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I Want to Change the Sound of Bollywood Music -Abhijeet Srivastava

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This small town guy came, lived and conquered the Tinseltown with his voice and today lives his dreams to make it big in Bollywood. The singer, songwriter Abhijeet Srivastava shares interesting insights about his journey from his SAREGAMA little champ days to being mentored by Ace Sound Engineer, Recordist and a visionary entrepreneur Ashish Manchanda, to doing his debut for the film  ‘Andhadhun’ to his latest music release ‘Musafir’ in an interesting conversation with writes Priyaankaa Mathur

Abhijeet Srivastava belongs to Lakhimpur-Kheri, a small town near Lucknow. His father encouraged him to sing Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar songs from an early age. Eventually, he started performing at the local festivals of his region, but still, he had not made his mind to take music seriously, so what happened next created history as  Abhijeet says, “ When I was around 11 years old, I got selected for SAREGAMA little champs and came to Mumbai. I saw the true scene of the music industry as to how it works and also got an opportunity to train under the music directors and singers who were the judges on the show, like Abhijeet Bhattacharya. The show gave me a lot of exposure to the music industry and recognition at the same time. But after the show, I went back to my hometown to pursue my education. It was in 2015 after I finished my schooling that I came back to Mumbai to pursue music full time.”

Talking about his grooming under the mentorship of Ashish Manchanda, Abhijeet says, “After finishing my schooling I wanted to study music production and was searching for courses in sound engineering and music production. I came to know about Ashish Manchanda, a renowned and established sound engineer in Bollywood, he being the founder of Media Tribe who had worked with the best in the industry like A.R Rahman, Amit Trivedi and Vishal Shekhar and even international stars. So I became eager to join the institute after going through his portfolio and my training started under him in sound engineering and music production in Media Tribe along  with the whole team of Flying Carpet Production, which is his production house.”

Throwing light on his training in the sound engineering course at The Media Tribe Abhijeet Says, “Sound engineering course at media tribe is a one-year diploma which teaches you the science of sound and is as good as studying physics. The course includes music production, live recordings, studio recordings and gives a great opportunity to the students to meet a lot of industry professionals and musicians. In fact, each one of my batch mates were groomed very well, to do good in what they were doing today. We were given the freedom to take up any genre and so I chose to do Bollywood music as that’s what I have been doing since my childhood.”

So when did he start songwriting, tells Abhijeet, “ When I came to Mumbai and after joining The Media Tribe, I realized that I can also write songs, since before that I did not even know that there was something like songwriting. I had a perception that there were only music directors, lyricists, and producers in Bollywood. Eventually, I started writing songs. During my training, I played some of my original songs to Mr. Manchanda which he liked and also showed interest in taking me on-board to sign up with SpringBoard Records,  which his very own record label.”

How was the transition from studying sound engineering to writing music, says Abhijeet “The sound engineering part is pretty much different from writing music, which I was not into from the initial stage although I wanted to learn how to make music, program and arrange it. Today, everything happens with the music soft wares, so the need is to know the sound and the entire process basically. In a setup where you have a studio facility and also people who know how to make music, it’s a great opportunity to learn as they guide you on how to do it throughout. In the present scenario even if you want to be a singer, knowing about sound production helps you a lot in your singing to develop techniques be it for doing a recording in a studio or singing Bollywood songs or create independent music.”

Abhijeet talks about his association with Ashish Manchanda he being his mentor and a guide, saying, “It’s been an association of 4 years now as it started in 2015 when I first met him. It was within 5 months of my course that I got on-board with Springboard Records. In fact, while I was studying I also started working with the company as a singer and a composer. He has been really kind to get me on board and has immense experience to share but is he so humble. I feel he is indeed a ‘Star Maker’ which is evident from the amount of confidence he shows in us, and that’s what any artist needs in the times of struggle or going through a tough patches in life when someone really believes in you and your talent and he’s really good at it!”

Abhijeet remembers how he got his first singing break in the film ‘Andhadhun’ says, ” Mr. Manchanda not even liked my music but also presented my music to some of the musicians that he knew, so as to get feedback on my work. So eventually he played it to Amit Trivedi and Vishal Shekhar and after a point of time, they heard my music. One day I received a call from Amit Trivedi saying that he has got a project where I can be a part of and that was the song ‘Aap Se Milkar Achha Laga’ for the film ‘Andhadhun.

Abhijeet adds how Bharat happened to him, “The interesting thing is that although this song was my debut song, even before that I had already met Vishal Shekhar who were the first music directors I had met after coming to Mumbai. It was like I went with Mr.Ashish Manchanda to them where we played my music to them to get there feedback. By the grace of God when they heard my voice they were really impressed. Fortunately, it was the time when they were working on Bharat’s music so they just asked me to sing a demo for the song ‘Chashni’ which they had just composed a ‘Mukhra’. It took almost a year from that point when we recorded it and then the song finally came into the film, which was produced by Flying Carpet Productions.”

It was no looking back for him as the lady luck began to shine upon him as Abhijeet tells about the series of projects he received then, “ Eventually I got a song ‘Shaabaashiyaan’ from ‘Mission Mangal’ and then Arun Kapoor starer ‘India’s most wanted’ song ‘Akela’ both with Amit Trivedi. It’s an amazing experience working with him as he’s a genius and is super good at what he does. The best thing about him is that while he records, he stays there from the beginning to the end whether it’s a demo or the final cut. Initially, when I was working in Andhadhun I was a little skeptical about working in a song that too for a Bollywood film, but he made me feel very comfortable.”

The versatile singer talks about breaking free of the mundane nine to five office job which inspired him to do his latest song ‘Musafir’, It’s important to be yourself and understand what you desire, which Musafir showcases as Abhijeet says, “ It was Illusion Point i.e IP who started out with the song idea and production and soon I joined in to compose the melody. It features both of us as artists and eventually  Ashish Manchanda and Aman Moroney also joined hands with IP to co-produce the track.  the song was shot in 3 locations Mumbai, a place called ‘katara’ near Nasik and Himachal. The video of the song features three guys Me, IP and Roger Loren, all three are batchmates from ‘The Media Tribe’ who got together to make this kick-ass song directed by Ashish Manchanda.”

Abhijeet recently performed at the Bollywood Music Projects tells about his collaborative set, “This was my first BMP since I attended it last the year as an audience, and this year I performed with my band and later all 6 of us Abhay Jodhpurkar, Kshitij Tarey, Jazim Sharma, Abhijeet Sawant, and Jigrra, collaborated together on the stage which was indeed a great fun. We did our solo sets first in which I did my songs ‘Chashni’ and ‘Aapse Milke Acha Laga’ from the film ‘Andhadhun’ and then we all did a combined medley which was a tribute to Akshay Kumar ranging from the songs ‘Tashan Main’, ‘Dilhara’ and a few more.”

Concluding with his new projects coming up in 2020, Abhijeet signs off, saying “I’m continuously writing songs and that process doesn’t stop. Musafir was the first song and a couple of songs are soon to be released in this year on Jio Saavan soon, along with a couple of Bollywood releases that are lined up.  I had done a song for the Punjabi singer Parish Verma for the film ‘Dil Di Yaan Gallan’  and am also doing one for his next film ‘Jinde Meriye’. “


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