Sydney, September 2018: Music Industry is one phenomenal domain. We have seen over night sensations, we have witnessed the popularity bubble bursts and we have also seen many musicians who are talented but do not get to taste the success that they deserve. This industry can create stars, bust the careers, produce youth icons and so on. One of the most unpredictable industries that does not just produce goods or services, it produces feelings and emotions that look to connect with the audiences, viewers and listeners.
Some of the industry giants have been successful because they have been able to understand the viewers choice and have been able to define and redefine themselves. The highlight of these successful stars has been their steady approach, good music, staying true to themselves and of course, adaptability.
Recently, we had a chance to connect with one of the highly popular contemporary pop stars, Pav Dharia. Having followed his career and music, we have seen a steady rise in his popularity. Of course, there was a moment that catapulted his stardom, but behind all the glory is years of hard work and dedication. It is no surprise then, that the music he is creating now, is constantly creating buzz and is highly appreciated by the audiences. We bring to you the excerpts from our discussion as we know more about the man with Midas Touch!
Pav, what took you to music? When was it that, you recall, you decided to take up music as your full time career?
My family is a musical family. Dad was a professional singer early in his life and they’ve always pushed me towards music. No matter what I did, it was always going to be a big part of my life – how big I did not know.
I had moved to Melbourne to pursue a career in aviation in 2012 (to be a pilot). I finished my instructor rating (which allows me to teach other people how to fly a plane) and was looking for work within the industry. Up until this point, it had been an expensive financial exercise to obtain my license but while doing all this I had started to produce music. I had my first paid client and seeing my bank balance increase due to music really changed my perspective on the possibility of making a living from art – which I had never thought was possible.
Thank you Mr. Client, whoever you were, to change Pav’s perspective on music. Had it not been for your contribution to his Bank Account, we wouldn’t have got these beautiful tracks!! 😉
How does Pav Dharia define his music? What is that, you feel, connects the audiences with your music?
My music is an expression of all the good and the bad things I’ve experienced in my life. More deeply I’d say it’s how I’ve been affected emotionally by them. Whether it’s a dance song, a sad song or a sufi song, they all represent events and emotions I’ve felt at a certain time.
I feel my absence of a filter when I write really connects me to my audience – I don’t really think about the music I make in how it’ll place in the market but just do what I feel comes to me and people seem to enjoy that.
And they surely do, there is absolutely no second thoughts on that!!
How tough or easy it is to live in Australia and create Indian Music?
It’s quite easy I’d say. I’ve always been a lone wolf and seem to thrive on my own. Australia being so far away from the rest of the world has actually been a good thing for me.
Your first album Red released in 2013. How was the experience of the journey of composing, producing and releasing the album? What was your biggest fear at that point of time?
My experience on the creative side of things was amazing. I got to work with the most promising singers at that time who funnily enough went onto become a lot bigger over time. I’m quite proud of having worked with these talented individuals and seeing them grow.
The non-creative and financial side of the album was the most negative part for me. Working with labels has been a consistently bad experience for me because I feel they generally suck the soul out of music. RED was an experience that sometimes I think about now and feel somewhat bad because the reward of success of the project wasn’t shared with me as much as I feel it should have been. I am a professional musician, but I’m also a human being with emotion and feelings, and I wish someone at the label had the courtesy to simply give me a call and say “Pav well done, you’ve given us our best-selling album this year….Here’s 20% from the sales of the album even though it wasn’t a part of the contract”. Can you imagine how much more loyalty and appreciation I would have felt? But that’s a part of the journey of becoming a solid musician. You have to experience a lot of negatives so you can understand every aspect of industry and life to become a much more well-rounded individual.
What can we say!! Learning the ropes of Music Industry right at the inception of the career. It can really set you up for a long term!!
Your biggest single so far has been Na Ja. How did life change after the release of this song? Had you ever realised that Na Ja could become as successful as it eventually turned out to be?
My life changed dramatically in a positive way – Na Ja was the one track that finally flipped the coin for me. Prior to Na Ja all I ever saw on my YouTube and social media was “Why don’t you get views….Why are you so underrated”. I felt Na Ja was the turning point at which I proved that I can make not only a commercial song, but the biggest commercial song of the year. All while staying true to the art.
And the biggest HIT it was for the year! And not just the year, it is still in the playlists of the listeners no matter how many times they have heard it. One of the most popular songs in the music industry and by far a superlative music!!
How is a day in life of Pav Dharia now? Does this popularity create any kind of pressure of matching the expectations?
Of course, it does, but it’s also made me realise how superficial this lifestyle really is and I no longer feel pressure to produce “hit” tracks. I wouldn’t say daily life has changed very much at all though.
You have been in music industry for a while now and there is an ever increasing no. of NRIs creating Indian Music. Where do you see this trend coming from and going forward?
The trend is coming from our inherent connection with music no matter where we go. Being Indian also means being heavily invested emotionally in Indian music no matter how old you are. This transfers over to the next generation who want to take the baton and run with it in their own style.
There’s always going to be an international Indian music market and a domestic one. They are two very different beasts because the international Indian music is one that’s a lot more open to creativity due to being surrounded by other cultures. Creatively, not being in India opens artists up to a lot more risky moves so Indian music created overseas will always have a flavour of its own, very different to the domestic creations.
True that, the fusion that has been coming into India from Overseas is refreshing and gives the audiences something different from the usual music that gets created domestically.
Who are the current generation musicians that you like? Who in the past have been your influences and why?
I’m a big fan of the Weeknd and Maroon 5. I really enjoy how they are always able to come up with something unique and timeless with their style especially because they’ve been doing it for such a long time. I also really enjoy Nucleya’s music – I think he’s an amazing producer and hope to see him grow to a level internationally on par with the Scandinavian producers.
I was heavily influenced by Kam Frantic’s and Eren E’s music when I first started music production. I suppose a lot of what I do is, still, to try and imitate their style of production.
We are seeing a huge influx of Punjabi Music. There is a risk of overdose which may end up leading to a fatigue in listening to this genre. What are your thoughts to it?
The market will correct itself when the time comes. I think the overdose is happening already though, when it comes to a very specific type of Punjabi music. I’ve recently heard old Punjabi songs being remade into Bollywood item numbers but I don’t feel justice can ever be done with them unless the original music producers are the ones recreating the tracks. Punjabi music is so much more than just upbeat dancy happy tracks though and as long as the artists within the industry keep innovating and staying true to themselves, it’s unlikely to go away. If anything, I think there’s going to be more of a blend of Punjabi and Hindi in the future, it’s been there since the times of Reshma and Nusrat Feteh Ali Khan – so why would it go away now?
The key here is the kind of music that will be produced going ahead. There is of course, high quality Punjabi music and then there is a lot of music that does not even get heard. We hope to see more acts which can combines the best of Punjabi folk with contemporary styles to create a fusion that does justice to not only the art but also the culture!
You have been collaborating with many artists in your work. Some of those collaborations have worked really well. What, for you, are essential tips for making a collaboration click?
If the personalities click – the collaborations click. Collaborations are all about transparent communication and lack of ego – which is how you describe good friendships.
“Solo” has been continuously making rounds in the industry, courtesy its videos that have come out at a well timed interval. How has been the overall reception that you have received from your fans and critics for Solo? Does Solo derive any of your life experiences in its creation?
SOLO for me is the output of years of work prior to the success of Na Ja. I think I was one of the only artists to put an album out while everyone was doing singles. Then soon after, I saw quite a few more artists do the same. Albums are making a comeback and it was great to be able to put out a big chunk of my music without having to make a video for every single track.
The album itself has been received exceptionally well. At least once every few days I’ll get a message from someone who hears it for the first time and appreciates the spectrum of music within the album. The songs in the album tell a story of different times and events in my life. How? That’s a little riddle I’ll leave for you to solve.
The riddle needs to be solved, so to all our readers, Download SOLO NOW!!
What are your future projects that you are working on? When do we see you touring India?
My future projects are what keep me so excited about life. There are a bunch of collaborations coming this year as well as some singles that I’m very excited about. I’ll definitely be touring India at the end of 2018.
That’s a great news!! The amount of followership that Pav has, the shows are a guaranteed sell out!!
How do you see Music Culture changing in India and beyond? What are the current challenges and opportunities in the industry?
Streaming services have allowed artists to finally be able to make a living from creating music again. A big reason good music died is due to the inability of artists and labels to earn what they would put in to creating songs that weren’t going to be played on a DJ but in a car or in headphones. Streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Saavn etc have allowed people to listen to music while not having to pay a ridiculous amount. I can see sufi and classical music making a comeback again.
I think the biggest challenge music and artists face right now is the inability for us to earn royalties from our music in a fair manner within India. A lot of exploitation happens with young and new artists by record labels which really kills their soul and their urge to make good music. Once independent artist are able to release more of their music on their own and realise the effectiveness of just good quality music we’ll see that exploitation decrease.
There sure is a long way to go for music industry in all forms. Be it the reach of music, the earnings of artists or the versatility of the audiences, the scope to grow is immense. The encouraging part is, the distribution mediums are ever evolving and with technological advances, the artists will only have more avenues to express their creativity. Pav has mentioned and, also, to a large extent, faced the inherent challenges of the industry, but, at the end of it, Talent Prevails! It has prevailed with Pav and it will prevail with other artists too, who stay true to their art. Pav is surely a role model for such artists, a person with immense talent, stardom and humility. More power and success to you, Pav Dharia, keep rocking!!
Article by Vishwa Deepak Dikshit
Photo Credit to Navdeep Saini