The Cult Song Crafter Prateek Kuhad is synonymous with the contemporary independent music scene. He has a list of global accolades to his credit and he has taken the independent music scene in India to the world
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Live shows, huge fan following, great composition, a humble personality and the list goes on. You name it, he has it! This artist's songs made it to the favorite playlist of the former US President Barack Obama. He is Prateek Kuhad, a genre of music in himself.
"I want to put out more music and make more fans across the world. I really appreciate when I am able to add value to people's lives. My songs are for them," said the effervescent singer.
He grew up in Jaipur and then moved to New York to finish college. Prior to making music his career, he worked with a consultancy firm. "When I was growing up, the indie scene was mostly composed of people from Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore. So, coming from a different area gave me a different perspective, I think that's what made it unique." His tryst with music started as a teenager, "I started playing guitar at school when I was 16. Thereafter, most of my musical journey happened during college in New York."
He has a list of global accolades to his credit—from signing with Cut Craft Music, joining the storied label Elektra Records to featuring in Barack Obama's favorite playlist— he has taken the independent music scene in India to the global level.
"The independent music scene is not boxed, it's open to experimenting, which is very cool. There are not many Indian or south Asian artists in the field. I feel the space is picking up but we still need a big explosion here. However, I feel the field needs a lot of professionalism. Whenever someone is creating something independently, there is a lot of passion involved and with a lot of passion, people sometimes lack professionalism as they get distracted by immaturity. That needs to be worked upon."
When it comes to the other artists in the independent music scene in India, he appreciates the work done by Lifafa, Tanmaya Bhatnagar and RANJ, among others.
The successful singer also had his share of failures. But he never gave up. "Failure is not catastrophic. It's very important to know when to let go and when not to, we should wait for the right time. Patience is the key. For me, I wanted this so bad that it never let me quit. The more I delved into it the more I wanted this."
If you are a fan of Kuhad's singing, you can never ignore the uniqueness of his visual ideas. "I just love doing different stuff. I do not believe in repeating things and love the experimentation that comes with it. Sometimes, for visualization I have an idea and someone else helps me bring life to it."
The singer has always been very humble about his achievements, however, he confesses, "Being termed as a genre of music is very flattering."
"Each of the awards or recognition I receive has been extremely exciting." Personally, he might be a private person, but when it comes to his songs, he becomes an open book. "That's what artists do. While writing songs, we break all barriers. There is no inhibition."
While his work is often related to love, longing and heartbreak, it is not only about love in a romantic way. "I think love is the most powerful and beautiful emotion in the world. While Cold/Mess was a quintessential breakup song, Dil Beparvah was all about setting your soul free. It's about love in general." Amongst his own creation, Cold/Mess tops his list of favorites. "I am really proud of the whole Cold/ Mess EP. That was a lot of hard work." Shehron Ke Raaz and songs from In Tokens and Charms are among his other favorites. Talking about criticism and trolling, the singer said, "I usually take criticism constructively. I constantly look for feedback. However, trolls do piss me off."
Talking about some of his favorites, he said, "I have had so many influences. There are some great folk musicians. Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan are among the many great artists."
With several laurels under his belt, the future looks starstruck. What's up in 2022? He said, "More shows, more songs, more albums." Kuhad won the Indian Indie Album of the year 2019 by iTunes and Spotify:Top Indian Indie Hits, and the Best India Act at the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards. He also won the International Songwriting Competition in 2016.