Singing away to glory

voice of today

Singing away to glory

Son of a senior politician and a businesswoman mother from Uttarakhand, Jubin Nautiyal has been making waves with a string of popular songs. The youngster, who began to sing at the age of four, had decided that he would create his own name and identity so that people could know and judge him on his own steam.

“All my friends would change their perception of me as soon as they would come to know that my dad is a politician,” he explains. “Most changed for the worse, but the point is that they would never treat me as a normal guy,” exclaims Jubin. “I have never done anything for the sake of doing it or approached it casually,” he stresses. “It was the same with music. I decided to take it up right from school. So music was a subject in which I gave an exam in Class 10, and again in Class 12.”

A sound base

Having studied music from Vandana Shrivastava, he learnt more and more in an unconventional fashion that he perfected. “I went for a while to Benares, the citadel of Indian music, and learnt the kajari, chaiti and Radhika ki Holi, which is light classical folk music. I attended a few classes of Pandit Channulal Misraji there and with their permission and consent, took back many recordings of his classes. I did the same with Pandit Jasrajji. I went down to Chennai to meet Prasanna, the great guitarist who runs the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. In this academy, interactive sessions with international musicians, including Grammy winners, are often held. I also went to London to study Rock and Progressive Rock, which helped me get a base in Western music,” he explains.

The final learning ground was the film industry, where Jubin told several music directors that he was willing to sing “scratches” (rough tracks for sounding off filmmakers and others who chose the music for a film) free of charge. “I am still singing them. In two years, I sang 250 to 300 tracks for so many composers, starting with Pritam.”

All these exercises, he says, made his voice sharper, cleaner, deeper, and much more expressive. “Most of my learning was in light classical, with a strong
emphasis on bhaav (expressions of emotions), and as a bonus, I learnt the art of singing in front of a microphone.”

Like most singers of late, Jubin’s first released song, ‘Ek mulaqat’ from Rohan Sippy’s production Sonali Cable, was not the same as the one he actually recorded first — ‘Meherbani’ for The Shaukeens. “I owe my break to Akshay paaji,” he reveals. “This song was recorded as a scratch, but he loved my voice and refused to have it replaced. In fact, he did not even allow the composer, Arko, to let me re-dub it! And ‘Ek mulaqat’ got me 40 million hits on YouTube. It was composed by Amjad-Nadeem.”
Up next was his biggest hit till now, ‘Zindagi Kuch Toh Bata’ from Bajrangi Bhaijaan — another would-be scratch, this time for Pritam, which was retained. After that, another popular number, ‘Bandeya’, was again composed by Amjad-Nadeem, for Jazbaa.

Jubin sang in films like Kuch Kuch Locha Hai, 1920 London, One Night Stand, Raaz: Reboot, Fitoor, Rustom and Ishq Forever. This year, he has already sung the ‘Humma Humma’ re-creation in OK Jaanu. But his big break has been Kaabil.

In the big league

How did he get this major break considering the fact that he has four songs in the album? “Things just fell into place,” he says, happily. “Sanjay Gupta had loved how I sang ‘Bandeya’ in his film, Jazbaa. I also won the Mirchi award for my song in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and on the show, I sang a portion of it. And Rakesh Roshan-sir, Rajesh Roshan-sir and Hrithik Roshan-sir were seated in the audience.”

When the Roshans and Sanjay Gupta discussed among themselves, the latter said that he had loved the innocence of ‘Bandeya’, and Jubin was called for ‘Kuch Din Se Mujhe’ for Kaabil. “Rajesh-sir is fantastic with new singers,” says Jubin. “He is so sure of his composition and of things like diction, that it was great working for him, and we have developed a tuning. He then called me for the two-version title-track, and I also sang the Julie re-creation ‘Kisi Se Pyar Ho Jaye’ by Gourov-Roshin,” Jubin states.

For good measure, Jubin has also sung a few non-film tracks and a song each in Bengali and Telugu films. “I am open to songs in any language, provided I can understand the lyrics. These two songs were simple and quite easy for me.” In Hindi, he is now singing for,

Half Girlfriend and Jolly LLB 2, wherein, after The Shaukeens and Rustom, he
reunites with his “Akshay paaji.” Stating that ‘Bawra Mann’ is the superstar’s favourite song from the film, he hopes that the actor and he will continue to have a long association.

But each of these films have had multiple composers. How does he see this trend, especially after singing for single-composer musical hits like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Kaabil? “I personally feel that just as one director does one film, one composer must score the music for all the genres of songs within a film,” he opines decisively. “It is only then that we come to know his calibre, and he realises it himself as well. That trend, however, is unlikely to come back in force because most of today’s music makers are doubtful about their abilities. Also, they usually believe that they have to give a film one song, usually of the kind they are known for, and that’s it,” he signs off.

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