How different is your latest album, AB, from the kind of stuff we are getting to hear now?
AB was released last month on Times Music. It’s the kind of an album which is required today. My fans will feel the flavour of some exceptional melodies, which have sweet tunes and a soothing rhythm. I have tried my best to present a new side of my vocal skills in each one of the eight songs in the album, especially for my hard-core fans, who can’t be let down. The album is a cute concept, with a mix of romance and emotions.
How did you conceptualise the idea of this album and when did you start working on it?
After singing a track in Besharam last year, my fans sent in a lot of requests. They wanted me to continue singing more tracks, be it for playback or cutting my own album. Many tried connecting with me through social networking sites. Through their messages, they expressed that most of them are expecting a new, soulful album, especially since my previous albums have all got a thunderous response. But, my team and I had started working on this album much before that, so it almost took a year. I was also occupied with a lot of shows, concerts all over the world and at the same time, I was devoting some time from my everyday schedule to this album.
The video, especially the animation used in Pankhudi ki palki, grabbed a lot of eyeballs. Were you involved in the creative process of making the video as well?
Earlier, I had planned to make a simple video, where I would casually play the guitar. But, one of my fans suggested that I try something different and experiment with animation instead. I was a little skeptical, because I wasn’t too sure how things will pan out and how it would eventually look. Anyway, we decided to go ahead with the idea. I was very much involved in the entire process. Apart from the fact that the animation experts had to make an animated version of me, in the form a bee, we had to make sure that the bee’s expressions and movements look natural and smooth. It would look very odd if my real expression does not go with the character. Besides that, those expressions had to match the lyrics and music. So, we had a lot of rehearsals, various sessions to sketch out every detail on the storyboard before I performed the portions in chroma key. The graphics team recorded my facial expressions. Thankfully, our efforts paid off, but thanks to the good quality animation and graphics, the budget shot up, making it one of the costliest non-film music videos in India. But I think it’s all good.
What’s next, on the Bollywood front?
Dil ka jo haal from Besharam was a hit and people appreciated my playback for Ranbir (Kapoor). Playback offers are always there, but I am choosy when it comes to lyrics and badly-composed songs. I can’t just randomly sing tracks at this stage of my career. My songs need to touch the heart. I rule the hearts of my listeners. So, I will only sing melodious numbers.
Who, among the current crop of singers, are your favourites?
There are quite a few, but I particularly like Akriti Kakkar, Neeti Mohan, Shreya Ghoshal and Javed Ali’s work. I think they are all amazing artists and sing straight from their heart.
Are you planning any new single or non-film album after this?
Yes, but it will take some time. It’s a little strange but I have honestly become more busy compared to the days when I was belting out one Bollywood number after another. I keep myself busy with concerts all over the world.