There is a market for non-filmy music
Singer Abhijeet Sawant on his latest single Fakira, why he is not doing playback singing and how reality shows are providing a platform to budding singers
Indian Idol fame Abhijeet Sawant is launching his latest single Fakira. The singer says that the song is part of his album Farida and is one of the best works till date. “Usually, fakir is one who is poor, sits outside the masjid or mosque. But what is special about them is that they look at the world very differently. They don’t think ‘the world is becoming rich but I am still poor’. They think, ‘this is my world’. Keeping this thought in mind, they have worked on the song.”
He says that his album has different songs but Fakira is more on the lines of a Sufi track. “We have tried to mix Sufi with different genres. It’s a fusion of Sufism, blues and jazz. There is another single which is heavy metal. The idea behind the album is to present old music styles in a new light,” says Abhijeet who made his debut in the music industry with Mohabbatein Lutaaunga.
He further says that Fakira, composed by Rajiv Bhalla, is the third song in the album but just because it’s a special number, he decided to present it in a grand way.
Citing the challenges that one faces while producing and selling an album, he says, “Till a few years ago, when I worked on albums there were no proper platforms to promote or sell them. YouTube and other digital platforms were not that big like they are today. Our music, especially non-filmy music, couldn’t reach the people.”
But since the past year, non-Bollywood music has been gaining its market share again. “People want to listen to good music even though the audience for it is niche. But they are devoted listeners. Those who do not want to work in Bollywood music still have a chance to do good work,” says the singer who released his solo album Aapka... Abhijeet Sawant followed by Junoon.
Even though Abhijeet has also done playback singing in Bollywood films like Mar Jaawan Mit Jaawan, Pungi (Tees Maar Khan), Bechain Hai Sapne (Chittagong), and Sau Tarah Ke and Ishqa (Dishoom), he hasn’t been too active in films. “That’s because I was busy with stage shows and I am always busy with work. I was touring and travelling the world. There is no denying that Bollywood is the biggest market but the funda that we follow in the music industry is that you need to sing well, learn properly and if you have the support of big musicians you will get to sing more. But it also matters how much time you spend with music directors. Honestly, I didn’t get time to follow any music director. More than talent, it’s about wooing music directors, and your PR skills also matter. I always lacked that and it worked against me. Having said that, playback singing is not completely closed for me,” he says.
The singer says that live shows are always a big option for singers. “In playback singing, you are not even sure if you will get the money because it depends on the song’s popularity. If you do playback singing, your profile will become bigger but if you want to make money, you need to do stage shows.”
Coming to reality shows, Abhijeet says that winning the Indian Idol title worked in his favour. “I have been more popular than some of the playback singers, thanks to my title. People know me and that helped me a lot,” he says.
Several talented singers emerge out of the innumerable reality shows and there’s a huge competition too. But are there enough opportunities? “For any musician what matters most is to get a platform. When children learn to sing, they feel encouraged if people motivate them to sing. How they shape up their career, depends on them. At least these reality shows are providing a platform to singers like me and many others,” he says.