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Ehsaan's first salary was Rs 300. What was yours?

Last updated on: October 29, 2012 17:42 IST

Ehsaan's first salary was Rs 300. What was yours?

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Rishi Wadhwa

A composer and guitarist in his own right, Ehsaan Noorani of Shankar Ehsaan-Loy, talks about music composition as a profession.

Music direction is a team sport, shares Ehsaan Noorani of the Shankar Ehsaan-Loy trio, who together bagged the National award for best music direction in Kal Ho Na Ho. However, it was the music of Dil Chahta Hai that put them ahead in the league.

While times have changed, and so has their music, Noorani who started off as a session guitarist has come a long way and created a niche for himself.

In this interview, he tells us about his first studio assignment, the skill sets required to pursue music as a career and offers career advice to aspirants. Read on...

Tell us about your first assignment and first salary.

Rs 300 was my first salary and that was to play the guitar on a jingle for Paragon Shoes composed by Ronnie Desai. It was my first "studio" job!

How did you get into music?

I got interested in music in school watching school bands playing. That's when I started guitar lessons from Bismark Redriguez, a reputed teacher in Mumbai. I played with a couple of bands and after college, went to study music at the Musicians Institute commonly called MI, in Los Angeles, the music capital of the world. My musicianship grew leaps and bounds. But I am still a student, constantly researching and practising to better both my playing and composing skills.

How much influence does a solo artist add to film music direction?

A film is all about team work where many people are working towards creating a good film. The same applies to the music process, you work along with your director, singers and musicians to create a good song.

In my case, with Shankar (Mahadevan) and Loy (Mendonsa), we are totally objective and open to each other's ideas hence we are able to take a fresh approach to our compositions.

What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? How does it help you while composing music?

I listen to all kinds of music, be it blues, rock and electronic, not just from an academic point of view. Since I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, the compositional process is more enjoyable. A lot of compositions just happen when one is sitting and doodling on an instrument. An idea comes out of the blue and I make sure I quickly record it.

When creating commercial music, you have to realise that one is composing it for the public to enjoy. So, you have to be creative, and have a sense of aesthetic 'newness' within the confines of commercial requirements.

Dear Readers, what your first job? Do you remember what your first salary was?

Tell us a little about where you worked and what you did there? And of course, what did you do with your first salary? Did you buy a sari for your mum or a gift for your girl/boyfriend? We want to know so tell us all about it!

Write in to us at getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject line 'My First Salary') and we'll publish the best responses right here on rediff.com!

Please click NEXT to continue reading...


Image: Ehsaan Noorani used to work as a session guitarist before he started composing music for films
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360

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'Have gratitude for your successes, handle the dips with grace'

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How much of a role does technology play in music today?

It's very important. There are always new technologies that help dress up the song, add a sonic and textural angle, but means nothing if one doesn't have creativity. Because a good song should sound and feel good even if only one guitar or piano accompanies it.

Which are your favourite guitars and why?

Fender, Paul Reed Smith, Martin and Tom Anderson are some of my favourites -- each have different tones. I endorse Fender and also have a signature line in my name.

Your take on music composition as a career...

It's a good career choice although difficult because the breaks are few and success takes a long time coming. Music services for film, advertising and multimedia are the main avenues in India where one can one earn a good living.

The composer has to be adaptable to different music situations and may be required to compose different styles of music as per the requirement. So the composer to be adept and well-versed in all styles of music.

Any tips for aspiring composers?

Always be a student of music as growth should be constant. Do not think you are "Number 1" because you are already far behind then"

Keep your mind and ears open as there's so much music all around. Have gratitude for your successes, handle the dips with grace. I always know that I still have my music, always.

Dear Readers, what your first job? Do you remember what your first salary was?

Tell us a little about where you worked and what you did there? And of course what did you do with your first salary? Did you buy a sari for your mum or a gift for your girl/boyfriend? We want to know so tell us all about it!

Write in to us at getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject line 'My First Salary') and we'll publish the best responses right here on rediff.com!


Image: Ehsaan Noorani
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360

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