I share a spiritual connection with AR Rahman: Nakash Aziz
The singer, who has voiced the song Rakshassi in Shankar's 2.0 and the Tamil and Telugu versions of Vashemalle in Thugs of Hindostan, talks about his musical journey
Singer Nakash Aziz is keen on striking a balance between mainstream and independent music. The composer-turned-vocalist has voiced the Tamil and Telugu versions of the song Vashemalle in the recently released Thugs of Hindostan; he has also sung the Hindi version of the song Rakshassi in Sankar’s 2.0. Meanwhile, Nakash’s first ever single, Heeriye, was picked up by Sony Music India and clocked more than 6 million views on YouTube.
A former assistant of AR Rahman on films like Delhi 6, Highway and Raanjhaana, Nakash has delivered popular and catchy hits like Selfie Le Le Re from Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Jabra Fan from Fan, and most recently, Gold Tamba in Batti Gul Meter Chalu. An instantly recognisable voice in Hindi film music, the 33-year-old singer feels the need to explore more personal territory with his upcoming projects, which he believes shall bring him more artistic satisfaction.
How different is making your own music video from singing for a Bollywood or Tamil/Telugu film track?
It's quite different. When you are shooting your own music video, you are involved in every level of the production. For Heeriye, we made elaborate storyboards and shot the video in Kashmir. It was almost like making a short film. With Bollywood or film tracks, all that is taken care of. Films usually have higher budgets and great technicians to give you that production value.
Another security with a good film track is that you are guaranteed a few million views and hits. There’s a great team working behind it, who ensure a certain buzz for the song. With an independent video, no matter how good, there's always a risk of falling short on views and popularity. It feels a little disappointing when the numbers don't show up. I usually don't go back to check YouTube view-counts, but I know independent singles fall behind film music. I am trying hard to crack that.
I am inspired by people like Anurag Kashyap who make films on small and limited budgets and still create quality cinema that gets praised by Martin Scorsese. That is what I am looking to achieve. I know it won't happen with just one or two videos. It will take time but I'm determined to get there.
So can it be said that playback singers lead a dual life — one for their film career and one for personal expression?
Not really. I am very single-minded in my passion. At the end of the day, it's all about making music. Whether I do it for a film, or for my own pet project, it doesn't really matter. I consider myself a student of music who is trying to learn everything and figure out his path along the way.
How has your relationship with Rahman evolved over the years?
I have a very spiritual connection with Rahman. Most of our conversations revolve around spirituality. He reached out to me to assist him on Delhi 6. We have shared a good relationship for 9-10 years now. Even at his stature, he is constantly trying to learn more about his craft. He is also an extremely humble person. Maybe because he is so quiet, people might not feel like approaching or disturbing him. But in reality he is a very approachable and cool guy.
What are you working on next?
I am more focused on my personal compositions. I'm not sure if it'll be a single or a whole album. But you can expect a lot in 2019. It's gonna be fun.