Shaan | The singer, who made his debut with superhit album Naujawan, speaks with Supriya Ramesh about his latest track Tanha Dil Tanha Safar, importance of mental health awareness and his journey among other things
What is Tanha Dil about?
It is about a first person's experience and journey through depression. How he has to fight it and how he has to overcome it. It's in a beautiful song format.
When and why did you start working on this track?
The thought of creating a song on mental health has been on my mind for 2-3 years. With the original Tanha Dil completing 20 years, somewhere I felt like maybe we can connect these two dots and create something beautiful that will have a strong message as well as a strong melody.
How important do you think it is to spread Mental Health Awareness?
I think in this age and time the message of mental health awareness is extremely important. While all of us are putting a lot of time and effort to keep ourselves physically strong, we don't tend to be doing the same to keep our mental wellbeing. Because of which the stress, anxiety levels, pollution around in our minds is definitely deteriorating our mental health. We have to be aware of it and take care of our mental health. To add to it, there is a stigma where people don't talk about this and it's very important for us to talk about it and be more patient with people who are going through mental health issue. To be able to understand them, accept them and help them get better.
Why has this version come after 20 years?
The fact that I made this song after 20 years is probably because you have to live your life that much to understand what these issues are. I have gone through a personal situation with mental health, which is in the last couple years now. Which is why it was just coincidental that I thought I should make a song on mental health. I have called it Tanha Dil Tanha Safar only because the phrase goes very well with my song.
Tell us about your journey as a singer.
My journey as a singer has been very enjoyable and a lot of fun. I have been able to explore different kinds of music as a singer, composer, lyricist. I probably have done the most music videos any Indian artist has and lot of collaborations with Bollywood, non-Bollywood, different genres. It's been a lot of fun and I believe that the party has just begun.
You have also hosted shows. How do you find hosting?
Yes, I started as a television host many years ago. Since 1996 I have been hosting a lot of shows almost till 2010. It used to be a lot of fun but very strenuous. It would take a toll on my throat too so I had to ease off from hosting. Sometimes I do hosting as Its something I really enjoy doing.
How tough is to judge and decide a winner?
It's very tough to judge, and to decide a winner because music is such a subject. It's not like everyone runs and reaches the finish line earliest. It's subjective like someone likes somebody's singing. Someone else might like somebody else's singing. To come to a unanimous decision is always difficult. As along as you do it with a lot of integrity and do it with all your heart, patience and Passion, you will more or less reach the right decision. And you have to trust your instincts.
You have acted and sung for movies in different languages. How many languages do you know? And how do you overcome the language barrier if any?
Honestly, I know Bengali, Hindi, English, Marathi and I can understand Gujarati to some extent. But beyond that no other language. Yes I have sung in 20 odd languages. It's easy these days because you can prepare plans, there are supervisors and you don't have to sing the entire thing in a go. You can do it line by line as long as you get the pronunciation right.
What is your favourite genre and why?
I don't have a favourite genre of music but I think song and lyrics that merge beautifully and there is something original and fresh about the song, I love it. It could be a dance track, love song, ghazal, it doesn't matter but it's got to make a good marriage of music, lyric and mood.
Any song which is very close to your heart?
That's a difficult question to answer. Too many songs to mention any one that's close to my heart.
What are your upcoming projects?
Among upcoming projects, there will be more songs coming up in my Shaan music label. I'm in talks to be part of more television shows. Looking to explore new avenues like acting and composing more for film projects. It's good and I'm happy to be excited about it.