DJ Zaeden wants the world to tune in to pop music

Updated: Sep 22, 2019, 08:14 IST | Aastha Atray Banan | Mumbai

At Tomorrowland, everyone sang along with his song, Tere Bina. Now, DJ Zaeden wants to make the whole world tune in

DJ Zaeden
DJ Zaeden

When you hear singer-songwriter and DJ Zaeden's Tere Bina, the whistle melody has a way of getting stuck in your head. It's no wonder then, that when he played it at Tomorrowland in Belgium in July, people sang it back to him. "It was my third time there, and the first time I was singing my own song, that too in Hindi. So, I was super nervous. But then the main act on my stage was J Balvin, one of the world's biggest artistes, and he is Spanish. So that gave me confidence. In the end, music has no language. When people responded the way they did, well, that's a memory I will carry with me forever." He even got to chill with Balvin, who is even bigger than Ed Sheeran on Spotify, later at the artiste village, and spoke to him about a dream of his. "I really want to make a song with him. So, now, I am working on a project to him!"

Zaeden, aka Sahil Sharma, shot to limelight with his official remix of Coldplay's Magic in 2014, which secured the top 10 spot in over 15 countries. The Gurugram boy followed that up with remixes of songs like Maroon 5's Animals, and got himself noticed by Music All Star Publishing (Spinnin Records) and became the first Indian—the youngest at that—to sign a three-year deal with them. It's only been five years since he started, but at 24, Zeaden is one of the hot DJs in the country. Still, his journey has had its own ups and downs, especially at a time when you are only as good as your last release.

For Tera Bina, which is making the waves in India now, he says, "I took a year to learn singing, and dancing, and so didn't have a release out then. And fans always want music, and so it's a lot of pressure. But I really wanted this song [Tere Bina] to be perfect, so I had to take that kind of time on it. That was a low year [in 2018]." Zaeden who has been DJing since 2014 says the process ensured that he was able to do little work last year.

As far as his songwriting process goes, Zaeden says it's always happening inside his head, and his phone is full of voice notes of melodies that have been running through his head. It was in Delhi last year (where he stays with his parents) that the whistle melody from Tere Bina came to him. He sat down in the mini studio at his Delhi home, and put down the song right away. "It took 15 minutes to know what the song would sound like," says Zaeden, who then got lyricist Kunaal Verma to give the words to match his vibe. "The response to the song has given me enough confidence to release my next five songs, the first of which comes out in two months and is a collaboration with one of the biggest pop stars ever." Along with making a song with J Balvin, the young DJ has his sights on another lofty ambition, "There is no one really doing pop, and that space for an Indian popstar lies empty. I want to be that."

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