Arjun Kanungo -”My mom thought I was on drugs”

After Go Goa Gone’s ‘Khoon choos le,’ you (Arjun Kanungo) have another popular song in ‘Tum chal diye’ from Pizza 3D.
I am happy with ‘Tum chal diye from Pizza 3D’. It’s very much in my space.

How did you begin in the music industry?
My first film was Mai for which I sang a rock song, ‘Learn to adjust’. The producer and music director of that film, Nithin R Shankar has guided me from the age of 17. He knows my mother because, like her, he too is into shooting sports. He introduced me to Ashaji (Bhosle) who took me on tour with her where we sang RD Burman songs like ‘Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko’ and ‘O hasina zulfon wali jaan-e-jahan’.

After Mai failed to make a splash, how did you land another assignment?
I went one afternoon just randomly to meet Sachin Jigar and they ended up recording the ‘Khoon choos  le’ song with me immediately. Go Goa Gone was in the proper Bollywood rock space … and everybody started calling me after that.

When did you discover your love for music?
After completing my schooling at Bombay Scottish, I told my mom I don’t want to study. My mom sent me to New York and I started hanging out with kids who were studying music and were really enjoying what they were doing. I asked them is it too late to pursue music and they said no. I came back to Bombay and picked up a guitar from Bandra. I went on the internet to pick up instructions and I spent hours strumming the guitar and singing. I didn’t even know I could sing. My mom used to think I am on drugs because I was locked in the room all the time.

You are self taught? Most of my musician friends claim that it is impossible to learn music without a guru.
Vocals are much harder, but with guitar you can’t go very wrong. For notations there are sites with that information. At the end of the day, you are learning from the computer.

Would you agree there is no thairav in the music today?
Yes, everybody is into the very schizophrenic ADD kind of music. Music directors want a song where there is a repetition of a word so that that it gets drilled into your head.

What is the genre of songs you would like to be associated with?
I would like to sing ballads and romantic songs — songs where the emphasis is on singing. My dream is to sing a song a day.

Can you cite some numbers you like?
I love Barfi songs, Arijit (Singh) is a phenomenal singer and I like his recent songs. I can hear ‘Saathi Salaam’ by Clinton, Say Something and Kabira time and again. I also like ‘Galiyaan’ from Ek Villain.

‘Galiyan’ singer Shraddha Kapoor was to feature in the video of your song but backed out. What happened?
Shraddha and I were learning classical music together; she is a very good singer. I was planning to release an album earlier, now I am coming out with a single. She was going to be part of the video; now she is not. She did it to protect her interest; not that I think it would have harmed her. But it’s not a big deal.

Are you always so understanding and giving?
I think the business is like this – it is hundred percent self-centred.

How do you keep yourself occupied when you are not giving playback for Bollywood actors?
I have a company called Promethean. In Greek mythology Promethean means unusually creative when inspired.

- Dinesh Raheja, Bollywood News Service

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