Singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad sure knows how to pull a crowd. And, his latest performance at Reverie, the annual cultural fest of Gargi College — was proof enough. The singer’s mesmeric voice had the crowd follow through every crest and trough of the song. The singer sang some of his hits and caught up with us later to discuss performing at college fests, his music and more.
Ask him how he felt about performing for the audience at Gargi College and Kuhad says, “It was fine. Honestly, the past four to five shows have been like this one with about five to six thousand people, so this one didn’t seem like a change.” He adds, “Honestly, college shows aren’t the best organized. So, for us to come as a crew and perform gets a little difficult at times, and I don’t wish to put up any substandard shows for my fans. Because of disorganization, a lot of things happen, but I get that college shows are more accessible to many of my fans and that is why we are trying to find a balance so that I can keep performing for them. I am open to playing any shows I get. I am a songwriter and performer, so it’s kind of my job.”
Kuhad, although had performed at various venues that range from house gigs to acts that has thousands attending it, feels more comfortable in intimate setups. “When cold/mess released in July last year, I chose to follow it up with some house gigs because I wanted to do something for my fans. They’ve followed me, stuck with me and nothing is really possible without them, so this was a way of giving back to them. I wanted the act to be really stripped down, without speakers or amplifiers. So, I chose for it to be just me with my guitar in a room with just 20 to 30 people. It is a lot easier and comfortable for me to perform in that kind of environment because it is exactly like when I play in my own room. There’s no sound check, nothing at all, I just turn up with my guitar and share a more intimate experience with my fans,” he says.
Listen to Cold/Mess here:
Ask him about any musical influences that he has had and his writing process, and Kuhad says, “My music is a mix of everything really. A lot of it is actually just the craft of writing a good song, and knowing the difference between a good song and a bad song. You borrow from real life and fill the gaps with craft and fiction. I also try to do my own thing though, because that is the point of creating your own songs. You never want to inculcate someone’s style. But, I agree that all art created is a derivative of something that already exists with your own modifications. I am trying to be honest with my music, and the way I write my songs.” He adds that while back in college he could name a few artists or bands he really listened to, he cannot really pinpoint one artist dominating his playlist because he listens to a lot of stuff, and is always discovering new artists that sound good to him.
While Kuhad has sung for Bollywood, he says that he wouldn’t want to do more unless he really likes the song. “I’ve done one film where I sang a song I didn’t write, and it was more of an experiment for me. I am not really a singer, but more of a writer. I like singing my own songs more since I can express better. Playback singing won’t happen for me unless the song really speaks to me. I have to respect the song to actually sing it. I don’t really think of Bollywood when I am writing a song, and for me, such an opportunity will be like any other project. I enjoy sticking to what I love doing because if you love what you’re doing, it always makes your craft easier,” he says.
Kuhad also acknowledges that people often ask him for advice when it comes to making music and that for him ‘advice’ is a really strong word. Ask him why, and he simply explains that he cannot really tell anyone how to live their life. “I can’t give advice, so I simply tell them the facts of the industry. I’d tell anyone to observe their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses and figure their way out. People often, in the pursuit of knowing how to make it big or how to amass a fan base, forget to focus on what their craft is. What you’re making will push through the noise if you’re good,” says Kuhad.
The singer who lives in Delhi doesn’t really love much about Delhi though. “I grew up in Jaipur, and I am not really from Delhi, so I’m not really in love with the city. I do, however, love to go for a jog to Lodi Gardens, but that too has been ruined by the smoky winter air. I’d maybe resume that in summer,” laughs Kuhad.
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First Published: Feb 11, 2019 15:12 IST