How different is the music of Samrat and Co, since working on the music of a detective drama can be quite challenging?
It isn’t a detour from what I usually do because though the film is a detective drama, my role was to enhance the romantic side of the detective. Two numbers that I worked on are love songs. There is a challenge in almost every project that an artist works on.
Who all have you worked with on this album?
I’ve used the voices of Arijit Singh, Chinmayee for Kis tarah se shukra and Gajendra for O humnavaa. I have worked with all three artists in the past. I personally feel the songs and situations justify why I made this choice. The output is simply beautiful.
How has life changed since Aashiqui 2 happened?
Tum Hi Ho… became a reminder of my ideologies. There is a certain pattern to my belief system and the kind of music that I want to create. I have been a composer for more than seven years and have witnessed a lot of ups and downs, along with accolades and criticism. Before Tum Hi Ho…, there were a lot of things crossing my mind, but after Aashiqui 2 everything changed. The success has re-affirmed my faith in the path I have chosen and have decided never to divert from it.
At what age did you realise that music is where your heart lies?
I come from a family of musicians, so I guess this is what I was always cut out to do. My first memory of music was probably when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was very fond of the song, So Gaya Yeh Jaahan (Tezaab), sung by Nitin Mukesh. My father Naresh Sharma was a music arranger and musicians were always in the house, trying out new things. Since that era was all about music sittings unlike the software and email based system which is prevalent now, I remember picking up the tambourine kept in my living room and would try to have fun playing it.
How did you bag your first project in the film, Zeher?
I got my first film when I was still in college and it was my father who asked me to try my hand at music. I recreated the Pakistani hit song Woh Lamhe for Zeher, which was followed by my first original composition sung by Atif Aslam, called Tere Bin, from Bas Ek Pal. After that, there was no looking back.
What genre of music are you most comfortable with?
As an avid music fan, I have grown up listening to a lot of Jazz. Miles Davis, Chick Correa, Oscar Peterson and Ahmed Jamal are some of my favourites. When I create music, I like to explore a lot of world music. The sounds of different cultures and countries, like merging a Kashmiri carpet song with an Iranian folk melody. In fact, I have done something like that in Onir’s next film.
Any particular music composer who is your role model?
My music is inspired by the Lord (Jesus), but my role models come from a wide range of composers in India, right from M.M. Kreem, Viju Shah to Laxmikant – Pyarelal and of course, A.R. Rahman.
Are you planning to cut an album or a single any time soon?
As a composer, I’d love to, but I’m tied up with all the music I have to compose for movies this year. I wouldn’t mind doing something along the lines of Coke Studio rather than a conventional album.
What are the projects that you are working on and the kind of compositions that you have created for it?
Ek Villain and Creature are my two immediate releases. Mohit Suri is a very humane director and he always thinks of a song situation from a humane perspective, which makes things easy for me. I would say Ek Villain is one of the most powerful scripts I have come across in recent times. In Creature 3D, there are five songs and every track highlights an aspect of love. I have also worked on the songs for Onir’s next, Shabd, and Rajesh Pillai’s Traffic.
You have sung quite a few songs, but never did it regularly. Any plans of getting behind the mic?
I have never really been persistent about being a singer. The composer in me is always neutral while deciding singers. But I feel in Creature, there is this particular song that my voice can do justice too. I also keep getting a lot of fan requests, asking me to sing, especially after listening to songs from The Train and my album, Tu hi mere rab ki tarah. I owe it to my fans, so I will be singing.