I'm partial to composing: Clinton Cerejo

He’s best known as the man who sang Sooraj Ki Baahon Mein from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaraa or the man behind Kahani’s lilting background score. But most people are not aware that Clinton Cerejo began his musical journey singing advertisement jingles and working in the capacity of a vocal arranger and music producer, where he worked extensively with AR Rahman. So does he feel he has finally arrived in the big league now? Cerejo says, “I’ve always let my work speak for me. And after all this time, I’m still working, still being offered a lot of projects. I’ve reached that stage where I take up projects that interest me. Fortunately, I have the luxury of being able to choose the work I take up. I think this is a good place to be in.”

Clinton Cerejo has a busy year ahead, with a number of gigs and Bollywood projects lined up

We agree. It surely is a good place to be in if the hard work you’ve put in your work gets appreciated. The audience has shown their appreciation for Cerejo’s work, with his composition Madaari, that was shown in the last season of Coke Studio on MTV receiving more than a million hits on YouTube.

Cerejo is clearly overwhelmed with the response. “Madaari has turned out to be the most popular song from Coke Studio at MTV Season 2 and I think one of the most important factors that has contributed to its success is the meaning the song carries. It’s a very valid thought that the song is putting forth. Even after a year, people are still tweeting and telling me personally how much they love the song, which is overwhelming. Also as a composition, its uniqueness and the performance by Vishal (Dadlani), Sonu (Kakkar) and the band has played a part in its success. But honestly, none of us expected Madaari to become as popular as it did,” he says.

This year too, Cerejo is a part of Coke Studio and has something special planned for the audience. “For my songs in this year’s episode, I’ve tried to do something different from last year. I’ve tried to take it forward musically, but at the same time I’ve also kept it fresh and interesting,” he says. Adding to the thought, he says, “My episode features a really fun song sung by Kailash Kher, an epic duet I’ve done with Vijay Prakash as well as some fresh new Indie voices like that of Siddharth Basrur, Sanam Puri and Jonita Gandhi. What I’m also really excited about is the horn section I’ve featured on two of my songs.”

The musician has also kept himself busy by singing hits like Yaaram (Ek Thi Daayan) and composing background scores for Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, Kahaani, Ek Thi Daayan anong others. As a musical arranger, composer and singer, he’s got his hands full. “I think each of these disciplines calls for its own degree of expertise and I try and do them all with as much passion. If I’m called as a playback singer, I concentrate on the singing aspect, I don’t let the composer-arranger facet take over. Similarly, when I’m arranging or producing a song, I try and add something relevant to the composition that I’ve been handed to work on. But I have to admit that I am partial to composing at this point. It keeps evolving,” he says. Cerejo will be touring with the ‘Clinton Cerejo Band’ this season. He’s also working on a project with Vijay Prakash, Sonu Kakkar and Bianca Gomes. “We’re doing this purely for the love of it and we hope it shows in the music. Our new band is called Ananthaal, and we will be getting together in the studio to write a bunch of new songs for our album. I hope to roll it out later this year and go on the road,” he adds. Bollywood too, is on his radar. “I’m focusing on producing some songs in Vishal Bhardwaj’s next production Dedh Ishqiya. I will also be composing the background score for the film later this year,” he informs. No wonder Cerejo says that he’s in a
good place! 

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