Features Monday, February 09, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 9, 2015| 12.30 pm IST Bangalore-based fusion musician Ricky Kej won the Best New Age Album award at the 57th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, in Los Angeles. Kej co-produced his album "Winds of Samsara" with South African flautist Wouter Kellerman. The album debuted at #1 on the US Billboard New Age Albums Chart late last year. This was Kej's 14th album. The News Minute had interviewed Ricky Kej in December 2014 when the Grammy nominations were announced. Excerpts from the interview by Nayantara N. For Ricky Kej, life was just like any other undergraduate student struggling between the dualities of choosing a career for livelihood and survival versus following one’s passion. But when he began following a progressive band in the University while studying dentistry, he realised his heart and soul lay in music and he followed his passion.  I met South African flutist Wouter Kellerman two years ago and we instantly connected. Both of us hold our countries in high esteem and the album is inspired by Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who are Fathers of our respective Nations which why we dedicated this to our motherlands,” he declared. Potential as an independent musician Having composed music for a couple of Kannada movies, he soon moved away from the film industry as, he says, it constricts independency and creativity. It does not provide opportunities for musicians like him who strongly believe in painting one’s inner feelings through harmonious composition of music. “In bands like Metallica or any, one writes about what he feels, one’s personal emotions. Therefore there is a personal connect to it as it from the heart. Where as in film industry, there is a set story between a hero and heroine. You have to compose five-six songs depending on the plot and situation leaving no room for experimentation.” he admits. The other problem according to him is the lack of platform to showcase young talent or something off-beat. “India is strongly influenced by Bollywood music and if your music does not conform to the industry standards, your music will not reach the larger audience.” Television and FM radio channels only cater to commercial movie music leaving behind those that maybe excellent and genuine in composition. The only available option left is web and with internet reaching only a small section of the country, there is no scope for independent musicians, he says. Music in Schools Ricky completely supports the idea of introducing music as a subject is school curriculum. Music according to him gives a holistic approach to education and sincerely wishes that the government considers this option. He himself is a self-taught musician without any formal training, but he adds that it would help those whose focus is to excel in music. “With technology moving ahead, other jobs may become redundant after a few years. But music will always stay because there is some much potential, it can always be rediscovered and it will never go out of fashion,” he says. Without any intention to condemn them, it is safe enough to add that it is time India allows young talents to find a place for themselves in the over-crowded and dominating nature of the film industry.

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