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‘BTS opened the floodgates for Asian artists globally’: Armaan Malik

Armaan Malik is basking in the success of his latest track 'Echo', which is his first collaboration with KPop Singer/Songwriter Eric Nam, and renowned DJ/Music Producer KSHMR.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi |
Updated: June 9, 2021 8:44:20 am
Armaan MalikArmaan Malik said collaborations are important to push creative boundaries, make a cultural impact and introduce your music to an untapped audience. (Photo: PR Handout)

Singer Armaan Malik has once again hit the bullseye with the success of his latest track ‘Echo,’ which released in May and has managed to garner over 13 million views on YouTube. Recently, indianexpress.com sat down for an exclusive chat with Armaan to talk about his dream of exploring international music, collaboration with KPop singer Eric Nam and much more.

‘Echo’ is your fourth international single, and fourth consecutive hit.

Echo‘ is my first international collaboration with incredible artists like KPop Singer/Songwriter Eric Nam, and renowned DJ/Music Producer KSHMR.

‘Echo’ was incepted when I met KSHMR in Los Angeles right before the onset of the global pandemic and the release of my first English single. He played some unreleased material including ‘Echo’, it just stuck, and I recorded my demo verse at his studio itself. Around mid-2020, Eric and I had this little interaction on Twitter that sparked off an internet friendship and our teams connected to discuss a potential collaboration. The track we all gravitated most towards was ‘Echo.’ we spent the next few months making it sound like it does right now.

Armaan Malik on Echo Armaan Malik with KPop Singer/Songwriter Eric Nam and DJ/Music Producer KSHMR. (Photo: PR Handout)

But with the success and the hits, is there a fear of failure too?

Every time you try something new or venture into uncharted territory, there is always that lingering fear of the unknown. It was quite daunting to re-introduce myself and start my musical journey all over again in this new big world of global pop. A lot of people here in India thought I was taking the biggest risk of my career. But I think the biggest fear I have as an artist is not being able to express my true self.

Everyone expects you to be a certain way and create the music you’ve always been known for, but as an artist, there’s always some part of your art that may be too different from your usual work, which has the risk of being rejected by your fans.

Many people believe I can only sing love songs and ballads, and that I won’t be able to do justice to the other genres. While I love that I am popular, I hate being typecast because I know I am so much more. However, I also believe in the fact that don’t open all your cards at once. I am still young. I’d like the world to know me better and differently as time goes by. I want to keep surprising them with my musical capabilities.

What’s your process of writing a song?

I have no set process that I follow while writing a song. A lot of my ideas flow naturally and instinctively. Every language, every genre has a different vibe. However, I must add that I am more melodically inclined. I have a natural tendency to come up with a tune first and then focus on the lyrics and theme of the song.

Korean music is taking over the globe, especially the BTS. Are you fond of their music?

Yes, I really like their music and I am glad to see their massive success! They have really opened the floodgates for Asian artists globally and I genuinely respect them for doing that.

What do you think is the biggest challenge about creating music in India?

From where I stand currently, I am very hopeful of the artists from India in general because we have huge potential to crossover and make our mark in global entertainment. We just have to dig in a little more to find these hidden gems. With the entry of global streaming giants like Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music in the last few years, a lot of our artists are getting heard globally. Due to this massive exposure, the soundscape here is constantly changing too. A lot of artists aren’t restricting themselves to just Bollywood projects and have actively been doing non-film music independently. This has led to the creation of a separate parallel music industry that is not part of the Bollywood universe, thus helping Indie musicians to be heard and recognized widespread. The digital space has become very helpful in promoting new music and artists. For all emerging artists, I think it’s very important to use these platforms effectively because it is definitely a place where they can be discovered and get a big break. The possibilities are endless!

You and Amaal have worked together on many projects. How your music sensibility changed over the years?

As cliche as it sounds, “change is the only constant,” we both have grown so much as emotional beings first and then as artists. Some of my biggest songs that have given me an identity in this industry are with my brother and I am very proud of it. We keep experimenting with different sounds, genres, styles, techniques and what not. I have some amazing projects coming up with him and they are unlike anything that you have heard from us.

I spoke to Amaal Mallik a couple of days back and he spoke about how collaborations are important and the need of the hour. Do you agree? And which of the international artists you want to collaborate with?

Collaborations are important to push creative boundaries, make a cultural impact, introduce your music to an untapped audience, and most importantly to learn something new. Not restricting to the learnings only in the field of music but other areas too. For example, while working on ‘Echo’ with Eric, I learned so much about the K-pop space and how they go about planning their releases throughout the year. Similarly, Niles told me the impact of his time in India on his music and life. (On collaboration) I’d love to collaborate with artists like Charlie Puth and DJ/ producer, Zedd and Lauv to name a few.

 

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When we spoke last, you said international space is bit intimidating also because there is so much of competition. Have your thoughts changed now that you are out with fourth single?

Things are for sure different from the time I released ‘Control’ to ‘Echo’ because I’ve learned so much about the markets, audiences, music and myself, so I am better prepared to be out there. In my opinion, the primary thing we need to change is how Indians and Asians in general are perceived in the foreign lands. The love and support I have received with just a few English songs out there, gives me immense hope and courage to pave the way for the next generation of musicians and artists to follow their dreams and make being ‘globally successful’ a reality.

Do number of views on several platform determine hit or miss for you as an artist? How do you look at the number game music industry is facing?

I’d be straight up lying if I say numbers don’t matter since this is the digital space and it is one of the ways to measure a song’s performance. But that being said, numbers shouldn’t be the only parameter to judge an artist’s success or failure, there are qualitative aspects that need to be considered as well. There are some amazing Indian artists that may not achieve enormous numbers but still have a significant cultural impact on the music scene.

Have you already planned what’s next?

I do have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline, a mix of English collaborations, Hindi singles, regional songs and Bollywood songs.

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