Music composer Ricky Kej had many goals, but the Grammys weren’t a part of those. “They just happened,” says Kej, who won his second Grammy this year, adding, “When I won my first one at the age of 33, it seemed like an unattainable goal. You couldn’t even think about it, making music in India, but it happened. It turns all your goals topsy-turvy; you won a big award and you don’t know what to do next.”
That’s why he decided having goals like awards makes no sense. “For me, goals are about solving social issues through my music rather than winning awards or furthering my career,” Kej tells us.
Ask him about any plans to make music for films, and Kej says, “There’s nothing wrong with the music in Bollywood. [But] I have chosen not to do it… I prefer making music from the heart… While the quality of [film] music is very good, people are not making music from the heart. The only type of music coming out from India are either item songs or love songs.”
However, Kej has worked on independent music as well as documentaries. “I’ve been doing a lot of Kannada music. I collaborated with HS Venkateshamurthy (director) on two songs, both of which will be performed in a concert. Also, I love making music for documentaries because the only kind of music I make is about social impact and raising awareness regarding issues.”
His Grammy-winning album, Divine Tides, features 40 musicians from Karnataka, besides American musician Stewart Copeland. “As a Bengalurean, my favourite musicians are from the city. So they will always be a part of my projects,” Kej says.
On Monday, Kej and his band performed in front of 5,000 Army families in Bengaluru to mark the first of his many shows this year. “I was called by the Army to do the concert. I was very happy to be here,” shares Kej, whose band is set to perform at 18 more shows in the next month, in India as well as abroad, including Delhi, Mumbai, Sweden and more.