His voice can take you to another planet, and his fan base can crush you under its weight. But singer Shaan says that it's all due to late ghazal singer Jagjit Singh that he learnt how to experiment with his voice. So in his own way, Shaan is paying a tribute to his mentor at a concert today, which is being held to celebrate Jagjitji's 71st birth anniversary. Shaan gets chatty with CS:
What: Talks about his love for ghazals and his mentor Jagjit Singh
Where: At his residence
I have shared a very strong bond with Jagjit Singh. Our connection went much beyond just being singers. It was my pleasure to know him as a person as well as a musician. I appreciated his choice of poetry -- very soulful and serene. Though his choice of songs was melancholic, they had depth in them. He kept the poetry real and classy, no matter what. In fact, Jagjitji is partly responsible for my entry into Bollywood music. A Bandra boy, I grew up on English music. I was too young to understand the depth of poetry then, but his music from Arth (1982) just shook me. It was definitely one of the most life changing albums ever. I got hooked on to Hindi classical and semi-classical music. For me, the ultimate ghazal presenters are Jagjitji and Mehendi Hassanji. I love them both.
The guiding light
Apart from getting me to explore Hindi music, he also helped break a prominent myth. Like a lot of newcomers, even I thought that people are born with a certain kind of voice. I thought that voices like Jagjitji's can only be God's gift. When Jagjitji learnt about this, he said that it is not just God's gift, but he had to make the effort to make that gift grow too. He revealed that the voice with which he sang ghazals wasn't his original voice. He stressed on the fact that he created and cultivated that tone for himself. That got me thinking, and I tried doing the same with my voice. I was successful to some extent in changing the way my voice sounded. It was then that I actually started experimenting with my voice, pitch, and tone.
Ghazal in the blood
According to me, ghazals are a way of expressing poetry in a musical way. The genre has nothing to do with singing in a certain way. Each singer has his or her own style of expressing it. For instance, Gulam Ali's voice is very different from that of Pankaj Udhas', but both are popular ghazal singers. Similarly, with my caliber of understanding poetry, maybe some day even I will sing a ghazal! It's in my blood. After all, my father Manas Mukherjee was a very good ghazal composer himself.