Raghav Sachar is one of the rising talents of the Indian music industry and it seems that there is no end to his versatility. He not only solely composes and arranges his songs, he also plays and sings on them as well. He made his debut in Hindi film music with Yash Raj Film’s Kabul Express and continued to make a mark with One Two Three, featuring the excellent tracks ‘Gup Shup’ and ‘Rock Mahi’, followed by the wonderful ‘Rang’ on the recent release Haal E Dil. Prior to debuting as a composer in films, Raghav delivered three immensely successful independent albums which included some of the top singers of Bollywood today including Kunal Ganjawala and Sunidhi Chauhan. The first of his independent albums was For The First Time followed by 24 Carat and the recently released Play It Loud. Known as the first multi-instrumental pop star of India, his is a unique sound that is fusion of many different styles with the influence of many different types of world music. You’ve heard his notes, you’ve heard his voice; now meet the musician himself in our exclusive interview.
You began training at such a young age. Do you remember what it first felt like to pick up a musical instrument?
My first instrument was the Harmonica at the age of 4. I still remember that first song I played on it was ‘Hai Apana Dil To Aawara’. One of my favorite tracks till date… after that there was no stopping me.
You’re well known for predominantly playing the flute and saxophone, why these two instruments from all the different ones you were introduced to as a child?
As a child I was very fascinated by the saxophone and the flute. They are extremely difficult instruments and I ended up doing my bachelor of music specializing in saxophone and flute. They are also more universal as instruments so they get used more often in my songs.
You studied music in one of the top universities in Australia, Monarsh, how was that experience?
Australia was one of the best experiences in my life as it taught me a lot. I got a chance to excel in what I love and become independent. I grew as a person and a musician. Wish I could relive all that. Beautiful country and wonderful people.
Do you think being extensively exposed to both Western and Indian music and studying music in a foreign country has been a contributing factor in enabling you to bring something unique to Indian music?
Studying abroad was the best decision of my life. It gave me a lot of self-confidence and the belief that I can make a difference. The edge that I have over other music directors is the fact that I play a variety of instruments and that I have specialized in Jazz, which is the most difficult form of music. Having said that, my roots are still Indian and I have always loved fusion music, which is what I am creating. Since I have not limited myself to only Indian and western music and branched out into Indonesian, Japanese African etc. styles of music, I would call my sound Cultural Amalgamation.
Your style of music is something that is very fresh and unique to the Indian music industry and you’ve also been branded as the first multi-instrumental pop-star of India, how does this title feel and did you always want to explore such depths and boundaries of Indian music?
Well, I am very happy that I am termed as the first multi-instrumentalist pop star. It makes me stand out from the rest of the singers, musicians and instrumentalists. My aim has always been to give something different to my audiences and I take extra measures to do so. The reason why I am able to create a different sound is because I do everything myself. From the start of a composition to the arrangements, programming, live instrumentation, vocals and then finally mixing is all done by me personally. This way I can be in control of my sound and create something unique in the process.
How does it feel to go from being a musician in a Yash Raj movie to a being the solo composer for the Yash Raj film Kabul Express, that too for a release that went on to be so internationally recognized?
I am very grateful to the Yash Raj Camp for giving me an opportunity to do Kabul Express. It was a treat to work with Kabir Khan and Adi Chopra. Kabul Express gave me a lot of exposure in the film industry and because of it I received a lot of recognition and further assignments from various production houses.
A range of artists have contributed to your album 24 Carat, which one of them did you enjoy most working with and why?
I really enjoyed working with all of them as they are all close friends and they encouraged me a lot to get into singing. But one person who really pushed me and guided me was Sunidhi Chauhan. We have a lot of mutual respect for each other’s work and are very close friends as well. When both of us are together for a recording then it is a laugh riot.
Who is your favourite composer today? Your favourite yesteryear’s composer?
My favourite composer in today’s time would definitely be A.R. Rahman because every time he does something different and manages to pull it off effortlessly. My all time favorite composer is R. D. Burman; he was way ahead of his time and was a great asset to our industry.
Among your contemporaries both female and male whom do you find the most impressive and why?
I think Salim and Suleman are great at their work and more over they are great people and close friends. They make intelligent music. Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan are brilliant at their work as well cause of their versatility and dedication towards their work.
According to you what is your best work till date, be it lyrically or musically?
I think my best work is yet to come. I am growing as a musician and a composer as years and films pass by and I know that there is a lot more inside me that I can exploit. However, I am very proud of Kabul Express and will always cherish it cause it was my first film and there was a different kind of madness that I felt at that time.
From your three albums For the First Time 24 carat and the recent release Play It Loud which is your favourite and why?
My favorite would be a very difficult choice cause they are all very different from each other. I have a soft spot for my first album cause it was my first step in the industry and it was very true to my heart. I was not exposed to the industry and I did whatever I felt was right. It was a very virgin album and way ahead of its time.
What has been the best compliment you have ever received?
Best compliment was by a lady in Singapore after one of my shows. “You are God’s own child and you must be very close to him, for him to have given you so much talent.”
You’ve appeared in many of your music videos any plans to do a full fledged film in the near future?
I love the camera and really enjoy shooting. I am currently doing a film with Mr. Kabeer Sadanand. I am paired opposite Anjana Sukhani. The film is Called Tum Milo To Sahi and my character is Raghav Sachar. I am playing myself… am also hearing some more scripts and hopefully will sign a full film sometime in the near future.
If you were not a musician, what else could you imagine yourself doing?
If not a musician then I would have been in Sports. Probably a golfer because I love it and am pretty decent at it. Unfortunately I don’t get enough time to play in Bombay because of the hectic schedules and besides Bombay does not have too many courses.
What is a great song to you?
A great song is one, which touches your soul. It should have variations and meaning behind each and every note. It should also be dynamically different and the instrumentation, if used well, is icing on the cake.
Where do you see Indian music going? Do you like the quality of music that is produced today?
I think Indian music has come up to a great high. With more movies coming along there is scope of younger people to enter the market who are well versed with technology and the new age sound and can put it to great effect. It is sure to go on and rise much higher in the coming years.
What are you working on now?
I have just completed working on Daddy Cool, Loot and Tum Milo To Sahi. Am currently working on my next film called Goonj which is a Vikram Bhatt Production.
We certainly look forward to hearing more of Mr. Sachar’s fantastic arrangements and songs. He has brought a new sound to Indian music and has left fans in awe of his talent. We wish him the best of luck in all his future projects and that he will continue to hit the right chords with audiences.