He may have swayed us with his mesmerising tone over the years, sung an array of chartbusters for several Bollywood hit films like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Don’ etc etc etc. He may have lent his vocals for leading men of Bollywood from Shah Rukh Khan to Salman Khan to Aamir Khan to Hrithik Roshan and others, yet the very versatile singer Shaan is displeased with the ongoing trend.
He recently spoke about the current sensation Yo Yo Honey Singh, how music has lost its essence, how singers now succumb to doing only item numbers, why people are crazy behind party anthems and much more.
Being a singer was considered an elite thing back then, what do you have to say about the current scenario with so many songsters flooding in the industry?
SHAAN: Unless you can do something incredible with your voice you are just among millions who are singing today with their antics. Going back to the golden era is always going to be great and the voice is also genuine. I was probably among the last generation of singers whose voice is not being pitched. But even that changed from 2004-2005. Now even my voice is being pitched wherever I sing.
Is singing losing its sheen?
SHAAN: If Honey Singh croons a number and considered as a song, which is ideally what? – a rap or someone just talking in rhythm, then everyone can sing. If I ask you to sing ‘Lungi Dance’ even you will be able to. How difficult is that? And if that is accepted as his biggest hit, then the level of song writing and songs has dropped so hard that if I add four more notes people won’t be able to sing it. You just need to have fun beats, tune and lyrics to make a song today. Wherever I go my brief is only Honey Singh type gaane banao!
Don’t you think it is the order of the day?
SHAAN: Who am I to dictate what works and what doesn’t. For the common man if it is working and if these songs are reaching out to them, then who can stop it? Earlier also there were raunchy lyrics like in the track ‘Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja’ but you never felt ashamed of it because the tune, the singing, the music, etc was done like a jazz song. But now the music ability has only dropped. So it’s the way you sing. If you sing a good song like ‘Hume Tumse Pyaar Kitna’ in an indecent way with a guttural tone, it will obviously sound sick. The tonality has to be perfect. If a situation is a cabaret and the girl is throwing herself on you how can the lyrics not be raunchy?
So, will you succumb to it?
SHAAN: I probably will because I have to survive. Today if you go to a party will you stop the DJ from playing the song? No. On the contrary you will dance to ‘Munni Badnaam’ quite happily. So it’s easy to raise questions but practically you have to stay with it. Kids are listening to such kind of stuff and enjoying. This is my profession, not my hobby or passion.
Do you consider Sonu Nigam as your closest contender, since you guys started out together and can do a lot of modulation with the voice?
SHAAN: Sonu Nigam is more versatile than me. He is more talented than me and I’m not being modest. I am saying this in all honesty but I think I am next closest or second to him because we came around almost the same time. We did different kinds of songs. Even KK is one of the finest singers. We all are great buddies.