Music

The songster on song

TUNED TO TRADITION: Sukhwinder Singh. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar   | Photo Credit: Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Synonymous with high-pitched energy, singer Sukhwinder Singh, who has rendered hits such as ‘Chhaiyya Chhaiyya’ and the Oscar-winning ‘Jai Ho’,is not in a hurry to reach somewhere, and is content with what he has achieved. He has songs in upcoming films such as Rangoon and Raees.

Describing life as a big park where, instead of sprinting, one should walk slowly to enjoy its different offerings, Sukhwinder opens up on working with A.R. Rahman, his exposure to world music, and being an energetic performer.

Excerpts:

Unique style of singing

I see music as an organic thing, which grows with time inside a singer. I still consider myself a learner. I take inspiration from the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahab. His unique way of rendition was known and appreciated, because he never compromised on it. If someone thinks of me, he will be reminded of ‘Chhaiyya Chhaiyya’, which made me popular. I continued in the same line and did not dilute it.

Association with A.R. Rahman

I first associated with him as a song writer, and I consider him the person who introduced me to myself, and to the world. Later, when we got more friendly, I introduced him to the Sufi qaul ‘Tere Ishq Nachaya’, which later shaped as the phenomenal song, ‘Chhaiya Chhaiya’. As for working with him, he regularly calls for late-night recordings, which, sometimes, becomes hard for an early riser like me. There is a spiritual element present in his studio, which makes the recording process divine. He does not pressurise, and gives the artiste creative freedom, and working with him is a learning experience.

Realising one’s talent

I have understood in my journey so far that those who are blessed have a passion that makes them glow in a crowd. And so, I always strive to be a better performer. If my work entertains someone, that is my success.

Exploring various musical traditions

As an artiste, I wanted to expose myself to different types of people, different traditions of music and exchange of thoughts. I witnessed the opera in Russia ,and in Norway I listened to their classical music. Wherever I went, I got a chance to immerse myself in the local musical tradition.

In this process, I realised that music, like emotions, is the same in every nook and corner of the world, and language does not stop one from enjoying other styles of music.

The shelf life of singers

If someone is talented, he/she will make his place, no matter what the circumstances are, and will be remembered as a good musician.

If there were 10 good musicians in the 1950s in a population of 30 crore, the number should have been 50 in today’s case, but it is not. I am content that I’m working at a time when people such as Gulzar, A.R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj are producing music that will live on.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 3:50:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/The-songster-on-song/article16754618.ece

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