The South Asian Times

16 July 2018 15:57 PM

An Indian musician's journey from Mumbai's streets to London

By Natalia Ningthoujam

New Delhi, Aug 27: Singer-songwriter Pratyul Joshi, an FTII alumnus, started performing on the streets of Mumbai in 2012 to survive. Now his album "Waabasta" has been mastered by British audio mastering engineer John Davis, who has worked with popular musicians like U2 and Lana Del Rey.

Joshi started as a street performer in "very testing times".

"I had been jobless for six months after doing my masters in audio engineering from FTII (Film and Television Institute of India). I started performing on the streets to survive. It was the only option for me. For the first few months, I started performing with the sole aim of using the one hour slot to perform as if it was what God had sent me to do," Joshi told IANS in an email interview.

The response to his performance became better with time.

"It was tremendous. Some people used to change their train timings just to watch my street performance. It was unexpected because I never did any Bollywood song cover. They were mostly originals, folk fusion and a lot of them were in multiple languages yet people seemed to love them.

"Then after one-and-half years of street music, I thought of the first music video 'Patanga'," he said.

Now, he is back with a new song "Baadshah". The journey wasn't a smooth one -- it took about two years to make its video.

The video of "Baadshah" is the brainchild of its director Danish Aslam and Abhishaik Desai, Founder of Timbre, that is backing Joshi's debut album "Waabasta", said the singer.

"The video required certain production values and that had huge costs. Being an independent music video, we faced lot of hurdles to get it funded. Eventually, it was done with minimum compromises on the production or the song," said Joshi.

How did John Davis come on board?

"Before foraying into artiste management/production, Timbre was a company that made audio speakers. Abhishaik developed Timbre speakers himself and had an ear for fine music. We both wanted the sound of the songs to be among the best. John Davis was one of the few that Abhishaik suggested and it immediately made sense to get his expertise," he said.

Should people expect him to collaborate with an international talent soon? Does he have a wish list?

"I have a long list of artistes (whom I want to work with). There have been many influences from around the world ranging from Eddie Vedder, Avicii, Snarky Puppy, Dub FX and Adele," he said.

He feels music should not be categorised by musicians.

"It's the audience that does that. When we start doing it ourselves, we end up restricting our imagination. Yes, the concept of a genre doesn't strike well with me," he said.

How would he describe his new album?

"It is about true life incidents, mostly which were experienced by me. Each song has a story through which I chose words for it, words dictated emotions and emotions dictated the right treatment of music and singing," said the artiste, who has performed at festivals like Enchanted Valley Carnival and Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

Update: 27 Aug, 2017

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