While several people look at songs’ success through the prism of views and likes, renowned singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan does not seem to be affected by the number game.
In an interview with ANI, Mahadevan opened up about the factors that make a song hit and why is it important for a musician to keep experimenting. “We can never predict which song will be successful and if I had that magic I would instantly be rich and famous.. I think ours is a creative job and we are creating something out of nothing. Also, our creative product is very abstract which means that what I like someone else may not like and so on. It is all subjective and depends on individuals’ choices, upbringing, and taste of music, what one listens to when since birth, when young and so on. A musician has to just do his/her job and not wait or try to predict the outcome. But in the long run honesty, sincerity and music naturally following from you is what works,” he said.
In a career spanning almost 25 years, Mahadevan has lent his voice to multiple languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Kannada among others. With tracks like ‘Breathless’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’, ‘Kajra Re’, and ‘Mitwa’, Mahadevan along with his partners Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa carved a niche for himself in the Indian music industry.
On being asked if there’s any song that he thought wasn’t his best but actually turned out to be a massive hit, the musician responded, “We don’t leave any stone unturned before we bring the music out. On the other hand, there were instances when we thought some songs that we released will work very well but they just didn’t do well because of lack of marketing and various other parameters. Having said that, I don’t think there was any song that wasn’t our best because we have put our heart and soul in every piece of music that we have done.”
More than his own songs, Mahadevan now enjoys listening to his sons, Siddharth and Shivam’s tracks.
“I am lucky to not have one but two sons who sing and they are doing extremely well, in fact, the title song of ‘Toofaan’ has been sung by my son Siddharth and also ‘Star Hai Tu’, a part of the song has also been sung by Siddharth. He has already had his quota of hits in the film industry but my younger son, Shivam is also singing very well and if you see his Instagram following and he has sung in ‘Bandish Bandits’ (‘Chedkhaniya’, ‘Sajan Bin’), he has sung in ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusali’ (‘Man Mandira’) and they have become massive hits. I am really blessed and the greatest feeling for a father is to have children who sing, I myself get an opportunity to perform with my children,” he beamed with pride.
The young sons are undoubtedly continuing their father’s musical legacy.
“I can actually go on stage and sing my kids’ song, that’s truly a blessing. The bond we share is like- we are buddies. We discuss things openly; I end up learning a lot from them as they are totally glued into the current musical trends, the current songs, what is happening in the world, various genres of music. I learn a lot from learning what they hear, their advice and their inputs into the songs matter a lot to me because they are both aesthetically very good musicians,” Mahadevan added.
Speaking about Mahadevan’s recent slate of work, he performed at the Times Mic Drop concert that streamed live on the Gaana app last month. He is now gearing up for several Bollywood films, including Kangana Ranaut-starrer ‘Dhaakad’ and Sooraj Barjatya’s yet-untitled film.
“There are lots of films coming out, there is a film with Rajshri Productions that we are doing and it’s an untitled film which is first time directed by Sooraj Barjatya’s son, Avinash Barjatya. Then there is Prithviraj, Yash Raj Productions; ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, Yash Raj Productions. We are doing a film called ‘Dhaakad’; we are doing a film by Meghna Gulzar called ‘Sam Manekshaw’ and a few others are coming up in the pipeline,” he shared.
Mahadevan also spoke about the social work that he has been doing through his academy.
“The Shankar Mahadevan Academy is running 24×7 with students from all over the world learning our music and our culture so that is growing really big. A lot of associations with many schools and organizations, basically doing a lot of social work through the academy, performing for terminally ill patients, performing for SMA Nirvana, SMA Muskuraahat is raising funds for needy musicians. We have Joyful Choir which is for autistic children whom we train. We have Inspire India, where we teach music to extremely economically backward children and people who want to learn music. There is also SME Samaj, a social awareness program where we convey various social messages through music. We are using music as a tool, to better humanity,” Mahadevan concluded.