NEETESH JUNG KUNWAR: PUTTING HUMOR INTO PERSPECTIVE
With relating to the general people in a realistic way and turning them into lyrics with a touch of humor, Neetesh Jung Kunwar has been getting through to his audience with his music. From a very early age, being indulged in music, he has wanted to have a contribution in the music scene of Nepal and leave his mark. We got to talk with the man himself about his musical journey from what got him started to where he sees himself in the future. We can definitely say that he is as humble and entertaining as his songs are.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING THAT GOT YOU INTO MUSIC?
If I have to name a person, it has to be my father. My dad used to have these cassettes and he introduced me to them at a very early age. Then we used to have MTV where I would watch these songs being played live and I was fascinated by seeing artists perform on stage. I used to feel that these guys are doing something that makes the crowd go crazy. That’s when I thought I wanted to do something as such one day.
IF YOU HAVE TO SAY, WHAT OR WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR MAJOR INFLUENCES IN MUSIC AND HOW HAS IT HELPED YOU TO FIND YOUR SOUND?
I used to mostly listen to 80s music and I got attached to it. I tried listening to music from the 50s but it never got on to me. But the main genre that hit me was country music, and it made me think of becoming a songwriter. Even now when I make my songs I think about those country songs I used to listen to. So, I’d listen to artist like John Denver and Bob Dylan; but if had to state someone as a major influence it has to be John Mayer. Whenever I listen to that guy I feel like he’s singing for me and I just want to pick up a guitar and start writing songs. That’s how I discovered my sound.
HOW DO YOU THINK MUSIC HAS HELPED YOU TO EXPRESS YOURSELF AND HOW HAVE PEOPLE BEEN RELATING/REFLECTING TO YOUR SONGS?
If I were not a musician, I would’ve become a weird kind of guy. I think people wouldn’t have liked me because when I am not doing music I am a loner. I do laugh, and I do make people laugh, but that’s a different thing. What music has taught me to express is how to become myself. When I started out, it was really scary for me to get on stage, but now, I find myself being at comfort on stage. It has made me more confident and has changed me as a person. I can speak for myself and express freely now.
Talking about my listeners, looking at their comments on my songs on YouTube; they are pouring their hearts out and relating to my songs. Then I feel that after listening to my songs they don’t feel alone; they feel like someone actually relates to their struggles and their problems.
AS A MUSICIAN IN NEPAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF BEING A MUSICIAN?
For the present scenario, for musicians, if you want to follow a path in music then there are going to be some struggles and hardships, but in the end it starts paying off. There are online platforms like YouTube and Facebook which have made it really easy for artists to get recognition. Trust me, if you start to get commercial with your music then the music will pay you off. Well, nobody dies rich nor is anybody born rich, but the ultimate thing is it’s not money; it’s all about how you want to be happy in life and how you want to pursue yourself. So music is really a good thing to express yourself with and do what makes you happy. Music can give you something that other jobs cannot, it allows you to speak to people.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE FUTURE WITH YOUR MUSIC?
I’ve dreamt of going international, going to bigger venues and playing in front of a large audience. I don’t know what will happen but I want to make this dream come true. In the future, I don’t know where the fame will take me but I want to become an experienced musician. Then I would be satisfied that I did my time. As for my music, I plan to record and release an album this year with completely new songs which is going to be a surprise to my listeners. It’s going to be a new challenge for myself and something that everyone can enjoy.
WITH SONGS LIKE “GEDAI JASTO JINDAGI”, WHAT IS YOUR MAIN INSPIRATION FOR YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Musically speaking, I start with creating the music rhythmically in my head first. Then I try to put lyrics in to the beats. Because I’ve mostly been inspired by country music and reggae music, I take this approach. It’s easier for me to focus more on rhythms than focusing on melodies. From a lyrical perspective, what I like to do is to take a daily situation and everyday struggle of people and add humor to it. I always want my songs to be fun without sounding too sentimental. So, I always start with a situation and I put them in rhymes, I love using rhymes in my songs. In the end, it’s all about how I want to express the things in my head.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT MUSIC SCENARIO OF NEPAL? WHERE HAS IT GONE WRONG AND WHAT HAS IT DONE RIGHT? YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON HOW IT COULD DO BETTER?
Everything is going good; there are a lot of musicians coming into the scene. It’s really good to see the music scene growing right now with a lot of new talented musicians emerging. But what I feel is going wrong is that many new musicians are covering songs. They are doing really good but I want to see people doing their own thing. I want to see artists using their own creativity and start making their original songs. I think they need to start changing the way they present their music and try something new so that even listeners feel that something is changing. In Nepal, we even have a lot of ethnical music and I want to see people experimenting with these along with trying to express themselves in the best possible way.
LASTLY, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU WANT TO TELL NEW MUSICIANS TRYING TO GET INTO THE MUSIC SCENE?
If you are scared that you might end up being a loser in front of people but if you still have that confidence to present your talent, then you are halfway there. Just don’t stop, just do what makes you happy. Don’t be scared, if you really want to be a musician, if you dream of being a rock star and see yourself in the mirror and say to yourself that you can make it, then I assure you that you can. There will be struggles in your journey but in the end its going to be worth it and it will start to pay off eventually.
Interviewed By: Prashant Manandhar| Photos: Gaurav Xhompate Sunuwar