Kailash Kher: I didn't have the money to buy a bus ticket
Kailash Kher shot to fame in 2004 with the song Allah Ke Bande. But the route to success wasn't a cakewalk.
Kailash Kher has been passionate about music since he was a kid.
He tried his hands at business, and finally came to Mumbai to pursue his music dreams. In this interview, the pop-rock singer from Meerut who has sung in 18 languages and for 300 Bollywood films reflects on his journey and offers advice to aspiring artists and musicians.
How does singing for a live audience make you feel?
Alive! There's a huge difference when you record a song in a studio and when you sing in front of the live audience. You get to experience what the public really wants only in a live concert.
Tell us a little about your early days of singing.
Brought up in a musical atmosphere since childhood, I was fascinated by music and used to listen to my father sing Indian folk songs all the day.
At age of 14, I left home in search of either a guru or an institution to further my musical training, and embarked on years of classical and folk music study.
Did you face any challenges before bagging your first major break Allah Ke Bande?
I would go from studio to studio in search of work but to no avail. I didn't have the money to buy a bus ticket.
But post Allah Ke Bande there was a drastic change in my life. Not only did people start recognising me but I also received many singing offers from well-known music directors.
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Image: Kailash Kher
Photographs: Rohit Gautam/Careers360
'I got Rs 5,000 as my first pay'
In your opinion, what is the downside of being in this profession?
Every profession and particularly, the glamour world has a shelf life to it. After spending years in the industry, your image becomes a brand.
I can sing all types of songs but I am mostly associated with Sufi by the public. A particular label gets attached to you which can be a problem at times.
How do you cope with failure?
We need to understand that just as good times have receded, the bad times will also go.
Tell us about your first salary.
I got Rs 5,000 as my first pay for an advertisement jingle. I used that amount to open a savings account.
How important is professional training to be a good singer?
To enter any profession, one needs to study hard to achieve success. According to me it is important to rehearse and train.
You have been a judge of reality shows. Do you think these shows are good launch pads?
Reality shows are a good platform for the budding artists. But even if you come to be known through reality shows, you ought to be ready to face fierce competitions and be strong willed to fight back.
Any tips for aspiring singers?
Work day in and day out if you wish to make your mark in this field. What gets appreciated as much as your talent is your hard work and dedication!
Image: Kailash Kher performing at a concert in New York
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com