Recently, I found this Indie Music Composer, Lyricist, Singer, YouTuber, Rahul Gautam. Rahul is an independent artist and is trying to establish a niche for himself in the big bad world of music. What fascinated me was that he is very optimistic about his passion and his future. When I interviewed him, he shared some problems that newbies like him face while giving vent to his passion.
When did the music bug bite you?
I was born and brought up in a small village of Haryana and I knew only a few songs that I heard on the radio. The music on the radio (our neighbor had the radio) and 2 national channels on TV were the only sources of music. But finally, when I was 12 years old, my father bought a cable TV connection and now that I had more than many music channels of all genres; the music bugs just bite me right then in my mind. And I became addicted to music, especially to western English music. I hardly understood any word of English songs, but that urged me to learn and understand pushed me more into music.
How do you plan to sell your songs?
To be honest, I really have no idea of that. I won’t say that I want to sell my lyrics to make money only. If a band or an individual comes up to me and asks for lyrics for their projects, I would be more than happy to contribute what I have. It’s just that art shouldn’t get wasted for one reason or another. I don’t need money for it; a little appreciation will be fine.
Is the freeway on the net the only option for newbies like you?
Precisely and if one has a lot of money, he/she can enroll in academies run by big music labels across the country. The problem is that artists don’t get to know how they can earn a living out of their talent. The raw talent is just out there, lying here and there with no specific direction to go to. Though one can earn money by performing at events and clubs, they won’t let you in unless you’re famous or have a God Father. You just post your video on the internet and wait for it to go viral. That’s all you can do.
You post your songs on YouTube. Does it help?
Yes, it does. It feeds my mind that, at least, at some place, my music is out. YouTube is a great platform, there’s no doubt in that. But, have you ever stopped to think that some stupid things get viral within minutes and the people who perform the real art keep waiting for someone to admire them. People hesitate to share the art of someone, who is struggling but, feel proud to share stupid things because it feeds their ego to laugh at someone or something. There’s a misconception that you can earn enough to survive by YouTube, but that’s the half-truth. There’s a lot of money that goes into earn money out of YouTube.
Do you sing at events and concerts or any such places (pubs or discos)?
If an artist gets to perform on stage in front of an audience, then it’s no less than a dream come true. I wanted to sing at events/concerts/pubs/discos but the harsh truth is they won’t even let me in with my original music. If you sing the covers of the Bollywood songs then you might get a chance, but a big “NO” for original ones. I’ve been to such clubs but never seen anybody performing their original music excepting the famous ones.
Same is with the industry, just look at the songs coming out these days, they aren’t originals. Either they are remakes or as they say “Inspired” but, there’s a difference between “copying” and “getting inspired” and that they need to understand. India is a big market for international artists but on the other hand, our own people are struggling (wish I knew a bigger word than struggling to sum this thing up). I know a few artists, who are just brilliant; no less than prodigies of music, but they end up not getting work and have to push themselves into other things. They didn’t leave music but left the idea of making a living out of it.
How serious are you about music?
As serious as I am about breathing. I wrote my first song when I was in 7th grade (I still have that one song with me) and from that very day I knew what I have to do with my life. After completing my school education (10th grade), I bought an android phone with my savings and I was so happy about it but after 3-4 days of purchasing it, I sold my phone and went to a studio for recordings. And I got looted there. Yeah, it was fun though. I have more than 500 songs, which I wrote on my own. But, all that is in cold storage because there’s so much heat outside.
Do you get time to work on your new songs, post your work as a PR?
We really have time for nothing, but we have to make time for everything. :D Yes, I do keep writing lyrics regularly and make music. When I’m home I write it on paper and when I’m not at home I write and save lyrics on my phone. But, I’ll leave this corporate world eventually because I don’t get enough time to do music. I know it’s a big risk but, it’s worth taking.
What would you suggest for better earning opportunities for people with a passion for music like you? Because I feel, your works need to be appreciated through monetization as well.
I would say that don’t put earning on the priority. Just keep showcasing your art on the internet and the people around you. Don’t stop for anything. But, keep looking for the opportunities, be blunt about it. If you get to perform somewhere big place or small, do it. If you want to perform somewhere, ask them. Bring uniformity in showcasing your art; don’t take long breaks in between. Do not rely on the YouTube-only; go to open mikes or anything that takes you closer to what you want to do. At some point, when you and your art will get the recognition, the money will pour in. Money shouldn’t be the motivation if you are an artist, go for something bigger than that and a true artist knows what it is.