‘Everyone wants to make Indian songs sound more international’

Anjali Jhangiani
Friday, 5 April 2019

Shouldering the success of Tareefan, music composer Qaran Mehta plans to releases a couple of non-film tracks with an international appeal for his audiences

Just last week, Priyanka Chopra had her husband Nick Jonas and the rest of her gang (including the DNCE frontman couple Joe Jonas and his lady love Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner), grooving to the beats of Tareefan on a yacht party. We can now have proof of this song officially achieving international success. While Badshah got most of the credit for the track due to his decently flirtatious rap, composer Qaran Mehta has been on a mission to bring a global appeal to his tracks. 

Bearing the weight of Tareefan’s success on his shoulders has been quite a responsibility for the drop-dead gorgeous music man. “I honestly think that Tareefan set some sort of reputation for me in stone. Apart from the song being a hit and climbing up the charts, I think there was a sense of innovation in the sound of Tareefan. People are expecting more of this innovation from me,” says he. 

After Tareefan, the artist collaborated with Ash King and Momina Mustehsan for the romantic track Kishmish, which had similar international vibes. And his most recent release, Haye Oye, which is also in collaboration with Ash King, is about falling in love for the first time, the stolen looks, butterflies in the stomach, the coy smiles and all of that. 

“I think pushing the boundaries a little more and not keeping the sound the same is what’s working for me. I kept this in mind while working on Haye Oye. The response has been quite overwhelmingly positive. If there was a checklist to making a hit song, I think all the boxes have been ticked for this track,” says Qaran.

“Audiences have emotionally connected to Haye Oye, and they have really liked the video too,” says he. The video features Swedish-Greek actress Elli AvrRam and actor-dancer-choreographer Shantanu Maheshwari. While this track gives you some fun feels and takes you back to your first love, the composer says that he has three more non-film tracks up his sleeve. 

“The next three songs will be coming out over the next few months. They’re all going to be from a different space. All of them will have my sound, but I don’t want to play the same card twice. My tracks will always have a sense of narration with the sound. All the tracks will have a fresh new sound, but with different vibes, that’s what I’m going for,” says he. 

“I come from a very RnB, dancehall, hip-hop kind of zone, so my music has always been inclined towards these genres. I think that’s something that has stayed consistent throughout my work. But more than that, I think the songwriting is very unique to me. Every songwriter has a music vocabulary from which they derive their melodies, and I think that’s what really defines the vibe of an artist or a song. Audiences can find this common thread in the songs I will release,” he says. 

The artist shares that the Indian music industry has been quite supportive of his work. “My colleagues in the industry are anticipating the release of the songs as much as I am. Everyone wants to make Indian songs sound more international. Audiences are listening to more regional content, they want the music to be at par with the international stages and have a regular place on Billboard charts,” says he. 

Simply inserting a rap verse in a track doesn’t give it an international vibe. With Bollywood evolving in its ways, Qaran says, “I am a rapper myself. I rapped in Kishmish as well. Since I come from a hip-hop background, I kind of inherently understand and appreciate it. Whenever I try to include rap in my songs, I do it in a very seamless and authentic way. Earlier in Indian film music, rap was treated only as a novelty. Just recently with the help of movies like Gully Boy, people are starting to see rap and hip-hop for its authentic real art form. Now that there is such a paradigm shift in the way audiences are perceiving hip-hop, it’s become easier to incorporate it in a record in a way that it seems authentic,” he concludes.

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