Entertainment News | Being an Indian, making niche music, winning a Grammy was an unattainable dream: Ricky Kej


Mumbai, April 5 (PTI) Amid the flood of congratulatory messages and phone calls, music composer Ricky Kej says he barely had time to realize that his “once elusive dream” of winning a Grammy Award became a reality for the second time.

The Bengaluru-based musician won the Grammy for Best New Album for “Divine Tides” on Sunday in Las Vegas.

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What made the win even more special was that he shared it with rock legend Stewart Copeland, drummer for iconic band The Police. Copeland collaborated with Kej on the album and happens to be a childhood idol for the composer.

In an interview with PTI on Zoom from Las Vegas, Kej said his last 24 hours had been a flurry of media interactions, red carpet events and basking in the “surreal” glory of winning the “biggest musical distinction that one can imagine”. .

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“I won my first Grammy when I was 33, I’m 40 now. The Grammys have always been an unattainable dream, I didn’t even think about it. It felt like it wasn’t possible, me being a person from India, living in India, doing niche music in the country, I didn’t even think about it, because it was just impossible.

“Then when I won I thought what is my goal now? I never had any long term plans. Today when I won my second it’s surreal, I don’t I haven’t understood yet.”

Kej, who was born in North Carolina in the United States and moved to Bengaluru at the age of eight, got into music at an early age.

Although he was always fascinated by music, his education at the Bishop Cotton Boys School in Bengaluru boosted his drive when he saw his friends playing the guitar.

Kej enrolled in college to study dentistry and simultaneously received formal training in Western and Indian classical music.

“My parents were furious that I wanted to be a musician, I made a deal with them to finish my degree in dental surgery, and they wouldn’t question my life choices. I finished the five-year degree and I decided not to practice for one day.”

Reflecting on his journey, Kej said winning his second Grammy “feels different” because he not only “matured” as a musician, but also worked with Copeland, his “childhood idol. “.

“It was the greatest musical experience of my life. He shaped my music with his work. To then be with him on the same stage, collecting our Grammys, there are no words to describe what I felt,” he added.

Kej was keen on doing a sequel to his 2015 Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samsara,” but never found the time because of his “relentless touring schedules.”

In 2019 alone, he gave more than 70 concerts in 13 countries.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Kej was given the opportunity to focus on recording, and so “Divine Tides” was born. The album contains nine songs.

The album lasted about a year, with Copeland and Kej virtually sending each other files and making multiple Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp calls.

Kej even changed his sleep cycle to match the 69-year-old legend. The duo finally met a week before the Grammys.

The musician was joined on the call by Naveen Manoharan, Digital Head, Lahari Music, the album’s executive producers.

Manoharan said the big win had “overwhelmed” the team who were convinced at the creative stage themselves that the album would cause a stir.

“Ricky and Stewart sir worked extremely hard on the album. Ours was, in that sense, a tiny part. Ricky sir is like family, as soon as he told us the idea we immediately said yes. It has us extremely excited. We are really delighted, humbled by this victory,” he added.

For Kej, his music is “all about environmental awareness” and his latest album only reinforces his urgency to compose songs about the world.

“It’s the only kind of music I make, that’s why I don’t make mainstream Bollywood or pop music. Every piece of music should be an extension of my beliefs, my ideology, the things I want to communicate.”

Kej said his mission is to raise environmental awareness and try to bring about behavioral change through his music.

“You can give a thousand speeches, present a ton of scientific data, but what it takes is to speak to people with emotion. That can only be done through art… My music is not not mainstream, but she has a niche and quality audience…

“I know I haven’t reached every audience that would enjoy my music, but the challenge is reaching those new audiences with each of my new works. The Grammys are the biggest platform imaginable. , so it will definitely allow people to discover my music”, he added.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from syndicated newsfeed, LatestLY staff may not have edited or edited the body of the content)

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