Exclusive: “Coronavirus is a great equalizer,” says singer, composer and lyricist Rahul Jain

Rahul Jain (Image courtesy:  Planet Media PR)
Rahul Jain (Image courtesy: Planet Media PR)

By: Mohnish Singh

You will know him as the singer of some popular tracks, but do you know that Rahul Jain is also an accomplished music composer and lyricist. His debut song ‘Teri Yaad’ from the film Fever (2016) was composed, sung and written by him.

Rahul Jain has just dropped a new music video ‘Paas Aao Na’ alongside singer Sonu Kakkar. In a conversation with Eastern Eye, the man of many talents talks about how he came up with the song, the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on singers and musicians, how the internet has helped independent artists, and much more.

Tell us something about your new song ‘Paas Aao Na’? How did it come into being?

As you know, we are all going through a pandemic together at the movement. Everyone has a different experience to share as to how they are dealing with it. But that one common experience which, I feel, most of us have had is living away from our loved ones for so many months now. I mean, yes, it has been close to seven months since most of us have not met our family, friends, girlfriends or boyfriends, especially people who live away from them in another city. So, we wanted to capture all those emotions in a song. Sonu Kakkar was also very thrilled about it. She was like, ‘Yes, let’s do it’. So, that’s how ‘Paas Aao Na’ happened.

What do you have to say about the kind of response it has garnered on YouTube?

We have received great response from listeners. Our song hit YouTube just a couple of days ago and it has already crossed more than a million views on the video-sharing website. We hope it continues to entertain listeners.

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected one and all. How has it hit singers and composers working in the industry?

Yes, it is a great equalizer as it discriminates no one. The pandemic has hit us as badly as it has everyone else on the planet. Several musicians and new artists had to go back to their hometowns because there was no work. Surviving in a city like Mumbai or any metropolis, for that matter, is not easy if one does not have a constant flow of work and income. Mumbai is so costly. You have to have money to make both ends meet.

Additionally, many singers and musicians earn from events and live shows, which have completely stopped ever since India went into lockdown. Thankfully, things are regaining normalcy and I see several artists coming back to the city of dreams once again. Though the work has not started at full throttle, the situation is expected to get better in some time.

Do you feel the internet has democratised the entire music landscape as it has given a platform to so many independent artists, apart from benefitting the established ones?

Yes, I absolutely agree with what you said. The internet has given every artist an equal field to play and showcase their talent. I mean, you do not necessarily need to land in Mumbai to prove your prowess. You can do it from the comfort of your home as well, if you are talented enough.

Over the past few years, we have seen so many artists who are a direct product of the internet. They are as popular as any other artist who took the traditional route to reach where they are today. So, yeah, I definitely feel that the internet has given wings to so many independent artists and it is just the beginning.

When did you know you wanted to be a singer? Did you face any opposition from your family?

I hail from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. I started performing on stage at a very young age. So, yeah, I was inclined towards music from the very beginning. My parents never had any objections to me taking so much interest in music. They, in fact, encouraged me. My brother is trained in classical singing. He, however, did not pursue music as a career and decided to venture into business.

It was during my graduation that I thought I needed to give music my all. I was doing engineering. I thought that making a house is something that anybody could do, but touching millions of hearts with your music is something that makes you stand apart from the rest. So, that is where began the new chapter of my life. There has been no looking back since then.

How did you bag your first film Fever?

So, after appearing on a singing reality show, I happened to meet filmmaker Rajeev Zaveri. He had just finished shooting for his film Fever (2016), starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Gauahar Khan. When I met him, he asked me to sing something. I had my guitar with me, so I immediately started singing a song which I had composed and written. He liked the song very much. But since he had already finished his film, there was no possibility of him using it in the film. He said he would like to use it in another project maybe. But after a day or two, he called me and said that he had decided to drop one song from the film and use my song instead. I was ecstatic. The song was titled ‘Teri Yaad’.

Apart from Hindi films and music videos, you have also composed title tracks of several prominent Indian daily soap. How is it different to create music for shows than films?

Yes, I have scored for several successful shows over the years, including Bepannah, Beyhadh 2, Tu Aashiqui, Ye Pyar Nahi To Kya Hai, Gathbandhan, etc. The process of creating music for both films and television is more or less the same, but what I have observed over the years is that the songs which you compose for television shows go on to have a longer self-live because television shows mostly run for years, which means your song is going to be with the audience for quite a long time.

Who is your favourite singer?

Kishore (Kumar) Da is one of my all-time favourite singers. His range was outstanding. He has sung so many different songs for different moods.

Anyone from the current generation?

Arijit Singh. We all know that he is a brilliant talent. I think everyone is doing great.

Who is your favourite music director?

There are many, the music composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal is one of them. I also admire AR Rahman a lot.