The Rolling Stone Interview: Raghu Dixit
“Last year we spent about Rs 39 lakhs and earned back about Rs 11 lakhs…”
When did the transition from singing English songs to singing in Hindi, and Kannada happen?
I think it was 2000, when I wanted to record my first demo. Bhaskar and I wanted to record a demo for Antaragni. And I met these two musicians who were heavy metal guys. I played them one of my songs, ”˜Like Cocaine’. And one of them, Jeet, asked me, “Why are you talking about cocaine, man? Have you ever tried cocaine? Why are you trying to be somebody else?” And he asked me, “Do you know who you are? Where you coming from?” For the first time I was being asked questions I have never asked myself. I said, “I am a boy from Mysore who lived in a strict Tam-Brahm family, studied in an English medium school but speaks in Kannada at home.” And he said, “So why the fuck should you sing in English? Can’t you sing in Kannada, can’t you sing in Tamil? Can’t you sing in Hindi atleast? That tune you have, that Rajasthani tune? Write Hindi words for it, right now.”
This is ”˜Mysore Se Ayi’?
Yes”¦ so I wrote Hindi lyrics for ”˜Mysore Se Ayi’ while he was smoking weed. If you listen to ”˜Mysore Se Ayi,’ it will sound like ten different lines from Bollywood songs of Nadeem-Shravan or whoever. Ten lines taken from different songs put together. “Chaand ka tukda hai chehra”¦ behti baalon ki dhara”¦ usmein moti ka gajara” [laughs]”¦ It is so stupid [laughs], but the song’s melody just carried it. I never changed the lyrics after that. And Jeet forced me to think who I was and where I came from. The importance of representing who you are as an artist makes you so honest, that people will not ignore you. Even if you are an English singer/musician, if it comes across as a very honest representation of who you are, people will instantly like you.