Dropping the viral beat

Updated: Jul 15, 2020, 12:54 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

Whether it's a Ritviz track or PM Modi's speech, city-based musician Anshuman Sharma has a knack for making catchy, viral remixes to leave people laughing

Anshuman Sharma covering Jacob Collier's piano solo
Anshuman Sharma covering Jacob Collier's piano solo

A fair chunk of Anshuman Sharma's repertoire features the keyboard. And over a call from his Delhi home, where he's currently spending time during the lockdown, he tells us that he can play the guitar and ukulele, too. Then, he pauses to add, "But I'm very mediocre." At the time of writing this article, the reticent musician-producer's video on how to make a Ritviz song in two minutes had over 1.7 million views on Instagram and over 42K likes on Twitter. There's singer Prakriti Kakkar who's commented, "I want this track on my phone plz," Tanmay Bhat, who tagging Ritviz, simply pointed out the accuracy, and Ritviz who himself retweeted the video to concur that it was "on point."

The two-minute tutorial is the perfect Ritviz recipe ­— you start by picking an environment-friendly word like "baarish" or "roshni" and conclude by getting inspired by South Indian marriage songs. The idea itself, unlike the production, isn't entirely original, Sharma tells us; many YouTube channels including most-famously Composerily have latched on to it. The 24-year-old didn't really follow Ritviz's music, barring a couple songs. What prompted him to work on this project, though, was the fact that a follower, referencing one of his earlier videos, commented how his style matched Ritviz's. "This wasn't just a two-minute thing. I took a couple of days to work on it," Sharma maintains.

Playing Ramin Djawadi's Game of Thrones theme on the seaboard
Playing Ramin Djawadi's Game of Thrones theme on the seaboard

When he was eight, Sharma ventured into Indian classical music on his dad's insistence. His foray into Western music was natural, by ear. His first Internet breakthrough occurred last year when he played Ramin Djawadi's Game of Thrones theme but adapted it to the style of different musicians from Drake to Skrillex and genres every four seconds. It's what landed him an opportunity to work with composers Salim-Sulaiman last September and shift base to Mumbai. "Previously, I only stuck to the keyboard but they made my music better, introducing me to software," he shares.

Apart from covers, Sharma infuses current affairs into remixes, too — he's made a track referencing Union Minister Ramdas Athawale's "Go Corona Go", Divyangna Trivedi's anti-feminist video and PM Modi's Aatmanirbhar Bharat speech. And his approach stems from music itself; he doesn't particularly set out to make a remix related to an issue just because the issue is trending. For instance, with Trivedi's rant, part one of which also has over a million views on Instagram, it was the tone of her voice that inspired the track — a certain musicality associated with the way she said "nai."

Ritviz
Ritviz

Sharma certainly didn't anticipate the response he's gotten so far and hopes to put out more remixes, soon. "I have a couple of them in mind that are to do with current issues but I'll be releasing originals, too. I like to complete stuff at one go," he shares. At a time when there is a dire need of excitement and laughter, Sharma is happy to make people smile. "I just read one message that said, 'My whole existence laughed at your video.' That's what I want."

Log on to @anshuman.sharma1 on Instagram

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