Zarir Warden interview: Musician talks about pop music

Updated: Jan 11, 2019, 10:43 IST | Shunashir Sen

Mumbai-based band ONEmpire's Zarir Warden opens up about pop music and Shine a Light, their debut single, ahead of a gig

Zarir Warden interview: Musician talks about pop music
(From left) ONEmpire members Atish Thomas, Zarir Warden, Loy Henriques, Gavin Cason and Garth D'Mello

Tell us about the day that you were the opening act for US pop giant OneRepublic.
We are all actually massive fans of OneRepublic and they are a huge inspiration for us with regard to our songwriting and composition process. We were lucky enough to even be there through their set-up and sound check. Honestly, all the members in that band are supremely talented. Each one plays various instruments, most of them sing and back up Ryan Tedder on vocals, and even during the show, they are just fantastic performers and really know how to keep the audience engaged. So it was overall a huge learning experience and a special day.

How would you say pop music has evolved since, say, Michael Jackson passed away in 2009? What would you define as ‘pop music’ today?
I think that music in general has evolved a lot. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of it to be honest, but there are certain artistes I follow very closely who are in the pop-rock and pop-RnB space, like James Bay, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, OneRepublic, etc. I think Michael Jackson showed us the value of “music production” way before most others knew what was out there and I think there are a lot of pop artistes today, especially the likes of Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake, who are carrying that forward and trying to “create” a new sound or evolving sound, so to speak, that works with audiences today.

What would you say is the ethos of Shine a Light?
It is our first single and it basically speaks about being in a tough spot or a dark place. And as the saying goes, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what Shine a Light is all about. You might be in a tough spot, but there’s always that light somewhere around, the light that signifies positivity. You just have to make an effort to find it and then as you move towards it, it gets bigger and brighter and things in your life start to turn for the better and become more positive.

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