"I think the basic requirement is a lot of passion for music and making good music" - Shubh Saran

                                                     
ICCR as a part of their Horizon series presented a musical evening featuring The Shubh Saran Presentation. The Shubh Saran presentation is a contemporary jazz, funk, neo soul, and fusion project led by guitarist and composer, Shubh Saran. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music and a recipient of the Berklee Achievement Scholarship,. Saran has honed his skills as a versatile guitarist blending jazz, neo-soul, blues, and Indian music. In India, he has performed alongside some of the most famous names in the music industry, including Clinton Cerejo, Adil and Vasundhara, Vasuda Sharma, as well as members of Advaita and ParikraThe project features some of Delhi's most prominent musicians and the group performs original pieces as well as unique arrangements of well-known tunes. Abhijit Ganguly spoke to Shubh Saran.

How did your tryst with music happen? What were your initial inspirations?

I started taking classical piano lessons at the age of 8 or 9, but gave that up after about 2 years - I never really showed any signs of promise. I was then, for a very brief period, a drummer - also never showed any signs of promise. It was only when I was about 12 that I discovered the guitar and since then I've been obsessed with trying to play it. What really clicked for me was when I saw a band called Indian Ocean perform in Delhi, which sparked my desire for taking music more seriously, trying to pursue it as a career. 

Talking about building a career in the music industry, what is the basic requirement? How one should train oneself to make sure he/she has gained a good foundation?

I think the basic requirement is a lot of passion for music and making good music. The other things that are required like technique, practice, professionalism, willingness to learn etc. are all a byproduct of intense passion. All the musicians I know, work with, and respect are first and foremost lovers of different kinds of music. 

As far as training goes, I don't think there's one correct path that leads to a 'trained musician'. Some people study with teachers their whole lives, and others study with their musician friends. I don't know if there's a defining moment that marks the time when someone transitions from being a student of music to a 'professional musician'. The best way to train oneself is to listen to music you love; learn lines, songs, licks, chord progressions that stand out to you in your favourite songs; and try to play with musicians who are more experienced than you. Basically, practice, practice, practice. 

There’s a lot of talk about how you can’t just be a musician today in the business – you have to also be a businessman, manage your social media, build your brand etc. What is your view on this? 

That's true, you can't just play alone in an enclosed environment all day. Because it's relatively simple now to set up a website, design a poster, make a Facebook page, etc. Audiences expect at least that much from a working musician. It is definitely hard to juggle price negotiations, Facebook pages, poster printing, and in between all that find time to practice. But if it has to be done, then it has to be done! All that boring stuff is worth the effort when you do something you love. 


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