The transformation of a rock star

The transformation of a rock star

Carving a niche for oneself in the independent music scene, and that too in a regional language,  is no mean feat. But  the youngster Hemanth Jois, from Koppa, Chikkamagaluru, is doing just that. Composing independent songs in Kannada as well as scoring tracks for Kannada films,  he has come a long way from his childhood when he wanted to become a software engineer. "I come from a very small town where engineering is a highly respected field. I am also good at computers, so being a software engineer was the plan," says the guitarist, composer and songwriter who is also known for performing Kannada classics with a metal twist.

In second PUC, Hemanth started listening to the likes of Linkin Park and Metallica, and there was no looking back. "I picked up a guitar and started learning music from Google and YouTube." During his final year of MBA at Manipal, he formed a band called Last Semester (which today is also a popular single of his). However, a successful campus placement in the third semester and a couple of months later, he was holding the plum job of a marketing analyst. "But I wasn't happy and changed four to five jobs in a year. I also fell sick because I was working during the day and practising music at night." Hemanth then decided to go back to his roots, Koppa. After introspecting a lot, he came to Bengaluru to learn music, studio techniques, mixing and mashing, among other skills, and started training under Sanjeev Thomas, the guitarist of A R Rahman. Be it working as a teacher at Sanjeev's music school Rainbow Bridge or taking classes at his sister's apartment, every little experience in his life helped Hemanth come up with Tunturu along with singer Chetan Naik.

A mesmerising melody that has been widely appreciated on social media, Tunturu  was shot in the misty hills of Western Ghats and takes one back to childhood. His second single, Last Semester, was a metal-infused catchy tune that takes one back to college, and has received over 93,000-plus views on YouTube till date.

Regularly performing live with Chetan Naik as part of Naik and The Jois Project, Hemanth also works with new talents as part of his solo act called The Jois Project. "I am hoping to collaborate with a couple of international artistes this year," he says.

He composes songs and background score for Kannada films, and would love to work with singers like Kavita Seth and Arijit Singh in the future. "For me, going from being a rock artiste to a desi musician was the biggest challenge. As independent artistes, we are free to work as we please, but film-makers and audiences may not always like the work we do," says the musician, who is now scoring music for five Kannada movies. Hemanth has just finished work on the video of his next single, Payana. "'Payana'  means journey, and the song is all about living your dream. It's dedicated to people like me who have taken the offbeat track of working on their passion," he says.

From rap to EDM, the music industry keeps shifting shape. But Hemanth hopes that the independent music scene sees a big boom in future. "As kids, we grew up listening to Indipop songs like 'Made  In India', and still love them. I hope many of my independent songs become as popular so that the kids of today can enjoy them as adults many years from now."

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