‘Focus more on promoting independent artists’

Debarati Palit Singh
Friday, 27 April 2018

Farhan Akhtar, who is performing at Sakal Times Summersault Music Festival, gets candid about why he enjoys performing in Pune, the fun in doing stage shows and the challenges indie musicians face.

Farhan Akhtar likes to dabble in different mediums and has successfully created a niche for himself in every field be it writing, directing, producing, acting, singing. But music holds a special place in his heart. From performing live with his band, to working on independent music, playback singing, Farhan keeps experimenting with music. “Music is the most important thing in life. It’s unimaginable to think of a world without music as it will be a very sad place,” says he. 

This evening, the actor-musician, along with his band Farhan Live, will be performing at Sakal Times Summersault music festival, which is being presented by Linen King and powered by Suzuki Intruder. Prior to the show, we chat him up:

Performing in Pune
Farhan says that it’s always exciting to perform in Pune. “This is the fourth concert we are doing in the city and there’s always a rocking audience. I am looking forward to my performance,” he says. 

Farhan, who has toured more than 100 cities along with his band since its launch five years ago, says that every city has its own energy and charm. “As long as the audience is having fun, everything is fine. That’s all matters,” he shares. 
Stage show vs studio 
He has sung several playback tracks in films like Rock On!!, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Dil Dhadakne Do, Wazir, Rock On 2 and, very recently, Bharat Ane Nenu and has performed live on stage. So which experience does he enjoy more? “I enjoy performing live on stage but for that you have to perform well in studios so that people like your music,” he says. The reason he enjoys performing live on stage is because “You are sharing the joy of music with others and connecting with the crowd as well. Also the fact that you are entertaining them,” he says.    

Ask him if he still feels nervous before going on stage and he says, “There is a certain level of nervousness, or anxiety if you can call it that, before the show starts. That’s because you want it to go well for everyone. However, the moment just before the concert starts, you are most focussed. To me, that’s a very important time and I need my head to be clear,” Farhan says adding that once on stage, the music and energy from the crowd takes over. “And you end up having fun,” he quips. 

Musical inspirations 
Every artist is either inspired by a particular person or style. Farhan says his biggest inspiration is the Beatles, the iconic band that made him pay close attention to music including singing and playing the guitar. “They are my first and most influential band in my life,” he says.    

Going independent 
Along with Bollywood music, he has also released independent tracks like We All Are on the Goodside with his band. He has also worked on indie music with composers like Ram Sampath, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Salim-Sulaiman. How important is it for him to work in the independent genre? “In all honesty, we have all grown up listening to film music in India and all the English music that we have heard are independent. So for me, expression is important whether it’s in the form of film songs or independent music,” he shares adding, “India needs to focus more on promoting independent artists and creating viable platforms for musicians, who do different types of music and may not have the interest or want to do film music but are still good at what they do. So that they have a channel and opportunity to make a career out of music. I hope that happens soon.”  

Even though newer online platforms are opening up for independent musicians giving them a scope to showcase their talent, there are still several challenges ahead. Farhan says that the greatest challenge for all musicians is how do they make a career out of it. “It’s one thing having love for music and another if that’s what you want to do for the rest of your life and support yourself and not just take it up as a hobby. You must know how to sustain yourself and pursue it as a career. You must think whether you can survive and not worry about how to make ends meet. You must focus a lot more on how to improve your skills, talent and art form.”

India is seeing a host of musicians using YouTube to put up their content but Farhan maintains that being a YouTube star and a career musician are two different things. “I feel that especially in our country, a lot of importance is given to film music and it dominates our mental space. So it would be nice if we have some kind of a space that can create stars, musicians, and encourage more talent to help this art form grow and not just keep it restricted to films.”       

ST Reader Service
Sakal Times Summersault Music Festival will be held at Shiv Chhatrapati Krida Sankul, Mahalunge, Balewadi, on April 28 and 29, 6.30 pm onwards. Tickets will be available at the venue from 11 am onwards, and on bookmyshow.com till 5 pm.

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