Navin Kundra: An Unfettered, Urban Sound

Sunetra Senior Monday 05th December 2016 14:31 EST

There is an infectious and pulsing energy for the art with rising – lusciously lingual - singer-song writer, Navin Kundra. You can tell immediately how he stormed the urban club charts this year, with his first English hit single - ‘Tear it Up’ – entering in at number 16, and landing one notch above Beyoncé, amongst other star names such as Nikki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd. “I think my special appeal is that I’m genreless,” the young artist emphasised. “And that’s because I stay true to myself. Whether I’m performing romantic ballads, dance tracks, soul Bollywood or Bhangra, the element that ties it together is my voice and open personality which allows me to experiment with different styles. The surface can be shifting but it's because I'm going in deep. An intimate connection with the music must always come first.” The impressive Kundra has also personally performed for the Royal Family, and the Indian Prime Minister at Wembley Stadium, as well as receiving a private invite to prestigious 10 Downing Street.


“Performing live is beautiful,” he continued. “It’s magical to be able to see the immediate effect of your lyrics and music on the people in the audience – whether it’s playing to 60,000 or 600, I want to move them emotionally as well as physically. People have proposed to my music, struck up new romances at my concerts, and my music has even brought someone out of a coma! To me that is the magic of music. I don’t just enjoy connecting with my fans, it's their reciprocation and responses too.” No wonder then that Navin is most loved for his love songs like the number one smash hit, ‘Tere Liye’. What else could best express the musician’s uniquely classy, yet feel-good warmth: “the whole process, from singing on stage live, being more impromptu and spontaneous, to the initial solitary introspection of just recording in the studio, draws on and culminates in a variety of human feelings and universal experience. That’s what grabs me most about the profession.” We were pleased to hear that Navin will be releasing his new Sufiesque Hindi love song ballad – ‘Bandagi’ – to once again touch our hearts on Valentine’s Day of next year: “previously I’ve sung about what I would do for someone, but ‘Bandagi’ is more to do with what that special person means to me. It’s the yearning of ‘how do you tell someone how much you love them? What could possibly communicate how much they mean to you? Words alone are simply not enough, but words set to melody and music can do it all and that’s what ‘Bandagi’ is.”  Eloquent, expressive and connected, Navin shows how, more than having a big personality, knowing and actuating yourself is what results in the lights and the fans.

How did you get started in music?

Actually, I started off as a waiter at TGI Fridays. I then spent four years in banking after graduating from university. I was cultivating my music on the side throughout, and happily it worked out.

Are you planning to release another Album soon?

I think the contemporary market has moved away from albums. Entertainment and music is all online and digital. If people want to hear a song, they can access it at their fingertips: through mobile phones on Youtube, Spotify or iTunes. You don’t have to buy an album: you can just purchase, or stream, the individual tracks you want. As an independent artist then it really doesn't make sense for me to invest in an album right now. That said, I have produced a lot of music and do have a compilation album, dubbed The Collection, featuring 18 tracks of my work over the last eight years. That has the full range of my original material, including six number one singles. There’s a John Legend cover, where I flipped the lyrics into Hindi and that struck a chord with a lot of people. There’s also a Fifty Shades of Grey cover with a twist.  

Could you tell us some more highlights of your career?

I have been lucky to experience a lot very early on in my career. Among the many great opportunities, I have also performed on Strictly Come Dancing, and achieved a Guinness Book world Record, which choreographed over 1400 people to my song, ‘Mehbooba’. I never know what’s coming next and that keeps it incredibly exciting.

Do you always focus on the music first, or do you think about the promotional aspect too?

It’s a mix of both, but yes, primarily it’s about creating the best songs for the listeners. There is a part of me, as an independent artist that does think about release strategy and marketing, but in the studio when I’m composing and recording I let go of all of that. My manager is always encouraging me to just write the best song. You’ve got to focus on the writing and that’s what’ll be strong enough to connect.

What’s one notion people have about being a musician that simply isn’t true?

That it’s all glamour and champagne for breakfast.  The truth is that it’s more hard work than it appears. Music is a lifestyle industry, and artists do project a superior lifestyle and uber slick image through their videos and personas on stage, but there's a huge journey and amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to get to that point. Everything takes time to build and every song has a story. Some songs, for example, might have taken years to write. It takes a lot of effort to make it look effortless!

Finally, do you have a professional motto?

Look after your art and your art will look after you.

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