Lesle Lewis, who has recently released a five-track EP titled Paise Ki Maa Ki Aankh, talks about reinventing himself as an artist and performer
I pretty much started the trend of indie pop with Pari Hoon Main and Janam Samjha Karo. After sometime, I get bored and wanted to move to the next thing. So I started doing Bollywood remixes with Piya Ab Toh Aaja, O Mere Shona, and so on. Then I got fed up of that and started my own band, Colonial Cousins and people started asking whether it’s ghazal pop, but when Krishna came out, they were asking if I’m introducing bhajan pop. Then I started Coke Studio and when I had enough of that, I was thinking what I can do now?” says Lesle Lewis, who announced that he will be doing free shows for a year in April.
He feels that he hasn’t done justice to the artist in him, as his time and focus has always been dedicated to making albums for other artists throughout his career. “I sang Haseena, and did some random stuff here and there, just because I wanted to do something for myself and I did not have enough time and could not focus on it. Now I feel that I am at that point in my life where I want to make my songs, write them and sing them,” he says.
Voicing his concerns, he says that he doesn’t think that the masses would connect to his songs if he made them in English. “If I sing in Hindi, I can find an audience in small towns like Kolhapur also. But the moment I start singing in English, 20 people will get up and walk out. So I took it on myself to make songs with a global vibe with Hindi lyrics to introduce the masses to the kind of music I love, but in a familiar language,” he says.
The EP Paise Ki Maa Ki Aankh has five tracks, all written, composed and sung by Lesle. ‘There’s so much exciting music coming out. The album has something for everyone, it’s a nice blend of different genres and moods. My plan is that every three months I will be churning out new music, and will be introducing my listeners to various genres that have not yet been explored in Bollywood, and you don’t get to hear on the radio, through my songs,” says he.
Though making music is something that comes quite naturally to the artist, writing the lyrics, that too in Hindi, was a challenge. “After hearing my songs, my mother and sister gave me a standing ovation. They were pleasantly impressed that I wrote the songs, because I had failed in Hindi,” he chuckles, adding, “This reinvention of myself has brought out my fifth avatar. I’ve reinvented myself five times, as a guitar player, as a jingle composer, as a pop music producer and as a band, before becoming a full-fledged singer-performer.”
The artist claims that he’s gone back to being 17 and is getting inspired by all the music he grew up with like rock, jazz and other genres that originated in the West. “I’m so excited about this phase in my life, creating my music, that it’s not even funny. My band, who are a young lot, can’t seem to handle me. I feel like a teenager, and I’ve gone back to the era of the 70s. We recorded every song in one take, just like it was done back then,” says he.
Narrating how he considered releasing his EP, he says, “I was invited to a film festival to give away an award. When I arrived there, they asked me to perform a song or two, you know how it is,” he shrugs, adding, “I couldn’t sing any of the songs I usually do at shows, because the organisers didn’t want any copyright issues, so I asked them if I could sing some of my unreleased songs and they jumped at the idea. There was Tanuja and some other elderly people from the industry as well as young students who were ushering the guests, both the older and younger groups in the audience thoroughly enjoyed my songs. Tanuja was whistling and all that, kids jumped onto the stage and started dancing. It was a blast. Then someone from OK Listen came up and asked me if I wanted to release these songs. And here we are now.”
The EP is available on OK Listen and portals such as iTunes, Saavn and so on.