Composer-singer Clinton Cerejo, a regular collaborator with music maestro A.R. Rahman, has opened up about the “main problem” he has with what’s happening in Bollywood these days. He has pointed out that most people in the industry are forgetting the music bit in the “music business” and focusing only on the business side…writes Natalia Ningthoujam
Cerejo is the voice behind popular Bollywood songs like “Kya Karoon?”, “Hey ya!” and “Yaaram”. He has also composed music for films like “Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh”, “Te3n” and, most recently, “3 Storeys”.
Asked why he doesn’t take up too many Bollywood projects, Cerejo told IANS in a telephonic interview: “I am working on a song for ‘Badla’ at the moment. It is Sujoy Ghosh’s next film. It’s not about taking a long break (from Bollywood). The nature of the industry has changed.”
Elaborating his point, the artiste, who also works on indie projects like Shor Police with singer Bianca Gomes, said: “Right now (music) labels are pushing hard to promote their own artiste. I am not signed with any label. I prefer to keep myself open to whatever comes my way. Now, there are multiple composers doing a single album. I find it very unexciting. I prefer to do my own music and, you know, reach my fans directly.”
He feels that while working on a film as a singer or composer, the movie should be the only criteria for all the decisions that need to be taken.
“If I am singing for (filmmaker) Vishal Bhardwaj, I put my 100 per cent into it as a singer. If I am composing, I only cast myself as a singer if I feel I am the right voice for it… not otherwise,” he said.
He doesn’t mind passing on the microphone to another singer to sing his compositions.
“It’s about always putting the film first. The film should be the only criteria for all your decisions. That’s my main problem with what’s happening in Bollywood these days.
“There are so many factors… that are not concerned with the actual film. They have songs coming into films which have nothing to do with the film. They do it for promotion purposes or whatever. That’s why the film ends up suffering sometimes. That’s not a good place to be in.”
“When you are creating something, it’s not just business. It surely is music business, but you can’t treat it just like a business and forget the music. You can’t forget the film which is what sometimes happens.”
So, does this mean he will never sign up with a known music label?
“I don’t know what the future holds. As of now, I am not affiliated with any label,” he said.
The “Madari” hitmaker has been in the music industry for about two decades. He believes in looking ahead instead of calculating the number of hits or misses.
“I always look forward to the next step. If you are constantly pushing upwards, then you don’t have the time to look back… I have always tried to maintain that outlook. Instead of thinking of the laurels… it’s good to look back once in a while and feel good about it. But you should never start thinking that you have achieved something because the day you start thinking that you have achieved something, it will actually be the day that you will stop achieving after that.”
This year, Cerejo made his debut as a judge alongside singers Shaan and Vidya Vox, and Rahman. He recently helped in hunting for India’s next singing sensation for the digital show “ARRived”, produced and conceptualised by Qyuki Digital Media.
“‘ARRived’ has been a wonderful experience in opening up my mind, not just as a judge but also as a musician. I am somebody who loves to connect with younger musicians. So, I have new options for exciting projects that are going to come out next year,” he said.