When at the tender age of one, children learn to speak; Sooraj Bishnoi learnt the language of music as he began playing keyboards. At six, he started learning guitar and piano. Sooraj garnered recognition with his debut song Nemesis. He is inspired by the work of Mozart, Indian Raagas, and the Beatles, etc. At 24, he is a singer, 8th-grade Keyboardist, songwriter, music arranger, composer, and instrumentalist. Bishnoi is possibly the youngest 8th Grade guitarist from the Trinity College of London. In an exclusive interview with Music Beat, the Mumbai guy, who moved to Los Angeles to further pursue his musical career, talks about his journey, his songs, genre and music compositions; idols, crowd-funding, and more!
A singer, Keyboardist, songwriter, composer, music arranger, and instrumentalist; when did this multi-faceted journey of yours already start?
I’ve been into music for long as I can remember. I started out singing and playing the keyboard at the age of one and a half, passed my Grade 8 from Trinity College London in keyboards at age six, and picked up various musical instruments, songwriting, and production from then on. So music was the first language I ever learned, and the first identity I had.
How do you manage to juggle between your different skills? Do you get bored doing any?
I’ve always believed that you find the time to do the things you love the most. And so far, I’ve been on track with that. Sooner or later, things always work out. And if I was bored with any, I wouldn’t do them!
What or who is your inspiration?
My inspiration derives from my parents, who have nurtured me and gotten me through this journey and exposed and encouraged me to try new things all the time. My inspiration is everyone who I work with, and learn so much from. When doing music, you find inspiration all around you - it only takes a little open-mindedness to see it.
Indian Raagas to Mozart, John Mayer, and Beatles are a part of your varied musical journey. Can you tell us about their influence on your work?
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to listen to and meet several great Indian artists in person at a young age - including Ustaad Allah Rakha, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Birju Maharaj, Kadri Gopal Nath, and others. Their music and their blessings have played a profound role in my musical journey. On the other side, I’ve heard the greats of Western classical music such as Mozart and Beethoven played by some of the best orchestras in the world, in my hometown Mumbai with maestros such as Zubin Mehta. And of course, I love The Beatles, and John Mayer, and Porcupine Tree, and Ella Fitzgerald, and several other types of contemporary music. All of these play a huge role in defining my style and my approach to music as both a songwriter and a producer.
If you had to define your style of music-making what it would be called?
Your debut single was ‘Nemesis’. Can you tell us about it more?
Nemesis is like an anti-love song, and it’s a song that I think I’m known the best for, to date. It’s a contrast of sorts - a groovy, catchy melody with very stern lyrics. The music video was shot by Anand Kamath of Pop-It Productions, based in Thane, India, and was a completely different twist on what I originally meant the song to be about!
‘City Beat’ is your crowd-sourced music video. First, let’s talk about the song, which is in your city – Mumbai
I wanted to capture the pace and the attitude of Mumbai, which I experienced throughout my life, in City Beat. Right from the drumbeat, mimicking the rhythm a local train, to the lyrics talking about various visuals of the city, this song stemmed from the emotion that I felt when I was set to leave Mumbai to study abroad.
Can you shed light on how crowd-sourcing can be used by musicians, singers, or any other