‘Music is my happy place’

Alisha Shinde
Monday, 14 January 2019

Pune-based guitarist/ singer-songwriter Amit Khadikar bagged a nomination for his single, Home in the Best Pop Song category at Global VIMA Music Awards. He tells us about his journey so far and the road ahead

Making music is more than just a job, even though it is a legit career now. But most successful music makers don’t really go to a school to pursue a degree or a certificate. This career path runs on passion, motivation and talent.
 
Recently, Pune-based guitarist/ singer-songwriter Amit Khadikar, aka AKoustic Souk, bagged a nomination for his single Home in the Best Pop Song category at the prestigious Global VIMA Music Awards. Talking to Khadikar, we find out more about the song, career and his upcoming projects.
 
Inspired by eclectic influences ranging from alt-rock to hard rock, and Sufi to ambient sounds and more, this talented artist is also a part of several well-known acts in Pune, including Desi Quarter, Hourglass Inversion and a Western musical choir called The Chamber Singers. Khadikar is currently working on new singles for AKoustic Soul and Hourglass Inversion, and is extensively performing with Desi Quarter, which has steadily continued to gain momentum in the local circuit and beyond.

Khadikar, who always wanted to become a musician right from his childhood says, “I have always loved rock music and in my growing-up years I would end up watching all the videos on the limited channels that we had back then. I knew right then I would love to follow this path which I eventually did.”
 
Looking at his passion, his mother started sending him for harmonium classes and after a point of time he started showing a lot of interest in guitar which he says he learnt on his own.
 
 “I have always wanted to create something of my own, so I started writing songs when I was still learning how to play the guitar, and, for a fact, Home was one of the first songs that I composed but the arrangement only took shape recently and found its expression as AKoustic Soul,” says Khadikar.
 
Home is an ambient acoustic number with a simple message: ‘Home is where your heart is’. Recorded at Pune’s Reverb Studio, it is a warm track that brought together Khadikar, Kshitij Saxena (flute), Amit Godse (percussions), Rajtarangini Kumar (backing vocals), along with sound engineer Joy Chanda (recording and mixing) and supported by Johnston D’Souza (mixing and mastering). The music video took its form with the help of Siddharth Kulkarni. 

Khadikar mentions that the song has been selected out of 1500+ entries submitted from across 40 countries. “VIMA gave artists the flexibility to simply submit tracks and let their team decide the category if it was deemed worthy of a nomination. For Home to get selected and nominated in a mainstream category like Best Pop Song is a huge honour,” says Khadikar. 

Before becoming a full-time musician, Khadikar had worked at an MNC. About his music journey, he says, “When it comes to being an artist, initially, there is not much of a turnover, but you start feeling happy when people are there just to hear you play and eventually the money does come in, but you just have to be persistent and keep pushing forward.” 

While he was working he knew music was a part of his life that easily balanced out everything. “I came to realise music releases stress and makes me happy. Music is my identity and my happy place, which I won’t give up,” shares Khadikar. 

That said, independent artists in India do have a tough time because Bollywood music is what sells most nowadays. “When people go to clubs or gigs they want to listen to Bollywood, either the original songs or covers. But when it comes to performances by independent artists, we literally have to make the audience hear us,” which he says could be the reason we don’t have as many bands that we initially had back in the late ’90s and early 2000s. However, what he has learnt through the years is that if you bring a different flavour to the plate, people are willing to give you a chance.
 
Talking about his plans, Khadikar explains that they are working on releasing more original numbers and recording new songs for their upcoming album. “I’ll definitely give more live performances so that I can work creatively in the music industry,” he concludes.

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