Setting the stage on fire: singer Benny Dayal comes to town
Benny Dayal may not need any introduction, but if you take his claim of musical evolution seriously, you might find it difficult to recognise him in his new songs. In his quest for perfection, the 32-year-old says he’s yet to reach a point where he is satisfied with himself. He has fans from various music genres rooting for the way he sings, but in his opinion, all of it is still work-in-progress. “I have so much more to do and work on, that’s why I admit that I am not a big fan of my voice,” he says, referring to a similar comment he made at the India Today Conclave earlier this year. “I still keep people guessing by deliberately not leaving a ‘Benny Dayal’ signature in my songs,” he says. “I honestly think one must revisit oneself and start from ground zero in order to learn something new,” he adds.
It is this approach to reinvention that perhaps led him to sashay across a video of a cover version of Drops of Jupiter, a song by Train, the American rock band (they recently launched their 10th studio album, A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat.) Benny’s version of this 2001 Grammy-winning hit is a part of a series of international covers presented by Maruti Suzuki’s Nexa. Called Nexa Music Lounge, it also features artistes like Vishal Dadlani (covering Oasis’ Wonderwall) and Monica Dogra (on Come With Me Now by Kongos). “I was 17 when Drops... was released, so it was kind of overwhelming for me to do a cover of it, considering the response I got from London and various radio stations abroad. Although I keep my expectations low, I did get great feedback on Twitter from Vishal, Salim and Sulaiman, Karsh Kale and others,” he shares.
The dub step
A livewire on stage, Benny will be in action once again today, at his latest performance at Hard Rock Cafe, Worli, Mumbai. The concert is being hosted to support the Nexa Music Lounge project and mainly features English songs, besides Benny’s compositions. When it comes to writing songs, Chandigarh-based Dub Sharma features heavily in Benny’s latest work. “There’s a lot of new music that I have been writing, arranging and producing with Dub Sharma, and also Chennai-based electro-funk band Funktuation, because of which I recently performed at Todi Mill Social, Mumbai and High Spirits Cafe, Pune. Moving forward, there’s a lot of great work that’s going to be reaching your ears,” he assures. After Mumbai, he is coming to Chennai to perform at a fashion festival in Feathers Hotel.
In the pipeline
Following Mumbai, Benny is performing in Budapest, Hungary, for the first time this June. He is also preparing to release a series of singles along with Dub Sharma, as a part of a project titled Swag Anusaar. “It’s my attempt to keep my music fresh. There will be videos for all songs and will be released one by one. However, there won’t be any rapper collaborations,” he explains.
When not recording or making music, the Mumbai-based singer who hails from Kerala catches
up on sleep and tries his hand at cooking for his wife, Catherine Dayal, whom he married last year.
“I recently made some fried chicken for her. She grew up in New Jersey and definitely enjoys Southern American food. I did watch and try one of Gordon Ramsey’s recipes, and I’d say that I am 70 per cent happy with my attempt!” he adds, adding a mention about Catherine’s new blog (catherinedayal.com) and her work on a multi-lingual video themed on Mother’s Day (May 14).
Catch updates on Swag Anusaar on Benny’s Facebook page. Feathers Hotel performance on Sunday, 6 pm onwards. Entry at `500 and `1,000. Details: 8489926879