Interview By: Hasti Doshi
It’s refreshing to find a Bollywood playback singer who’s quite nonchalant about his Bollywood career. He has already made us his fan with his debut song ‘Te Amo’ which still is in our playlists. Working with Lady Gaga, A. R Rehman, SunidhiChauhan has made him better every time. He is a singer of Bengali and Gujarati origin and based in London which makes him unique. Ash’s latest outing is ‘Baarish’ from ‘Half Girlfriend’ and as we talk shop, his voice betrays no fears or insecurities. Read On…
“I sound like no one and that's one of my USP”
It would be very interesting to know how Ashutosh become Ash King.
So I was born and brought up in England and my ﬁrst song release was in England and not in India. So in England Ashutosh Ganguly is like massive and mouthful and the song was very hardcore. So they were like the name is far too long for to say. The name should be very catchy and the obvious one to go with was Ash which is short of Ashutosh, but later i found Ash very boring. Lot of my friends are carrebiean and once i was talking to them, we call each other king just the way people over here say boss. He said Ash King and that’s when it clicked my mind and i thought this name is really great and it goes together so i changed it.
Having sung in different languages, what are the technicalities which are needed to change for every language, and how do you work on it?
I have sung Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Bengali, English, Punjabi, Hindi (smiling). Actually there are lot of things to do with the tongue and pronounce different languages. And it should be so precise and there are small inﬂexions so you have to kind of train your tongue to make that second nature. So there are lot of lyricists of the the song who sit with me and they train me on the words and this Marathi song I have sang is the most difficult one I have sang. Bengali was also difﬁcult but i am used to hearing Bengali as my dad is Bengali.
Based in London and singing Bollywood songs is quite a different thing so, what are your inﬂuences?
I grew up listening to lot of Indian folk music, my dad used to compose for music in Gujarat. Also I used to play dhol and prakashit dhol while growing up and so i used to do all of that and play music. Also I was inﬂuenced by western music as I was in England, then I got my break in Bollywood and just working here and working with different composers you start learning new things. Everytime I sing a new song like this new one ‘Baarish’ I start learning small things. Every time I sing a song it’s like a vocal lesson.
Tell us about your new project ‘Baarish’ from the ﬁlm ‘Half Girlfriend’, as it’s already hitting lots of likes.
I was actually the last option for this song. This was already sung by few people and I think they wanted to try something new so therefore I was lucky around to be there. When I spoke to Mohit Suri and he spoke to me for the song and called me down to the studio and I went there, and i remember meeting him while he was making Aashiqui 2. The funniest part was I thought I ﬁnally got the song that suits me and my western style, but then he said the guy in the ﬁ lm doesn’t know English. I had to be extra careful to sing the song and at the same time I had to keep my identity, because one thing I am proud of is I don’t sound like anyone and I am really proud of that thing personally and I need to keep that. Because sometimes what happens is just to give someone the result you compromise and start copying others and I am not that and I would rather not sing. I am really happy they kept my voice and I hope whoever is reading this interview will like it too.
What are your USP’s?
I sound like no one and that’s one of my USP. I am unique circumstance as I come from a seven generations of Indian music.
Your voice suite both soulful as well as party songs, how difficult it is to bring that transition?
When I am singing the song what I think is what am I adding to the song and if it sounds like kareoke then I am not adding anything to it. But it’s important to add value to it when you are part of it. On that table with people like Pritam, Amitabh Bhattachariya or Ranbir or anyone and if you are on that table you have to contribute something, so that’s the mentality I have to record a song and understand what they want and what can you give to them and that makes sense.
What is on your plate now further?
I didn’t know Baarish is going to happen. I recorded before 4 days of release so I was working on singles. I made a studio there and I am working with NGO called green hammer and what I decided to do was to have more purpose to my music. Because Bollywood is the purpose when you sing in Bollywood but when you are making independent music what’s the purpose, so I wanted to make music and spread the word and may be do some good.