Speaking about his latest album, he says, “I have taken Kashmiri folk music and presented it in a symphonic style.” He’s half-Kashmiri himself, and that is another reason the musician says he’s drawn to the place. Rahul speaks to CS about the album, his inspirations and composing for Bollywood:
From about four till I was 12, we spent all our summer vacations in Kashmir. My brother, mother and the rest of the family would go there and dad used to join us from wherever he was performing his concerts. My buaji lives there till today. There was no place like Kashmir. Switzerland can be compared to it but Kashmir has a spiritual connect. I went for the Ambernath yatra recently and it was a mind-blowing experience. I hope to visit Kashmir more often now.
Finding inspirations everywhere
If the place is as beautiful as Kashmir, and expecially with me belonging to the region, it was a natural thing to do an album inspired by it. The santoor reminds a lot of people of nature, mountains, cascading waterfalls — all the more the reason to adapt the mysticism of the place. For me nature and travelling are inspirations. Most of my albums are inspired by my travels. I’ve done about 50-55 private albums and my earlier work was inspired by famous Greek composer Vangelis. He had these thematic CDs, where a whole theme would be described through music. I wanted to do something similar with my albums. I want my albums to have a little mysticism, not just music for romance or happiness. They have to be edgy.
After Mujhse Dosti Karoge, I received a lot of offers to compose for films. But at that time, I was trying to establish myself as an artist. It was a dilemma for me. If I get into films completely, then what will happen to my classical singing? So I decided to focus on my classical singing. I found my true calling with what I do, which gives me satisfaction. Films were a very time-consuming process. I missed out on a lot of concerts. Recently, I met a friend who told me that Vivek Agnihotri is making a film and we had a couple of sittings. Vivek liked my compositions and we clicked well with each other.