Sadasivan KM Nambisan better known as Sadu is a singer, composer, lyricist and producer and founding member of The Aryans one of the biggest indie rock bands India has produced. He learnt western classical piano under keyboardist V C Varghese and Hindustani classical vocals under Pandit Brijmohan Dixit. He got his first opportunity to play keyboard at the age of 19, with an orchestra at the local Durga Pooja festival. Sadu then went on to play in a several orchestras before starting to play professionally with the Sargam Musical Group of Madhya Pradesh. In 1998 he along with D J Narain and Jai Walia formed The Aryans. The same year they launched their first album on Polygram Records. Ankhon Mein Tera Hi Chehra became a super hit and they have never looked back since.
Here Sadu talks to RagatoRock about his eventful journey and passion for music.
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Sadasivan KM Nambisan but professionally I am known as SADU. I was born on 7th September in Kerala, till I was a teenager I grew up in Ooty, and later on in Madhya Pradesh since my Dad was with the defense services, he was transferred regularly. My academic qualification is Master of Science in Organic Chemistry with specialization in Environment science, I am a half scientist. Also in sports I have clocked 10.69 seconds in 100 meter sprint and won bronze medal in the all India inter university championships. Then finally I shifted to Mumbai to pursue Music.
When did you get interested in music?
I started of my music career in a small town with an orchestra group but was keen in making my own songs hence shifted to Mumbai in 1996 and met DJ Narain & Jai Walia to form Aryans . Universal Music formerly known as PolyGram launched us with our first sound track album for the movie, ‘Ankhon Mein Tera Hi Chehra’ starring Shahid Kapur, which was an instant Hit in 1999. Then followed ‘Yeh Hawa Kehti Hai Kya’ in 2000 & ‘Dekha Hai Teri Ankhon Ko’ in 2003, all blockbusters, and then poured in extravaganza of awards - MTV, Channel V, B4U, ETC and what not.. We then grabbed lots of concerts all over the Globe. Me and DJ released ‘Hai Dil’ with Times Music & ‘Kehta Hai Dil Yahi bar Bar’ with T-Series in the year 2006 and 2009 respectively. They did Ok but then we had our own commitments too.
Is that when you decided to go solo?
I own a Pharmaceutical Company named Sadu Pharma, Time passed by we kept on doing concerts. Then I released my first solo of two Ghazal-Rock singles with Times Music in 2015. It did pretty well, the music was an amalgamation of guitar, drums & ghazal written by Jigar Muradabadi. I started a video production company ‘Seventh Angle Production’ and later on ‘Sadu Music’, the Music Company which is specifically and only for Independent Music Releases. I am a Singer, Composer & Lyricist and it's easy for me to produce songs. My production is in full swing. I am planning to release 10 to 15 Solo Pop-Rock mesmerizing and amazing singles every year. To start with am releasing 2 singles in 2019 under my music label.
What do you think of the independent music scene in India?
Indian music scene is quite dim, I mean music should not be imposed on you. For the last 70 years we have been strictly forced to listen to film songs. All through the years the ways and means of music exposure and platforms to exhibit or showcase any kind music was either radio or television, which were primarily dominated by playing film songs.
Indian audiences have been deprived of exposure to the wide spectrum of music which could have been commercially viable. In fact the Indian flavour and essence of musiclike folk, sufi, classical & spiritual music is not getting the recognition it deserves. The British left us decades ago but unfortunately we Indians are carrying the hangover of still being slaves mentally and accept everything we've being served.
Why has India not produced any great independent artistes, compared to the West where music is propelled by musicians and bands?
Talking about Rock and pop stars of the west look at Bryan Adams, Dire Straits, Queen, Eagles, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Michael, John Bon Jovi, what tremendous attitude they have in their songs. India saw a few bands and artists with attitude in the late nineties and early 2000, Lucky Ali, Silk Route, us The Aryans, Euphoria, Parikrama , Falguni Pathak, Daler Mehdi, Sukhbir, Ali Haider, Nazia Hassan are few names who started and created new west kind trend of pop-rock culture in India but faded out getting over shadowed by film music.
What are your views on cover and DJ versions of popular hits?
People climb on cloud nine and glorify themselves when they do an elegantly safe job COVER of an already hit song again. Plagiarism, brother it's a copy. Singing an old song out of passion in a bathroom is fine but any commercial usage leads to a challenge and disrespect to the original creation and creator. I will definitely call them spineless, that's the reason I started off this paragraph with 'people' and not singers. It's as if you are putting your name plate on somebody else's home.
Dressing up to the best and shooting a music video of a copied song shows how desperate they are to achieve temporary success. These shortcomings never stay for long. I always say 10 claps for your own song is way better than ten thousand claps for a cover song. Sing and enjoy your own song. According to me if you can't create music you should Quit, you should do a job elsewhere.
It seems that is what people want, so what then is the way forward?
I should say Indians are possessed and obsessed by films and its songs. There's more in store. It's high time to overthrow the prejudices made by few individuals of riding films on songs, unaware of the later consequences on the original music. It's unfortunate that lot of independent musicians have not been recognized and given worth as they deserve, avenues and careers of lots of musicians have been shattered by this trend in the last few decades. I would request all aspiring young musicians of India to come out in full bloom with their original music whatever genre it may be - instrumental, folk, songs, ghazals, plays, qawwali, bhajans, rock, pop and let the world know you.
What are independent artistes doing about this and will it really make a difference?
I do know a few upcoming artists with immense talent who are swimming against this worse tide and fighting the whirlwind, good luck and God be with them, I am optimistic and anticipate a great lot of change in Indian Independent Music. I also expect that the audience realizes, accepts and chooses independent music as mainstream music and not film songs.
What is your advice to young and upcoming artistes?
Now since it's digital music all over, there are more options to showcase and sell your music I invite all good talents on floor. My advice to youngsters is to not make music on demand or for others, make your music with passion without any restrictions for yourself and enjoy it, the world will enjoy with you. Make your own way and do not flow with the river. Never make or do music for bread and butter. Till the end of this planet music will be created and heard but the spine and Essence is simple melody and nice lyrics.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.