If you’ve heard the latest foot-tapping renditions of ‘Sadi Galli’ and ‘Jugni,’ or the endearingly playful ‘Manu Bhaiya,’ then you’re aware of the music of Krsna. Debuting as a full-on film composer with the charming film Tanu Weds Manu, Krsna’s first major soundtrack is still ruling the music charts while the film, released two weeks ago, is still pulling in audiences and has been declared a hit. Here’s an interview with the newest music director on the block.
What’s behind the name ‘Krsna’?
‘Krsna’ is a name that stands for music, poetry, love, truth, creativity, expression and strength all around the world. I felt liberated to imbibe a name so powerful for all my musical persuasions.
So who is Krsna? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I consider myself an optimist as I always try to get out the best of me in any situation. I believe more in constructive action than fate. Childish as it may be, I never want to believe anything is impossible. Every novel idea just needs time to evolve provided one gives his/her heart and soul to it. I have followed these dictums in life and in my musical journey as well, which have brought me this far.
What does music mean to you?
For me, music is my only religion, faith and solace. I believe this universal language really binds the whole world together as one. With such diverse cross cultural musicality today and the Internet, I find myself in the right spot to be able to reach out to the world with different genres of music.
How did you get into music composition?
I hail from a completely non-musical family but I discovered my composing ability during my formative years almost accidentally. I started playing a key instrument and I found myself comfortably playing popular tunes on it. That got me further interested and I started listening to a lot of music. Of all the artists, the perfection and the voice of Michael Jackson really stirred something inside me. He inspired me to wonder, if listening to music is so pleasurable, what is it like to create? So I got admission in the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and studied Films & Video Communication. I specialized in films not only because I loved the medium but also because music is an integral part of filmmaking. When I moved to Mumbai I met my mentor and guide, Jawahar Chavda, who helped me become the musician that I am today. With his support and encouragement, I decided to pursue my passion and started composing music for ad films, corporate theme songs and documentaries.
How did Tanu Weds Manu (TWM) happen?
After a few years in the TV advertising industry and getting some formal training in music, I felt ready to venture into Bollywood. I met Mr. Anand Rai [the director of TWM] through Rajshekhar [the lyricist]. The very next day, I presented him a complete demo of the only song written by then, ‘Manu Bhaiya.’ That changed it all.
What has the response been like to the music of TWM? How does it make you feel?
The response has been overwhelming. I have had lots of viewers and listeners tell me that the music is a strong element of the film. I’m really happy to see that an album so Indian at the core did so well, not only with people from India but worldwide. I just wanted to be honest with my music and I feel numbed to see my efforts pay off.
Who are your musical influences?
I grew up listening to all kinds of music. My early influences have been pop, soft rock, Sufi, classics, country, and R&B. A few of the artists who have inspired me are R.D. Burman, Neyo, A.R. Rahman, George Michael, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Norah Jones, Lataji, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, Pundit Jasraj, Lionel Richie and the list goes on. Above all, Michael Jackson was one soul whose boundless energy and amazing music gripped me the very first time I heard him.
‘Sadi Galli’ and ‘Jugni’ are both well-known Punjabi songs. Why did you choose to include them in your album and how did you decide to give them a new sound?
Quite a substantial part of the TWM is based in Punjab. So it was quite natural for me to use Punjabi songs in the album and in the background score. I then decided to use fusion elements of traditional folk in a modern groovy treatment to make them stand out. ‘Jugni’ was especially selected to match the bold and carefree character of Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) in the movie.
‘Manu Bhaiya’ and ‘Rangrez’ are very conversational songs in their nature. How did you and lyricist Rajshekhar develop those?
I put a lot of emphasis on arriving at the lyrics before I start composing the tune. We understood what our director wanted to communicate through the song, so I let Rajshekhar first write the lyrics to communicate the story. Then I composed the melodies around them.
Some respectable offers have come by, but I would like to announce them in due time. In the non-filmy scene, I do plan to start producing singles and albums as well, under the banner of Jawahar Chavda and release them worldwide.
- One recent film you wish you had done the music for.
- Dream project? I
would like to release an R&B album internationally, hopefully by 2012.
- One singer from the past you would have loved to sing for you.
Legendary Kishore Kumar.
- One singer - anyone in the world - you would like to work with.
- Which album is currently playing on your iPod/car stereo?
Esperanza Spalding/Libra Scale/R.D. Burman Hits
- Dream director?
I would love to score for Steven Spielberg one day.
- If you weren’t a composer, you would be a…
Film Director/Online Entrepreneur