Exclusive: "I went away from music," musician Papon opens up on pressure of being a star kid

Despite being born to legendary musicians, getting into music was not an organic choice for the singer
Popular singer and multi-instrumentalist Papon
Popular singer and multi-instrumentalist Papon

Earlier this month, popular singer and multi-instrumentalist Papon performed at a live concert in Bengaluru. Famous for his work in Bollywood, the acclaimed artiste is known for being one of the pioneers of folktronica (fusion of folk and electronica) in the country. Indulge caught up with the musician for a candid chat at Radisson Blu Bengaluru Outer Ring Road.

Papon was born to legendary musicians (Archana Mahanta and Khagen Mahanta) in Assam. One would assume that getting into music would be an organic choice for him. But on the contrary, it had an opposing effect on the musician. “There was a lot of pressure on me for being a star child. Everyone expects a lot when your parents are such great musicians themselves. Even if I would have sung well, a lot of people would be like, ‘Of course, you are their son.’ If you don't sing well, they will be like, ‘You should be like your father or mother.’ So, that pressure was there and I didn’t enjoy it. So much so that I actually went away from music and went to Delhi for my degree in architecture. So, it is tougher than someone who doesn’t have the pressure of parents being musicians too. I think there is more pressure (in such a case) than things becoming easier,” said Papon.

When asked if the last two years of the pandemic have influenced his music in any way, the Jiyein Kyun singer said, “I was already experimenting a lot but was not putting them out. In the last two years, I have created more stuff because I was not touring – there were no shows. I was stuck in my home studio. But it gave me an opportunity to make more music. In that process, I did create a lot of music, which I am trying my best to put out in the best possible way. I did work on another (kind of) music, which has a very, very different sound than what I have ever sounded like. So, I am very excited to see how my fans will react to this new sound. There are not only one, but two-three different styles (in this music).”

But when can fans get their hands on this music? “Maybe I’ll not be able to tell you immediately. But I can tell you this there are three distinct sounds — three different albums in three different genres — I am working in. Hopefully, after the next two months, I am gonna put out a song each month for the next two years,” said the musician.

The artist also spilled beans on the early days of his career, his thoughts on the contemporary music scene in India, and much more. To catch up, listen to his exclusive interview on our podcast that will be out on Friday on Spotify!

E-mail: prattusa@newindianexpress
Twitter: @MallikPrattusa

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