Ankur Tewari Curated

Indian Musician

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Ankur Tewari have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Ankur Tewari's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming singers. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Jeene Mein Aaye Mazaa is a sweet reminder of life in Bombay (Mumbai) one has lived and misses. What was your inspiration behind the number?

    Jeene Mein Aaye Mazaa is for me a story about friends, a story about people who stands by you even when the times are tough. When the tough times are over you look back and you realize how important they are because you know tough times don’t last but friends do. They make this world worthwhile and if we can ever look beyond the balance sheets of life then you will realize friends are what makes your world.

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  • Your favorite from the Gully Boy album and why?

    My favorite work from Gully Boy is definitely Apna Time Aayega for the way the song happened, the way poetry happened and the collaboration happened with Divine who is such an amazing artist. I’ve never imagined that I would be collaborating with a hip-hop artist. It was a dream collaboration to work with Dub Sharma, Divine with Javed Akhtar Sahab giving his suggestions and inputs.

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  • You’ve worked with Prateek Kuhad on several songs too - tell us about this collab.

    I’ve worked with Prateek on the collaboration called Dil Beparvah, for a show called The Dewarists and it happened organically. It was amazing that we both are diverse personalities and the song became the meeting point for both of us and started an interesting friendship where I get to learn a lot from this young artist.

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  • Name three poets you’ve seen Live in performance and find great promise in their voice?

    Some of the poets I admire are Kausar Munir, Swanand Kirkire and Varun Grover. They’ve also had an amazing impact on me.

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  • For upcoming poets, what is the one-word advice you would want to share?

    My only advice to upcoming poets is that you should be honest and clear with what you want to express and try not to push vocabulary outside what you use. If you are not satisfied with your vocabulary, read more books and increase your vocabulary, once you start using those words in your life you should include mini pauses as well.

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  • What can you tell us about the upcoming seasons of The Spoken Fest? After the Delhi debut late last year, will Spoken be going to other cities too?

    We are constantly in touch with the spoken word artists and poets around the world and we are trying to make it interesting with each coming year. The Delhi edition was encouraging and on the response of the Delhi edition, we thought to take it to other cities as well. Many cities have written to us and we are strongly crunching the numbers to make sure that we can take it to other cities as well.

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  • How did you decide on collaborating on Kommune with Roshan Abbas?

    If I may be honest it was Roshan Abbas who decided to contact me and Gaurav Kapoor and take our discussions further. We were usually discussing how we don’t find going out exciting where the only place you go out is to tune out of the world. But sometimes you go out to tune in to something and feel enriched when you come out of it and we were missing those events. So, Roshan Abbas came up with an idea that we should gather those people who will be interested in storytelling, poetry or music of a softer sort. We pretty much started on instinct and before we knew it, it is known into a big thing.

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  • Tell us more about Woh Hum Nahin and the process of writing/composing it.

    Woh Hum Nahin came to me in about 5 minutes. I was backstage going to perform in 10 minutes and I was looking at my phone and I saw the images of violence in the hostel of JNU and it really hurt me that such kind of violence is happening in universities, in colleges in India and it had a deep impact on me. Thought about of nation that has Mahatma Gandhi as a father of the nation, a pioneer in the world of peace and agent of love in this country. Such an act happening, it broke me within. Even before I could hit the stage in 5 minutes these words came to me and I went and performed my set. I came back and found the chords to these words, and recorded it in an hour’s time.

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  • Your thoughts on the music festival scene in India and if there’s one thing you could change, what would it be?

    It is amazing that there are music festivals that showcase artistes from around the country and the globe. When I started making music, there was none, but it’s so amazing to see so many festivals cropping up, so many stages, and I am encouraged to see this kind of an atmosphere in the world with independent music. If there’s one thing I could change, I would try to include more new artistes in the line-up every time because, for me, music festivals are about the discovery of new music as well. Vedanta Udaipur World Music Festival is one such festival which brings new artistes from across the globe in its editions and I simply admire this concept.

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  • What can the audience expect at the Vedanta Udaipur World Music Festival 2020? Tell us something about the songs you have chosen in your set and what’s in it for everyone attending?

    Vedanta Udaipur World Music Festival is very special for me especially it is organised by SEHER. It is like a family for me and I have curated an interesting set of my popular songs including Mohabbat Zindabad, Sabse Peechhe Hum Khade, Dil Beparvah and some surprises.

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  • Favorite film song project you have been a part of?

    Favorite film song project that I have been a part of is my first song Sabse Peechhe Hum Khade for Let’s Enjoy (2004). That was the song I used to sing and then I used it in the movie and then I got Silk Route to sing a cover of it.

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  • What’s more fun: performing for a live audience or in a studio?

    I have always been a performing artiste. I love performing to a live audience. I have not been in the studio as much as I want to be in the studio. I find performing live is a better community experience but in recent times, I started enjoying recording in the studio as well. But definitely, when I perform I like to play more for an intermediate audience than big stages. Big stages make me feel very distant from the audience and with my band members at the same time.

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  • How far have famous authors from history impacted your songwriting? Tell us some of your favourite proverbs/lines written by Manto and Bukowski.

    An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way and an artist says a hard thing in a simple way this quote by Charles Bukowski has always struck a chord with me. There are so many interesting authors and poets whose words resonate with me, Manto’s Toba Tek Singh is a classic for me where people in an art house are asked to decide whether they want to go to Pakistan or stay in India during partition… can’t describe the partition in a better way.

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  • Your opened for singer Norah Jones back in 2013. What’s been your fondest memory of that day?

    It was quite a special opening for Norah Jones back in 2013. It was a summer-time festival where we were going to play and I have always been a fan of her music and I have never seen her live so just to share the backstage along with her is a big honor. Karsh who was also opening for alongside us is a friend of hers (Norah’s) and because of him we met her, chatted with her. It was quite a humbling experience to see somebody so famous and big, being so humble, and her band was also too nice and too sweet.

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  • Tell us about the inspiration behind called The Ghalat Family and why?

    The inspiration behind the band being called The Ghalat Family is actually nothing serious, we didn’t have a name for a band. We were shooting for a music video and a friend of ours saw us and he said that we are a bunch of misfits and somehow the word The Ghalat Family came out between fits of giggles and laughter and we just stuck by the name.

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  • Ankur, where do you like playing more? In concerts like the NH7 or in smaller gigs which are more personal and where you maybe know some of the people?

    They are all different. For instance, we used to play at Zenzi where it was very intimate. The distance between me the audience would be a few centimeters! I like that setting a lot and of course, NH7 was a whole different experience. With the sun setting behind you, it was beautiful. The sound was just perfect – it’s like I can’t compare the two! I like to play wherever the audience is having fun – whether they are 2 people or 5,000 people!

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  • A musician you wish who were alive today?

    George Harrison.

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  • If you had to collaborate with a musician, who would it be?

    Sting, of course!

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  • You do so many things – you write your own songs, you sing them, you write music for Bollywood and you also write screenplays. What do you enjoy doing the most out of all of these?

    I find everything to be the same! What I enjoy doing most is that when I am writing I want to get lost in the songs and time has different dimensions for me at that time! I don’t realize whether it has been 5 minutes or 5 hours. I like that feeling the most. So I enjoy doing everything – writing for myself or writing for others. There’s one term I like to associate myself with which is being called a ‘storyteller’ rather than a ‘song-writer’ or a ‘screenplay writer’. I tell stories in various forms and each time, the product is different.

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  • What do you think of the scene of independent music in India right now? Has it “arrived”? Are we there yet or is there a great scope for improvement?

    For me, I don’t try and classify musicians. A musician is a musician – whether it’s a Bollywood musician, a rock musician, or a mainstream musician. Like I came to know a few days back that Sonu Nigam is starting a rock band. For me, it was a really cool thing because he is a great singer and he’s exploring new genres and starting a whole new thing. There is no territory that is barred for anyone. Anybody can do anything that they want to. For me, the scene is what you make of it. Right now, the scene is pretty good because there are a lot of bands out there. Earlier, when Bollywood was the only identity of our nation on this front, the scene was bad. No one was attempting to write interesting songs and there were a couple of bands who were also finding it hard to survive. Now, if we sustain the work we’re doing, the scene will remain good! I have felt that there has been a lot of ground – it’s just that now people are exploiting it. I think it will remain the same – it depends on how many bands stick around.

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  • You play with the Ghalat Family – Sid, Gaurav, Johan and all. How’s your experience been onstage?

    Well, it’s awesome. They are brilliant musicians – they all are very different in their approach in their song-writing. In all our rehearsals – we end up laughing and joking most of the time instead of rehearsing. They are a great bunch of friends and well, we just end up having a great time on stage!

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  • Apart from screenplays, what do you do when you write a song? What inspires you in the songwriting process?

    Well, it can actually be anything! it can be the normal cup of hot tea in the morning which makes you feel good and inspires you to write a song. It could be anything that gives you an honest feeling in you – it could be love, hatred, anger, jealousy, hunger! I am a bit of a liar and an exaggerator so I just build up the feeling a bit more. There is no particular method – sometimes I get a feeling, a word, or a note and I just expand on that. I just know that I can’t write when I am not ‘feeling’. I try and create situations that are difficult to explain, complicated to process. It’s like having a champagne bottle – you shake the bottle but you don’t let the champagne escape from the bottleneck. You make another hole in the bottle and let it come out of there. That’s what I do. I shake my emotions up – when I am really hungry, I won’t eat but I’d write about that feeling!

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  • Well, independent Indian artists are paid much less than people in the West. How do you manage in this scene?

    I make money off my screenwriting too and I have just survived. (chuckles) I don’t know how. I have told myself that I have to do this. Just like a carpenter does carpentry and a tailor stitches for a living, then why should a musician or an artist be anything else to make a living? Why should you be a “part-time musician” and work in a call centre for the rest of your time? Well, if I am a writer, I’ll be only a writer and when I am musician, I’ll be only that. That’s what I do! I have never thought about it in much detail. If I am good enough, I know I’ll make money! I work really hard and I put in long hours into my work. I hardly get any vacations but then, that’s the nature of my job! In every person I meet, I find the possibility of a new character. In every incident that happens, I find the possibility of a new song! I am a writer in music and I work 24 hours. It is hard but then, so is being a labourer!

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  • How did your album Jannat happen? Well, it’s really hard being an independent musician in India.

    It took me almost ten years to record Jannat the way I had planned it. I always knew that I wanted to record live and record the songs as I sing them. At that point in time, we were ‘living room musicians’ and would sing at barsatis in Delhi or in somebody’s room while getting drunk. I wanted the songs to sound exactly like that. Well, that was a wrong time as ‘remix’ had just come into fashion. They did not understand why I would want to go through a more painful and longer process of recording my songs. Finding a good producer was difficult and I recorded my first demo in a bathroom because the song would get that natural reverb! I just scraped around and things didn’t work too well. I shifted base to Delhi because Mumbai didn’t work too well for me initially. I started working more and writing more songs thinking that I would eventually meet a company that would be interested in my music. Fortunately, I did meet people from the label I record for, HOM Records. They really liked my songs but I told them what I told other investors – I didn’t have any money to record these songs. I asked them I was interested if they would invest in my music. They didn’t even think twice. That’s how it happened – it took me around 2 – 2.5 years to record it from that day.

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  • I was reading this article about you on CNNGo in which it stated that you had actually studied Hotel Management and then things changed. What actually happened?

    For a long time in my life, I had no idea about what I wanted to do. Even now if you ask me about what I am trying to do, I won’t be able to answer. I usually go with what I feel like doing on a particular day. Basically, I had a long list of things that I didn’t want to do. One of them was Engineering mainly because my father was a professor at IIT and I had lived there all my life. I wanted to move out and do something exciting which no one had done at that time. Well, nobody was doing Hotel Management. Now it’s become popular. I had never entered a Five-Star in my life and I didn’t know that working in a place like that would be so different from what I had imagined. But then you realize that the other side of the table is much better where you’re being served rather than serving.

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  • How did you get involved in this industry? How did you “arrive” in this world of Indian independent music?

    I can give you a very long, detailed answer for this which I can make up. Actually, I have no idea how I got involved in this scene!

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