Film music hardly producing big singing stars today, says singer Shaan: ‘Arjit Singh was probably the last exponent’

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The Indian music scene is undergoing a change and an artiste today doesn’t have to depend on films to become popular, says singer Shaan. The vocalist, who broke onto the indie pop scene in late 1990s with albums Love-ology and Tanha Dil, said it seems to be the age of rappers or musicians like Guru Randhawa, Neha Kakkar and Badshah. (Also Read: Shaan sings with his son Maahi for the ‘first time ever’, people can’t stop saying how alike they look)

Shaan says music industry today isn't producing great singing stars
Shaan says music industry today isn’t producing great singing stars

Arijit Singh is the “last big exponent” to come from films, he said. “All the big names today in music, they are either rappers or they have their own brand of music styles. Arijit Singh was probably the last big exponent who came in from film music. But a lot of them first got popular doing their own non-film music, like Guru Randhawa, Honey Singh, Badshah, King. But today, film music is hardly giving you the big singing star,” Shaan told PTI in an interview.

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The 51-year-old playback singer, known for film songs Musu Musu Haasi Deu, Woh Ladki Hai Kahan, Chand Sifarish, and Jab Se Tere Naina, said it’s difficult to make fans listen to his non-film music.

“The only thing is that a singer like me, who’s branding has become that of a Bollywood singer, it’s very difficult to get out of that and for people to start listening to my non-film songs. But for others like Neha Kakkar, who came in from social media and then started getting their film songs… Today, it’s changing, a singer doesn’t have to really rely to become popular through film music,” he added.

Shaan also said he feels “underutilised” in Bollywood. “Sadly, in the last 10 to 15 years, I’ve been much underutilised and not been a part of those big Bollywood songs, like I used to be. But at the same time, this could be of help. When you are constantly on a roll, there’s no time to introspect, no time to work on your skills. You tend to keep going with the flow. At some point, you realise you’re becoming mechanical, redundant. So I take this break, this little getaway as a good thing, that I get to work on my skill sets.”

The singer recalled a recent instance when his song from Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki, starring Shah Rukh Khan, was dropped by the makers.

“I was thrilled that I got to sing a Shah Rukh Khan song, but for some reason, it was replaced by another song. So, these things . The song, O Maahi got on to become the popular song of that soundtrack, which is where my song was supposed to be slotted in,” he said.

Instead, Shaan said he got the opportunity to collaborate with renowned percussionist Bickram Ghosh on his latest single Tanhaiyyan. “I sang this beautiful song with Bickram Ghosh da. The music carries on, whether it’s a film or not, and every other day I’m recording a beautiful song.”

Tanhaiyyan, featuring Shaan and Ghosh, is produced under the latter’s music label Eternal Sounds. The singer said his goal is to build a memorable discography. “It’s a legacy that you leave behind, the idea is to keep making good music… that will hopefully transcend time. I’m glad we have Eternal Sounds, the name eternal itself says it all, it means we got to create something that is timeless and not something that people are listening to at clubs, or are dancing to at parties,” he added.

Ghosh described Shaan as a fantastic singer who is in “tremendous” form. “We keep talking and sometimes I vent with him, and a bit of that he does too about what we should do to justify music because music has been under the baton of films for too long. Music should have its own life, and that’s happening today with indie music,” he added.

Singing, regardless of platform, brings him happiness, said Shaan. “For a singer, the biggest thrill is when you are behind the mic creating music. Nothing excites me more than that. I’m getting opportunities to do that a dime a dozen. So, I’m happy about it. That childlike passion and excitement, that fire in the belly is now more than ever before.”

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