This Dilliwala musician is Obama’s favourite

This Dilliwala musician is Obama’s favourite

Prateek Kuhad’s song ‘Cold Mess’ is one of former US president’s favourite songs

At the end of every year, former US President Barack Obama puts out a list of his favourite movies, books and music. Being one of the most popular modern presidents and one of the most-followed people on social media, his choices tend to have an impact in the respective industries.

So, it was not surprising that soon after this year’s list was put out, Americans were furiously googling the name Prateek Kuhad and his song ‘Cold Mess’.

Prateek is sheepish when asked about this recognition.

“I mean, it was cool,” he tells Showtime. “More than anything, I really respect that he’s a good human being. It’s always nice to be appreciated by someone of prominence.”

He is planning to use this as a conversation starter if he ever meets the former president. “That’s definitely how I would start the conversation,” he says.

Prateek has been travelling around the world for the last couple of months as part of his world tour.

He was to conclude the show in Bengaluru in December, but had to postpone it to later this month because of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests.

He says the response to his concerts abroad has seen a drastic change. “The last time I performed in the US, the audience was mostly Indians. This time, I saw a lot more local crowd.”
Though he gives live performances regularly now, he’s not a fan. It’s just part of the job, he says.

“I think a lot about what we do. For me, (work) is about being in the studio and making a record. When it comes to touring live, I may not enjoy it as much, but you understand that it is the right thing to do,” he says.

People who have seen him perform live have spoken about his sense of calm. Which may be why his music has been described as “feel good” and “curling up under a blanket”, and you find the audience often singing along.

Prateek’s songs, especially ‘Cold Mess’, has made many people dub him “the bearer of heartbreak songs”. He doesn’t care much for the sobriquet.

“In all honesty, the more you do this, the more people will draw barriers and put you into categories, say good and bad things. You just have to be kind of zen about it. I just keep my head straight and remind myself that I get to do what I really like doing and have a good time doing it,” he says.

Being self-taught, Prateek can’t read sheet music and doesn’t know music theory. It’s only been a couple of years since he learnt how to play the piano. Before that, he only used his guitar to write music.

A huge critic of himself, Prateek puts out a song only when he feels absolutely confident. Having climbed one more rung of fame, he says his biggest fear is that he will remain mediocre. “I try to be good at what I do. I fear I’d just be mediocre.”

“I am also a fairly cynical person,” he says, “But this week has been pretty good to me, so glad you got me at a good time.”

This interview is, in fact, one of his last official stops before going on a holiday with his girlfriend. “I’m actually going on a long holiday. For a week. I usually don’t take a break for more than two or three days. I get very angsty,” he says.

The upcoming Prateek Kuhad Winter Tour 2019 show is on January 22 at Manpho Convention Center, near Manayata Tech Park, at 8 pm.

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