After spending 13 years as the MD and CEO of 94.3 Radio One, Vineet Singh Hukmani chose to listen to his true calling and established a music career that has world radio charts taking note of! A sound engineer and a Harvard pass out, Vineet worked on a 9-5 job and made music on weekends, This lead to his company ‘Great.Song World’ and a music band ‘AVNI VIR VINEET’ which has his 14-year-old twins Avni and Vir on board with him. In 2019, he began understanding what sells on global radio charts with the help of his Grammy Jury members. His single Dreamin’ Out Loud made you the first and the only Indian artists topping the International radio charts in 2021. On the occasion of his latest single, Jab The World that aims to eradicate hate from the world, singer, musician Vineet talks about the song, types of genres he works on, explains the importance of making music that sells on world radio charts, and more! Check out his exclusive interview with Music Beat! Can you tell us about your topical single ‘Jab The World’ and the idea behind it? Would you say that it belongs to the pop genre or some other? Jab the world is an optimistic song that imagines a scenario where there is a vaccine to cure ‘hate’ and negativity in the world. So while the vaccine for Covid makes us optimistic, there is no harm in being even more optimistic about the world being in harmony. When one is happy and optimistic, there is an urge to dance. The song has a ‘dance rock’ vibe to be exact. However, in global radio parlance, the song comes under the ‘modern rock’ genre. Is there any particular reason behind releasing your song on the National Vaccination Day? The national vaccine day is a day to celebrate the ‘biological’ vaccine and every day is a day to celebrate or hope for an emotional vaccine. It was not planned that way but it is a happy coincidence. I am glad that the song gave me an opportunity to be able to express respect for all the people who have worked so hard to progress from ‘lab to jab’ and give us all hope. A special day indeed! When it comes to your music career, can you take us through when did start and what made you choose singing after becoming an electronics engineer and a Harvard pass out? ‘Singh’ is my middle name so it comes naturally to me. I have always been a multi-tasker. Right from my engineering, to being CEO of companies, to being a Harvard Alumnus, my singing has always continued. I started to take the ‘global music scene’ seriously only in 2019 and then with the advice of a few Grammy award jury members, a few musicians and some very knowledgeable people in radio business, I decided to take my music to radio stations in the US, Europe and other countries. What I have learnt has helped my music become truly global and has helped me reach the number one position on the best radio charts worldwide. When you compete with the best, you become better and better and I am happy I can do that! Your music is inspired by synth-pop and classic rock. Is there any story or reason behind this? Well, I am very flexible when it comes to any genre as long as it is mainstream. I make music that targets a certain radio station format/genre in the US and Europe and the audience that listens to those genre stations. Last year I learnt that ‘Contemporary Pop 40 radio’ is where all the action is and I had to design songs that fit in there. I have also produced songs for ‘Adult Contemporary Radio’ and for ‘Rock Radio’. Segmenting one’s music is a good idea as it is easy to promote then. Well-promoted music results in better music royalty earnings and also helps to secure sync placement. My global agent Martin Langford has helped me understand this clearly and this year I aim to target music to ‘Hip Hop Radio’ and ‘Latino Pop’ in the large global music markets. Your 2021 release ‘Dreamin’ Out Loud’ made you the first and the only Indian artists topping the International radio charts in 2021. How proud does it make you feel? There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the Indian flag on top of those charts. There is so much misconception about Indian artists trying to get mainstream in the US and Europe. Last year My song Mask was submitted in consideration for a Grammy by renowned Grammy Jury member Mr. Stephen Wrench. This year began with Dreamin’ Out Loud a song I truly felt special about being number 1 on both the European top 100 and the World Radio Charts. There was no other Indian act in the top 20 in 2021 but that must change as Indian musicians have so much quality to offer. Continuing on that line of thought, I have found a company – Great.Song World and I am happy to help anyone looking to make quality music that the world can hear! Has this achievement opened doors of music collaboration opportunities in India? Collaboration is about a mindset. Both music partners need to be on the same page. I am always open to working with anyone who is happy to be mainstream and works at the super-fast pace that the world situation demands. The country or origin of the musician does not matter as long as the song is in a ‘focused genre’ and is promoted in a way to help both artists exponentially. My agent is exploring collaborations with a few established US-based acts, lets see where it goes. In Asia, I’d love to collaborate with musicians I respect like Thermal & A Quarter, Lesle Lewis, Rohan Solomon, Suraj Mani, Druv Kent, Jasmine Bharucha , Mali, Parikrama. They are all world-class! You have also founded Radio One. How do you manage these multiple roles as you also own a band AVNI VIR VINEET? I have had two parallel concurrent paths, professional, the 9-5 job, and music on weekends. My last foray was MD and CEO of 94.3 Radio One, a position I held for almost 13 years before we sold it to the Hindustan Times Group. Now I run ‘GreatSong.World’ as founder CEO Monday to Thursday and Fri – Sun, I make music of my own. My twin kids Avni (Avni Hukmani) and Vir (Vir Singh Hukmani) who are 14 are learning to be better musicians every day and in two years, we have done four songs under the band name ‘Avni Vir Vineet’. This band helps educate my kids on what it takes to produce quality music and balance their study and music life. Their tastes are ‘super young’ and I learn a lot from them about the latest ‘future pop’ acts. You have also released the single ‘Can I Go Now’ in February 2021 with your band. Could you tell us more about it? Yes, this was a song by Avni Vir Vineet. My kids attend online classes like every other kid and while talking to them one day, they told me that they feel like running away from online classes and tests. So Can I Go Now was born from that revelation. It is a simple but catchy colloquially expressed song about how teenagers yearn to run away from the mundane-ness of online classes and chill with their friends! The song topped the European Top 100 and is currently number 9 on the World Radio Charts. This is the first song that I have done in the ‘future pop’ genre and I have learnt so much of what the ‘current’ sound design needs to be. We found that your songs have a relatable angle on ongoing issues. What next issue, or topic would you choose for your next song? My songs are about you and me and so they are designed to connect. Musically and lyrically radio stations expect songs that have a repeat listening value. None of the songs are heavy or preachy or ‘indie’. It’s all mainstream fun music designed to make people listen again and again. If you had to define pop music, what would you say? Pop is short for ‘Popular’ in world parlance. It means you are ‘centered’ and ‘mass’. It means the music has to be young and for everyone. If you move to a slightly older age group you get ‘Adult Contemporary’ and when you move to a more focussed genre you get ‘Rock’ or ‘Country’ or ‘Hip-Hop’. ‘Pop’ to me means to have to ‘pop out’ with something new, quick and it’s like chewing gum, enjoyed by many, quickly forgotten by many! However, Pop is the fastest way to be recognized and then it allows you to freely move to other genres. Pop teaches you flexibility! What other projects are you working on? My friends call me the ‘mini music factory’. I have to release a single every 45 days as per the agreement with my agent. I am working on four songs simultaneously right now, all in different genres to expand my reach into radio stations of different genres. They have to make financial sense both to me and my agent. I will surely keep you and your readers posted as they come close to completion. Any message to the fans on the day when you released the track ‘Jab The World’? There is ‘hope’ in that vial. Go take the Jab. Help the world become ‘immune’ to not only Covid but also inject yourself with positive energy which will make you immune to hate!