'It still hasn't sunk in'

'It still hasn't sunk in'

Known for his distinctive style of music and his songs which are Indian yet contemporary, Ricky Kej has always had a niche audience. This singer, has been the talk of the town lately with his nomination for the 57th Grammy Awards for his latest album ‘Winds of Samsara’ under the ‘Best New Age Album of the Year’.

Ask the musician how he feels to be nominated and he says, “It is unbelievable! It is one of those things that I thought I would never get and something which I could only watch on television.” He adds that he feels a bit stressed too.

“I wasn’t prepared for this at all. This doesn’t take away the fact that I am exhilarated! But I have too many messages to respond to and a lot of work related to it.” He says that he always thought he wouldn’t be successful enough to afford fancy cars and luxuries. All he wanted to do was follow his passion.

“But within the first few years of my career, I was able to. There are many ‘unattainable dreams’ and the Grammy nomination is one of them. I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

He says that he felt the album would get him noticed in the Indian music industry since it had topped the US Billboard New Age charts but a Grammy nomination was out of the question. “When I first heard about this, I was in disbelief. It still hasn’t sunk in,” he says.

About his co-producer, South-African flautist Wouter Kellerman, he says, “Wouter is an amazing guy, a great human being and a brilliant musician. This album took almost two years to make. There was a lot of travelling together around the world; also during this time Wouter became a grandfather and I got married.

So, it was an emotional and amazing two years with him.” Usually, two artistes from different backgrounds will have differing thoughts, but the duo complemented each other through every step towards the album, says Ricky. “Whatever skill I did not have, he had and vice-versa. It just worked beautifully.”

Ricky details that ‘Winds of Samsara’ started with his first meeting with Wouter many years back. “We knew instantly that we wanted to work with each other, but we didn’t know for what. But we respected each other’s ‘Father of the Nation’ — Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

I brought in Indian elements to the song Wouter had written about Mandela, and he brought in South-African elements to my Mahatma track. It went well and we just decided to work on another track and on. The album is about peace, love and harmony.”

He says that most of his works are based on the word ‘harmony’. “My music is an extension of me and is inspired by many things. But my greatest inspiration is harmony. Music is a great way to define how the world should be.

We usually talk about living in unison. In music if all instruments are played together, it will just sound noisy. But in an orchestra, each instrument has its own idealogy and range and is played at different times, which works beautifully.”

Ricky, who has created thousands of jingles, says that he will never stop making them. “Jingles are a great workout. They usually take one or two days to complete and everyday is a different tune. Today I might work on a Tamil folk one, tomorrow might be an Irish one and the next day a hip-hop one.”

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