I make a song out of anything that refuses to leave my thoughts: Jasleen
The entire film industry is now standing up to get a better peak at the young singer, songwriter and now music director, Jasleen Royal who has composed the music of Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor. Jasleen started off young as a semi-finalist for India’s Got Talent where she wowed everybody with her ability to play multiple instruments. Here she talks to us about her musical sensibilities and realities.
From teaching music at 14 to collect money for a keyboard to a feature film’s music director at this young age! Walk us through your journey.
Music is all I have known and it has been a constant in my life. I was very clear since the beginning that music was what I wanted to pursue and with time, this feeling has only become stronger. I remember not attending college placements because of this and I feel a little scared even now when I think about it.
While I was in college, I auditioned for India’s Got Talent and made it to the semi-finals. That helped me connect with the right people and things started to pick up pace. I came up with my first single immediately after graduation. After that, more work started coming my way. That single also got me the MTV Video and Music award. My first real stint with Bollywood was singing ‘Preet’ in the movie Khoobsurat.
It has been an exhausting, demanding but a very fulfilling journey.
Tell us about your music. How do you define it and how would you say it defines you?
My music is an extension of me. It will tell you everything about me. I love poetry and I make a song out of anything that refuses to leave my thoughts. People say that there is a lot of unrest in my songs so maybe I am a little conflicted like everyone else.
How did Haraamkhor come along?
I am based out of Bombay and that’s how things function here. You meet people who understand music. So I met the producer of the film (Guneet Monga). She had loved “Preet”, my single “panchi ho javan” and my voice. So I played some of my songs for her. The strange part is that the director (Shlok Sharma) had also messaged me on Facebook. He didn’t know that I had met the producer already. So everything fell into place, beautifully.
What brief did you get from Shlok Sharma for the music of the film?
Shlok and I met and he showed me the film. The film evokes such strong emotions that there was hardly any requirement for a brief. We connected again after a couple of days and I played my song to him. He loved the song and I loved working for him because he is one of the most sincere and hardworking people I have come across here.
Were there any challenges you faced (artistically or otherwise) while composing the music for the film?
Frankly speaking, when I saw the movie, I was so overwhelmed and moved by it all that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I obsessed over it for two days straight. ‘Kidre Jawan’ was an idea in my head. I was compelled to work on it and give it a concrete shape after watching the film. It was like a trigger for me. I am really attached to the song and have held on to it for a long time. I couldn’t have asked for a better movie.
Tell us about your experience of working with Swanand Kirkire for ‘Maye Ni’?
I had released ‘panchi ho javan’ and upon hearing it, Swanand had shared it on his Facebook timeline. I was ecstatic when that happened because I have been a huge fan of his since his first movie came out (he doesn’t believe me though). We met soon after and I played him a scratch of Maye Ni. He said he loved it and was humming all along. I don’t know what I was thinking but I just asked him if he will sing it with me and to my surprise he said yes, without batting an eye lid!
Tell us about your process of making music. What are your inspirations?
The fact is that there are none. I try to feed my brain by reading, indulging in healthy conversations and obsessing over TV shows, listening to stories etc. I think that shapes my thought process and the way I function and sort of helps me make the music that I make.
Since you started off so young in the industry, do you have any mentors you can turn to for advice?
I have friends in the industry who have been here for quite some time. But we hardy discuss work when we meet. Catching up over drinks is a better option any day. But I do look up to some people I have had the chance to work with – Swanand Kirkire, Sneha Khanwalkar, Amit Trivedi and Sachin-Jigar to name a few.
What is your opinion on the current indie music scene in India?
I believe it is great. A lot of different genres are being experimented with. I personally believe a good song is a good song and it doesn’t matter if it’s indie or commercial.
What are your future projects?
There is Haraamkhor and Ghoomketu starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui again. Then there is another magnum opus which I cannot disclose yet.
What advice would you give to budding musicians?
Something as simple as, don’t give up and don’t listen to what they say.