As a singer, you’ve been
around for a quite a while now. Too long. Almost ten years. Is that right? I’m getting too old for this. Okay. How old are you by the way? I’m not saying. – Alright.
– I’m as old as I need to be. Hello, Nikhil! How are you? – Hi. I’m great. Thanks.
– Welcome to ‘The Music Room’. First of all, I saw the video of it and
that was a beautiful song ‘Sitaare’. Thank you so much. So in the video features
Kalki and I’m going to let… …you say her last name because
I don’t want to get it wrong. So I think everybody…everyone
when they say Kalki, they say… Hey, have you seen Kalki? They just avoid the name. – They avoid saying the surname.
– Yeah. – Okay, guys! Kalki…
– …Kalki It’s like Kekla.
You’ve cake in front of you.‘Cake La’– ‘Kekla’.
– It’s not ‘Koechlin’. – ‘Koechlin’. But its ‘Kekla’.
– Alright. How did that happen?
How did you get her into the music video? Is she your friend? Yeah. So on the sets of
‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, Ayan Mukerji had called
me to be in the movie. Okay. He was just taking a random
shots of people playing. So he said sit there and play a song. So I started playing ‘hallelujah’. – By Jeff Buckley.
– Jeff Buckley. So I was playing ‘hallelujah’
and Kalki was there. And she heard it. And she became the fan. So I’m known her since
than and she is someone who… …absolutely the
most genuine person. And among actors also…
I don’t know too many actors. But the most down-to-earth
and grounded person I’ve met. So you started writing
songs and composing songs. During your 1st or 2nd
year of college. Is it? Yeah. And before that what were your
influences and what would you… …normally listen to growing up what
kind of music were you exposed to? When I was growing up… I’ll tell you the very first thing that
influenced me was watching ‘Tom and Jerry’. – Alright.
– Yeah. If you think about it, Tom and Jerry is
about a cartoon with a cat chasing a mouse. But in the background music is really
well played classical music. – Blues with swing jazz.
– Yes. – A great music.
– Yeah. And it is synced to the
movement of these characters. So as a child for me, watching all
this and I was taking in the songs. I was taking in the music and
I could remember the music. Yeah. So I could sing the music back in my head. So it was reverse learning.
I learnt from memorising these things. And… Before long I realised
that I could sing also. Well I never took it that seriously.
I started listening to ‘Eric Clapton’. ‘Extreme’ and trying
to play all those things. And then I think my main,
my big influence hit me when I was 14. When I got a tape of ‘Sting & The Police’. So time went on and other
influencers came in. – ‘Radiohead’.
– Of course. ‘Damien Rice’ was one influence. So ‘Damien Rice’ someone you opened
for in their latest sofar. Yes. So this was I think
in February or March. I’m not sure.
It was around then. In Bombay. In a little venue in Dadar Parsi colony. So ‘Damien Rice’ comes in. And I’m trying to just act all cool
like I don’t know who this guy is. I said ‘hi’. It was that kind of thing. But little he’s influenced
a part of my music. And then before this show, we spent atleast
about an hour sitting on the bed inside… …two of us. He was checking out my
guitar. I was checking out guitar. Just talking about life. And extremely down to earth person
and a very humble and also… …very thoughtful. So Nikhil, I believe you took a little
break after a first few Bolly projects. You went outside India and you
really sang some english songs. – Yeah.
– Before coming back. It was interesting because I’ve been writing
with my friend in the U.S. since 2013-14. So then we started putting
the songs up in the U.S. And then I came back to India in
late 2018 which was a December or so. And realised that… …this streaming scene that’s picking up
here is getting really strong right now. ‘Spotify’ just came in. ‘Gaana’ is doing the whole bunch of thing. ‘Apple’ music is
encouraging in the artists. And ‘Jio Saavn’ of course has been
involved with independent artists. So I feel that it’s creating an alternative
industry to just bollywood and film music. And I felt that the first
thing to do of course was… …to create a bridge between
the bollywood stuff, and my independent english stuff. And ‘Sitaare’ was the perfect thing to do. Because it’s completely
who I am and what I do. Bollywood and there this
is the ‘Indie’ music scene, Yeah. So you’ve seen both of
them from the in sight, right? Okay. So let me talk from the
point of view of a singer. When you sing for a bollywood film, usually the song is written, the
lyrics are written, everything is done. You come in as a pure singer. So you’re a pure performer. In independent music, you write the songs, you perform
them, you’re an artist. That I find as a main difference. Do you want to be a performer or an artist? Can you be both? – Yeah.
– Yeah. You can. But what do you want to be more? So speaking about the
whole OTT scenen in India, what have you been watching lately? ‘Sacred Games’, ‘Mirzapur’.
I really like those series. You guys have an amazing channel. I’m not saying this for like you
guys have not told me to say this. But I really like it. I really like this channel. I remember a friend of mine had
come once about like a year ago, and we were sitting and
they were asking me… …that have I watched any TVF stuff?
I said no. And then they put on
this show ‘TVF Fathers’. And that was hilarious. These three
fathers are watching ‘Game Of Thrones’. And it is exactly like if my father
was watching, what he would say. And I’m glad that you guys are
also using independent music. – Yup.
– In some of your shows. So what are you listening to these days? International artists? Local artists? ‘Sam Fender – Dead Boys’. Specially considering
he’s only 21 years old. He’s album right now
is number 1 in the U.K. And another artist called
‘Celeste’ very recently. Few artists of course some
old favourites of mine… …who keep coming up with
great music like ‘Thom Yorke’. Of course. He’s a true artist I feel. He’s one. And locally I feel…
I really like Vishal Mishra’s music. He’s just come in this year. But he’s taking the
industry by storm I feel. He’s a good composer. He’s a great singer. And I think he’s sum up for the future. And there’s a friend of mine
called ‘Slight Diversion’, who writes some of the best
English lyrics you’ll find. In fact, I think they
compete with some of the… …best songwriters globally
also if it’s discovered. So ‘Slight Diversion’ is a band.
Was it a single artist? He doesn’t want to be known as a solo artist
because he’s quite intrusive that way. He makes people to think its
like a set up, like a band. So I like how these things
all connect together. Yeah. Thank you for coming
on ‘The Music Room’. Thank you. – Cheers!