Ricky Kej: Only love songs, article songs come out of India

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Music composer Ricky Kej had many goals, but the Grammys weren’t one of them. “They just happened,” says Kej, who won his second Grammy this year, adding, “When I won my first at the age of 33, it seemed like an unattainable goal. You couldn’t even get there. thinking, making music in India, but it happened. It turns all your goals upside down; you won a big prize and you don’t know what to do next.

That’s why he decided to have goals as rewards doesn’t make sense. “For me, goals are about solving social problems through my music rather than winning awards or advancing my career,” Kej tells us.

Ask him if he plans to make music for movies, and Kej replies, “There’s nothing wrong with music in Bollywood. [But] I chose not to… I prefer to make music from the heart… While the quality of [film] the music is very good, people don’t make music from the heart. The only type of music coming out of India is either object songs or love songs.

However, Kej has worked on independent music as well as documentaries. “I’ve done a lot of Kannada music. I collaborated with HS Venkateshamurthy (director) on two songs, both of which will be performed live. Also, I love making music for documentaries because the only kind of music I make is about social impact and raising awareness of issues.

His Grammy-winning album, Divine Tides, features 40 musicians from Karnataka, in addition to American musician Stewart Copeland. “As a Bengalurian, my favorite musicians come from the city. So they will always be part of my plans,” says Kej.

On Monday, Kej and his band performed in front of 5,000 army families in Bengaluru to mark the first of his many shows this year. “I was called by the army to do the concert. I was very happy to be here,” shares Kej, whose band is set to perform in another 18 shows next month, in India and overseas including Delhi, Mumbai, Sweden and more.


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