Darshan Raval on the Long Road to Releasing His Debut Record ‘Judaiyaan’
The pop crooner and composer talks quarantine productivity and the excitement behind making an album
Even after amassing a nationwide fan following and millions of streams for his singles, pop star Darshan Raval still had his eye on releasing a cohesive body of work by way of an album. With his debut record Judaiyaan out via the label Indie Music earlier this month, Raval can now tick that off his list. “Album humesha ek artist ka ek dream hota hai, [an album is always in the artist’s dream]. I wanted to do an album, because an album defines an artist. And that is what independent music is about as well, being able to make those statements as an artist,” he says over the phone.
The six-track Judaiyaan has material that Raval has been working on for about five years, covering the broad theme of connections and meetings. Whether he sings endearingly about his mother on “Maa” or takes on the persona of a heartbroken lover (“Mujhe Peene Do,” “Main Kisi Aur Ka”), what you hear on the record is an artist who breathes intense emotion into every track. He says of the process, “I think because of the lockdown I got time to make music, and I got a lot of months to create the album. I thought, ‘main woh album finish kar du, meri paanch saal ki woh sari process is saal puri hogi‘ [I should finish this album, it’s been a five-year process that needs to be completed] because of the lockdown.”
Working with go-to lyricists such as Rashmi Virag, Gurpreet Saini and Gautam G. Sharma, most composing duties are helmed by Raval, except for “Main Kisi Aur Ka.” Singer, lyricist and composer Siddharth Amit Bhavsar crafts an evocative palette for the song about separated lovers who meet after decades. Raval says of the track, “When you hear the song you will come to know ki it’s something people would have never thought would come in my voice. So we can say that with the album we’ve tried to do something apart from what I have been doing with my singles.”
Amongst the stand out songs for Raval is “Maa,” which he’s composed, wrote lyrics for and sung himelf. Written shortly after his mother passed away in 2017, Raval explores emptiness but also the power of motherly love. “We all know what mothers are and how important they are. So I wrote this song because it stems from my feelings, my emotions. It’s something that I think of everyday. And it’s one of the most closest songs to me in the album,” he says.
Another big highlight on Judaiyaan is Raval’s collaboration with ace voice Shreya Ghoshal on the title track, which opens the record. He recalls how he told Indie Music label founder Naushad Khan how the song would not be complete with just one voice. Raval adds, “I texted her and sent the song and she loved the song, and then she sang it and she’s sounding outstanding in the song. So ek dream collab hi tha mere liye jo ab haqeekat ban gaya [it was a dream collab that’s now become reality].”
As someone who’s become a stickler to studio visits during the last eight months, Raval says he’s a perennial student. “For me, it’s learning and failing and learning again. So every time I sit in my studio for making a song, or aise hi practice karne, my journey started there,” he says. Outside of the studio, the singer says he’s sharpened his cooking skills even more during the pandemic. He adds with a chuckle, “I’ve mostly been on a diet, so you have to make your own food most times anyway.”
Listen to ‘Judaiyaan’ in full below. Stream on more platforms here.