He traverses genres, musical notes and continents with ease. Kailash Kher talks to Priyadarshini Paitandy about drawing inspiration from people, his love for live shows and the problem of piracy

His is an unusual earthy voice. One that can beautifully render any song, number, be it folk, Sufi or romantic. He sounds just as soothing even when while singing an acoustic version and can effortlessly oscillate between high pitches and low notes. From the lanes of Meerut to the city of opportunities — Mumbai, Kailash Kher has come a long way. And, his popularity isn't just limited to the big and small cities in India. The singer lives out of a suitcase and performs across continents. He is busy doing concerts with his band Kailasa till April 27 and has just finished performing in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Singapore. His next stop is Chennai, followed by Kathmandu, London, Delhi, Dehradun and Arunachal Pradesh. With an aim to popularise live music and spread the message of love, peace and harmony, Kailash has sung in 16 languages, penned songs, sung jingles, released music albums with his band and also judged reality shows. Not bad for somebody who inadvertently made a transition from the export business to music. "My family members said I could sing so I came to Mumbai in 2001 and the rest it just happened," he says. Here are some excerpts from an interview:

What genre of music appeals to you?

I don't believe in genres. Music is an expression of your feelings. Genre is a term of the intelligentsia. I am an untrained musician and a common man's singer. My band has its own genre — Kailasa, which means heavenly.

Why do you think Sufi music is popular in movies?

A lot of people don't know what Sufi music is. It's a style of music that encompasses the thoughts of the saints. Everything goes through a phase. Now, this is the trend.

Your views on fusion music?

Yes, so many elements are combined in one song. Fusion is good as long as there is no confusion (laughs).

Do you feel Bollywood music is overshadowing music albums?

Bollywood is huge. Anything that's made in large quantity will evidently overshadow others. But that won't stop artistes from making albums. A person who has faith in his music will go ahead.

What inspires you when you're composing?

If it's for a movie, the situation. For non-film tracks? it is from a thought process. My inspiration comes from the common man and Nature.

Having judged a couple of music reality programmes, what do you think about these shows?

Music reality shows are a good thing, especially for those seeking a career in music. Earlier, people weren't sure whether they should take up music because they didn't get such opportunities but now there is so much more exposure. I am currently not judging any because such shows require a lot of commitment and for now I am focussing on live performances.

What do you think is the biggest threat to the music industry?

Piracy and downloads. I'd like to tell those who indulge in such activities, that if they respect artistes and understand the hard work that goes into making music, they wouldn't do it.