Music and lyrics

Updated: 07 August, 2020 09:39 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A popular singer has launched his first Hindi EP, and he tells us why he chose the language

Nikhil D'Souza
Nikhil D'Souza

There are no two ways about this. Indian independent musicians who sing in Hindi — or even a regional language — stand a much better chance of gaining more fans than those who sing in English. This doesn't have as much to do with their musicianship as it does with the connect they can build with the listener thanks to the lyrics.

Hindi is the opium of the masses. But English is still largely the language of aspiration.

Nikhil D'Souza admits this. The singer-songwriter had released a track called People in May, and then launched a Hindi reprise soon after. The latter had four times the number of listeners. "And that's not even a true reflection of the figures, because the English version piggy-backed on the Hindi one to get more views," D'Souza tells us, adding that that's when he decided to release his debut Hindi EP, Waqt, which he'll play live from Khar's Island City Studios this evening.

But the concept note for the event on its ticketing platform says that the musician was earlier averse to the idea of online concerts. Why is that, we ask him. He tells us that there are two reasons. D'Souza says, "It was obvious from the first few shows that the sound quality was usually atrocious. It wasn't ever going to be a rewarding experience when compared to actual live gigs. Secondly, people started getting this perception that music is free. There were so many artistes who were playing for no money that people started assuming that this is the rule rather than an exception. So, I didn't want to bring the market down by joining them."

That's why this evening's gig has a Rs 499 price tag. The money will get you 40 minutes of music being played in a state-of-the-art environment, so that listeners don't feel shortchanged. D'Souza will play all the four songs in Waqt, apart from a few of his popular singles and possibly some of his Bollywood tracks thrown in. It's going to be a mainly vernacular affair, in that case. But D'Souza also tells us that if he does play People, he'll perform the English version to mix things up, meaning he won't be completely abandoning his roots.

On Tonight, 8 pm
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Cost Rs 499

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First Published: 07 August, 2020 07:29 IST

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