WOW | Musical Conversation

Robin Sharma – The Gift of Music

robin-sharmaAn iconic figure of Nepali music and media, his voice has mesmerised us with songs such as “Kun mandir ma janchau yatri’, ‘ juni juni lai’ and’ ‘ timi tesai lajayeu’ to name a few of his ever popular numbers.

After four decades in the industry, his voice is strong and resonates on an intergenerational level. Rajendra Sharma, popularly known as Robin Sharma, is Chairperson of Antenna Foundation Nepal, media trainer specialisesing in television and radio presentation, and faculty member of several colleges. Above all, his is a voice that stays in the head and heart long after being heard.
In this issue of musical conversation with Alan Rai of WOW, we walk down memory lane to meet the school boy from Kalimpong and his journey to fame. Excerpts…

You are seen and recognised as an exceptional and versatile singer, how did your love for music come about?
Versatile and exceptional are relative terms, we need to be very careful when defining these terms as the meaning may vary from one to another. I would consider myself not so versatile. I have not deviated from my choice of songs and music which is ‘Sugam Sangit’. I have stayed consistent with my style.

Who and what have been your greatest influences in music?
My interest in music began when I was a school boy. I would listen to euphony sounds and sing melodies in my school in Kalimpong and later Kurseong.

When did you decide to become a singer/songwriter and why?
It never occurred to me nor did I have any intention to become one. It all started as an interest which developed into passion and in the process of pursuing this passion zealously, I got into music.

How would you describe yourself as a person?
I consider myself simple, easygoing, ordinary and laidback.

How spiritually or religiously inclined are you? And does this have any connection with your music?
Not really, I was born a Hindu but I went to a Christian school and I can relate to Christianity to some level more than Hinduism, not that I am favouring Christianity. It’s just that I find Hinduism very deep and vague and I can’t find the time and energy to dwell in it, largely because I don’t see it worthwhile. However, I do pay visits to holy places representing different beliefs to find solace and peace and appreciate the serenity and distinctive sounds, but not for any religious reason. However, I do believe that there is higher power that governs us and everything.

robin_sharmaWhat does music mean to you?
Music to me is spontaneous expression from the innermost recess of your heart. It’s a powerful medium that can carry messages to the mass, and music has always been used to connect to the higher power.

What are some of your most memorable moments?
My first ever performance in Kathmandu way back in 2034 B.S where I shared the stage with Deepak Kharel and Prakash Shrestha for the first time in Sangeet Sangam. That has been the most memorable performance as it marked my foray on a musical journey.

Have you had any crazy fan encounters?
No, nothing out of ordinary. Just normal fans who wrote to me to express their appreciation for my music. Some, I never got to meet, and some I am still in touch with.

Which song challenged you?
I found it challenging to sing “kun mandir ma janchau yatri” for two reasons. One was because I had to meet the expectations and trust that was bestowed on me by Ranjeet Gajmer who took us to Mumbai to record the song. And second was doing justice to the lyrics by Maha Kavi Laxmi Prasad Devkota.

What advice do you have for aspiring singers?
I am worried as Nepali music is still directionless. My advice would be to create music essentially yours. It doesn’t have to be in a particular style, it simply has to sound and feel Nepali. The song and music has to connect us as Nepalis.

What is one thing you would have added to you musical journey?
I never knew this would be a marathon. I thought this was a 100 meter sprint that would finish fast and I would disappear into oblivion. Had I known my musical journey was to last four decades, I would have taken it very seriously, worked even harder, and stayed even more committed.

You are seen and recognised as an exceptional and versatile singer, how did your love for music come about?
Versatile and exceptional are relative terms, we need to be very careful when defining these terms as the meaning may vary from one to another. I would consider myself not so versatile. I have not deviated from my choice of songs and music which is ‘Sugam Sangit’. I have stayed consistent with my style.

Who and what have been your greatest influences in music?
My interest in music began when I was a school boy. I would listen to euphony sounds and sing melodies in my school in Kalimpong and later Kurseong.

quickpickWhen did you decide to become a singer/songwriter and why?
It never occurred to me nor did I have any intention to become one. It all started as an interest which developed into passion and in the process of pursuing this passion zealously, I got into music.

How would you describe yourself as a person?
I consider myself simple, easygoing, ordinary and laidback.

How spiritually or religiously inclined are you? And does this have any connection with your music?
Not really, I was born a Hindu but I went to a Christian school and I can relate to Christianity to some level more than Hinduism, not that I am favouring Christianity. It’s just that I find Hinduism very deep and vague and I can’t find the time and energy to dwell in it, largely because I don’t see it worthwhile. However, I do pay visits to holy places representing different beliefs to find solace and peace and appreciate the serenity and distinctive sounds, but not for any religious reason. However, I do believe that there is higher power that governs us and everything.

What does music mean to you?
Music to me is spontaneous expression from the innermost recess of your heart. It’s a powerful medium that can carry messages to the mass, and music has always been used to connect to the higher power.

What are some of your most memorable moments?
My first ever performance in Kathmandu way back in 2034 B.S where I shared the stage with Deepak Kharel and Prakash Shrestha for the first time in Sangeet Sangam. That has been the most memorable performance as it marked my foray on a musical journey.

robinsharmaHave you had any crazy fan encounters?
No, nothing out of ordinary. Just normal fans who wrote to me to express their appreciation for my music. Some, I never got to meet, and some I am still in touch with.

Which song challenged you?
I found it challenging to sing “kun mandir ma janchau yatri” for two reasons. One was because I had to meet the expectations and trust that was bestowed on me by Ranjeet Gajmer who took us to Mumbai to record the song. And second was doing justice to the lyrics by Maha Kavi Laxmi Prasad Devkota.

What advice do you have for aspiring singers?
I am worried as Nepali music is still directionless. My advice would be to create music essentially yours. It doesn’t have to be in a particular style, it simply has to sound and feel Nepali. The song and music has to connect us as Nepalis.

What is one thing you would have added to you musical journey?
I never knew this would be a marathon. I thought this was a 100 meter sprint that would finish fast and I would disappear into oblivion. Had I known my musical journey was to last four decades, I would have taken it very seriously, worked even harder, and stayed even more committed.