Musician Nikhil D’Souza’s new romantic single, Saiyaara, is all about the promise of staying together  

Matters of the heart
Nikhil D'Souza (Courtesy: Koumudi)
Nikhil D'Souza (Courtesy: Koumudi)

Once you gett into Bollywood music, there is no turning back to their roots for most musicians. But, Nikhil D’Souza is not your regular singer and song-writer. He has maintained a perfect balance with Hindi cinema music and his independent songs. Known for songs like Shaam, Mere Bina, and O Gujariya, the singer is also famous for his original compositions such as Beautiful Mind, Still In Love and Sitaare. Nikhil is back with another single called Saiyaara, which he believes is a spiritual successor to his song, Sitaare. Why? Well, he tells us that both the songs speak about stars, planets and belong to a similar zone of storytelling. We catch up with the singer-songwriter to find out more. Excerpts:

Tell us about your song, Saiyaara.

When I first thought of this melody, I pictured a couple performing a slow waltz as the first dance at their wedding. That is how we got the idea for the song. The twirling of the couple, the moments they share during that first dance reminded me of the relationship the sun and planets share.

The lyricist, Pinky Poonawaala and I started working on the idea. Then, we had to decide where we wanted to take the song. We thought of this couple taking their vows, knowing that this is not a fairytale romance and that over a while, things are bound to change. It is the promise they make — staying together, even during the most difficult time.

What kinds of beats and instruments did you use?

You can say, in a sense, the production for this song was more contemporary and modern. We used electronic music kits instead of the regular acoustic drums. When you record a song in a music studio with a band, the experience is slightly different. There is a certain soundscape that emerges. For Saiyaara, only an acoustic guitar was used, otherwise, everything else was recorded using only electronic instruments.

You prefer writing in English. Then how does the translation of your Hindi songs happen?

For this song, I just told Pinky my idea about the couple. And we took the song from there. Earlier, she translated two songs that I penned in English. I no longer write the whole verses and choruses in English — as it changes her process.

The rise in indie artistes across the country has been humongous in the past few years. How do you view this?

Today, it has become easier to release your music. You can write and compose your songs in your bedroom and then all you need to do is give it to a distributor and then they send it to streaming services. So it has eliminated all the reasons why one needs to sign with recording labels. Musicians are now experiencing this freedom of being able to release their music and have control over it.

What I see as a problem, is with so many people putting out so much content, a lot of it is getting lost. It seems like only these indie labels have the money to market it and only such content is getting visibility.

I think the one way around this is if the live scene gets back on track. When you have a lot more venues that support independent musicians, then more people will come out, discover new music and that’s how you build your audience. Only when the live scene and digital scene co-exist, indie musicians can truly triumph.

So, what else is in the pipeline?

I have a bunch of songs that I am waiting to release. There is also an EP, comprising about five songs that will be out by the end of this year.

Saiyaara is streaming on all online platforms.


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