Everything about Raghu Dixit is quirky, his clothes, his jokes and his music. When you ask him what he believes is the USP of his music, he shies away and says that the audience would be better at answering that. Nudge him a little and he'll tell you that it's this country that has inspired the music he makes. “Every 200 kilometres in this country, languages change, the dialects change and the food changes, lives and lifestyles change and my music is unique and probably the USP is that it's sung in a vernacular tongue… its adds mystery.”
It isn't a surprise that his group's costumes are traditionally unorthodox. They come to the stage dressed in bright dhotis and shirts. “Our costumes represent who we are. Lots of trials and errors and lots of thought went into it. It represents the folk side of our music with bells. I am very comfortable with wearing bells because of my background in dance.” Raghu is a vidwat in Bharatanatyam. Music came much later in his life when he took it up as a challenge against a guy in his college who impressed girls by singing English songs and strumming the guitar.
Raghu and co. put life and new meaning into age-old songs. He pauses and bursts into resounding laughter. “It really is like answering nature's call, you can't force the thought or the tune. It takes its own course and way.” To top that, Raghu says that all you need is zeal and conviction to be able to perform, the true star is honesty. These wise words have come to Raghu after many years of ‘faking' songs. “I had always written in English and I would strum the guitar, putting up an accent. I carried that charade till I was 27 and then thankfully I went into an introspective phase — who am I, what am I — and then I realised that writing in Hindi and Kannada made me feel real,” says Raghu. Before every song, Raghu explains the song to his audience, believing that to be an essential part of communicating his music. “I find it important and necessary to make the audience get what I am singing, otherwise it will become background music for them to set their talking to,” he laughs.
Raghu, who has sung and composed a song in Quick Gun Murugan and composed music for Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge , says that choosing between concert music and film music is like choosing between two wives. “Film music is a product of many people but when it comes to concerts, the onus is on me to make my kind of music. Contemporary music today has grown by leaps and bounds. Finally, independent music is getting much-needed attention,” he says. Raghu's travels lead him to new sounds and musical pastures. He tells us that his new album will incorporate music from all the places he has travelled to. The details about this album are super secret, he says, but he promises that it will be well worth the wait.
Catch Raghu Dixit on Thursday at Hard Rock Café at 9 p.m.