A song of Love by Rikki Madan, Gal Sunn Zara is a magical song that stresses the need for communication in a relationship
Whether it was creating ripples in student circles of Delhi NCR in the 90s with his band Canzona, leaving a memorable bunch of guitar riffs with his famed former band and legit indie-pop biggies Euphoria, or charting new territories by slipping into the shoes of a frontman for his Swatantra rock band Eka, Hitesh Rikki Madan has packed significant progression and finesse in his musical career of 25 years. Add a music school and the role of an educator to the mix – Hitesh is the founder/mentor of the well-known ARIA The Music School in Delhi- and he’s still far from complacency even today. This man with exceptional talent has recently released his single, Gal Sunn Zara which is one of a kind song.
We got a chance to have a chat with Hitesh and here is what we said…
Q1. Tell us more about your latest song and music video, Gal Sun Zara. From where did the idea for the same come from?
HRM: I had this desire to write a Punjabi love song, something I had never tried before. There was a melody I had been toying with and thought of putting words to it. I’m a Punjabi & even though my vocab is limited, Gal Sunn Zara is a phrase I’ve grown up hearing that has stayed in my head. My friend Manish Dhawan who’s co-written the lyrics on this came up with some great inputs & voila! We had a simple Punjabi love poem with us.
I played the song on my guitar for Vishesh (over the phone!) and he connected with it instantly. He came back with a storyline (based on his interpretation of the song) that is about lovers who drift apart unknowingly only because they fail to talk to each other about their needs and feelings and what happens when they unexpectedly run into each other. I then adapted the song to this story, even bringing in a female vocalist because it would justify the visuals. Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, a well-acclaimed singer, has done magic to the song with her sultry voice on the audio and playing her part to perfection as the leading lady in the video is Shivaani Sen (Mrs. South India 1st RU).
There was a lot of back and forth between Vishesh & me in the post-production of the video-I recorded my final vocals to match the emotion in the rough cuts, additional music sections were created to fit the storytelling. We wanted the music and visuals to go hand in hand and were careful that there should not be any mismatch on the same. In fact, the ukulele intro was not there initially & I’m really happy I had to create it to fit the video because it’s added a distinct character and mood to the song. A mellow start, with a lilting melody, it builds up to a high-energy track with some great performances by Kunal Netrapal on the drums and Anindo Bose on the keys.
I think I was born with this, it’s my calling to be an s-s. All my life I have done only music, there’s nothing else I know or would rather do.
Q2. Take us through the journey of becoming a singer-songwriter. From where did you get the inspiration for the same?
HRM: I used to write songs and sing even while I was at school and later as part of Canzona, my first band. The s-s aspect of my being remained a private affair when I was fulfilling my duties as guitar player for Euphoria. Till 2020, I’ve only been a part of bands and there was always a sort of boundary in terms of creative expression. Over the years, I yearned to put out what was in my heart and mind, which I finally overcame when I launched HRM, my solo career as a singer-songwriter-producer, having complete control to explore my creative capabilities and present to the world exactly what I want to and in the way, I choose to.
Q3. Tell us more about yourself, your hobbies, your other talents.
HRM: I love playing racquet sports. I used to play badminton till I injured my left ankle, now I’ve switched to tennis. Whatever the sport, I never miss my daily game, unless I’m out of town.
Q4. Tell us about your experience with Euphoria. What have been the major learnings from that experience?
HRM: I joined Euphoria when I was 17 years old. We performed all across the world and in every nook & corner of India, some of the highlights being the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, the Indo-Pak Peace Concert at the UN General Assembly Hall, and the Great Wall of China. I recorded on all the albums released between 1998-2010 including Dhoom, Phir Dhoom, Gully, Mehfuz, and ReDhoom, and even engineered many recordings for Euphoria in my recording studio in the later stages of my journey with the band.
Looking back, I think I became seasoned in my term with Euphoria. The sheer number and types of shows we did grill me to become the performer I am today.
Q5. In your opinion, what is that one thing which is the most important part of songwriting?
HRM: Staying true to the emotional quotient of the song, discovering what makes a song unique, relatable and highlighting that aspect to me is the most important part of songwriting.
Q6. What do you do when not making music?
HRM: I watch movies/net-series and look forward to my evening game of tennis.
Q7. Who are your inspirations?
HRM: I am able to find inspiration from anybody I meet. In general, my experiences and observations of people around me inspire me.
A ‘not a rapid-fire’ with Ritesh…
Hitesh’s Favourite singer…
HRM: KK (Kay Kay), I’ve grown up listening to him since he’s from my school.
Hitesh’s Favourite song…
HRM: The Impossible Dream from the musical Man Of La Mancha.
Hitesh’s Strengths and Weaknesses.
HRM: My drive and focus is my strength and my biggest minus would be work-life balance; I tend to get carried away with work.
One thing you would want to change about yourself…
HRM: I would like to lead a more disciplined and regulated lifestyle.
One thing you would want to accomplish…
HRM: Several albums to my name.
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