by ASJAD NAZIR
LIKE most naturally-gifted artists, Parry Mad is at his best when in front of a live audience. Having performed globally alongside world-class talents and shone on Zee TV’s legendary music show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the British singer regularly lights up the live scene and headlines a solo concert at the Harrow Arts Centre this month.
He will demonstrate his remarkable range at a musically-rich family-friendly show.
Eastern Eye caught up with Parry to talk about music, live performance and his forthcoming concert.
What first connected you to music?
Mum said I hummed a lot as a baby and I was exposed to a variety of genres at a young age. Bollywood movie nights were a big occasion. Dad has got rhythm and tapped out beats on any acoustic object nearby.
How much does live performance mean to you?
Performing live is like performing naked. Your virtues and flaws are exposed to many people. In the beginning, you fear your flaws will make you look a fool, but when you learn it’s an irrational fear, your creative freedom is allowed to shine through. Performing to thousands of people in my native village of Madhapar in Kutch, Gujarat in 2006 after an eight-month stint on Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is the first concert that comes to mind in terms of the most memorable. The compere just announced my arrival on the stage and the crowd went hysterical. The rest was easy.
Tell us about your forthcoming gig?
An Evening With Parry is a concert showcasing the best of me along with my closest artist friends in the music circuit. It will cater for what we call ‘sunnewaale’, which is a term to describe a rare breed of concert-goers who appreciate the nuances of live performance. I’ve always wanted to put on my own show and now we’re making it happen.
What can we expect from the show?
In short, the unexpected. You will see and hear the best of some of UK’s best live artists, performing unique material in a variety of genres with many surprise twists. Sometimes, we never know what’s going to happen. I just try to be as creatively free as possible on stage.
According to you, what is the secret of a great live performance?
You need to be able to express yourself and pour out your soul with your performance. You also need a fantastic, appreciative and knowledgeable audience to connect with. I love a performance where you get a glimpse into the life of the artist during their live performance.
Who have you loved seeing live?
Sonu Nigam has mesmerised me in every concert of his I’ve been to. He displays an enormous amount of skill and spontaneous creativity on stage. He also connects deeply with his audience. I, along with many Indian artists, learn so much from him every time we listen to his creations.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
If the audience is lapping it up, and I want to gift them something to feast their ears with, it has to be Kesariya Balam, the popular Rajasthani folk song about the yearning for their saffron-coloured beloved. In a crowd of mixed ages and backgrounds, a clever creation from my close friend and music director, KayKay Chauhan, is always a treat. Particularly, a mash-up of Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror and Mohammed Rafi’s Chaudhvin Ka Chand.
What inspires you as a singer?
Whatever or whoever made us, has given each of us some special ability and the environment to develop it. Singing and freedom seem to be that special gift for me. The gift inspires me to keep on expanding my capabilities.
Who would you love to work with?
I already work with the people who I love working with. They will all be featured in my forthcoming concert. I once had the opportunity to record with AR Rahman, the benchmark for a lot of south Asian singers.
Why should we come to the concert?
You will not just be part of the audience, you will be part of the show. There will be no barriers between the people on the stage and the people in the seats. It’ll be one big family party with lots of music, interaction, laughs and ‘once mores’.
Why do you love music?
I didn’t choose to love music. When my playlist plays in my in-ears, I do not think anyone else’s playlist does the same thing for them. Few things are better than a good piece of music.
An Evening With Parry on at Elliott Hall, Harrow Arts Centre on September 13. www.harrowarts.com