood reigned all around. So, they asked me to do something new which led to the birth of Coke Studio.”

With excitement palpable still in his tone, Leslie says, “I composed 51 songs in 40 days for the first season of Coke Studio.” His concept of classical fusion is undoubtedly very popular but being a music lover we still want to hear more of Colonial Cousins. “Harry (Hariharan) is a busy person,” says Leslie. “But we will surely plan something.”