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'I had to beg for ‘Teri Baaton Mein’ to be released': Singer Raghav on his iconic song going viral after 18 years

The Canadian singer-songwriter shares his struggle to create an identity in the music industry, working with AR Rahman, Abhishek Bachchan, and more.

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Oshin Fernandes | Updated on: Friday, April 15, 2022, 12:18 PM IST

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Raghav, whose song ‘Teri Baaton Mein’ took the music arena by storm in 2004, is overwhelmed to know that his track is loved and grooved to even today. It was recently featured in the Oscar-nominated film ‘The White Tiger’ (2021) starring Rajkummar Rao, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Adarsh Gourav, which breathed life into the song once again, making it a reel favourite for social media users.

In a candid conversation with The Free Press Journal, the Canadian singer-songwriter shares his struggle to create an identity in the music industry, working with AR Rahman, Abhishek Bachchan, and more.

Raghav says that he didn’t anticipate ‘Teri Baaton Mein’ would have a global reach. He says, “I had to beg for it to be released. The label at the time wasn’t convinced of it and only released it after much pleading and yet it has stood the test of time. I’m lucky that the track resonated with the youth back then and surprisingly even the new generation, particularly online.”

Recalling his journey, Raghav states that it was hard for him to crack into the international music space. However, things turned more difficult after his early success. He explains, “Indian music industry changed big time where MTV only played Bollywood, and internationally the major labels felt the Indian moment was over. But I didn’t have a culturally ambiguous name, and my music was steeped in its Indian-ness. Despite the fact I was outselling my label mates and industry colleagues, I was treated as a novelty. I was too Indian for western countries and not fully Bollywood enough during an era where pop music wasn’t given the same stage as a few years ago."

In 2012, Raghav collaborated with music maestro A. R. Rahman for the song 'Ishq Shava' from the 2012 film 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' starring Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, and Anushka Sharma.

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Sharing his experience, Raghav says, “A. R. Rahman believed in me at a really difficult point in my life. I love him. He’s a genius beyond what we even fully understand today. I learned a ton from him and am proud to call him a friend, that’s what I cherish the most.”

“The Indian music industry has been extremely rewarding for me but also a place filled with dishonesty. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older to deal with the latter but most of all, it’s filled with talent...wealth of talent. Our culture has it all. We've just about scratched the surface,” he adds.

A couple of years later Raghav joined hands with Abhishek Bachchan for ‘Until the Sun Comes Up’ which also featured American rapper Nelly.

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Revealing how the project happened, Raghav shares, “Abhishek told me a story about how much Nelly had meant to him and how Aishwarya had bought him a signed gift from him. So much to learn from him always, the way he carries himself, his spontaneity, and his congeniality. If one person had been born into a situation that allowed him to feel entitled, it was him. Yet he’s incredibly genuine, kind, funny, and humble.”

Although the trend of remakes and remixes has left music lovers divided in India, Raghav, whose popular songs like ‘My Kinda Girl’ as well as ‘Angel Eyes’ incorporated melodies from evergreen tracks like ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ and ‘Murder She Wrote’ respectively. The singer maintains, “I’ve never remixed a record, I’ve honoured them by incorporating them collaboratively through original compositions. Remixes are whack to me, I don’t get it. It’s not what I do.”

Although it may seem that Raghav has been missing in action, he asserts that he did roll out many tracks over the years but it was difficult to amplify them to the degree of his album ‘Storyteller’. He believes that now is the good time for his second innings. “I'm loving the fact that although out of sight, I haven't been out of mind! Hope my fans feel it was worth the wait. I owe it to them big time,” he says.

When asked if he feels the pressure to stay relevant given that he has always been a 90s kid’s favourite, Raghav says that he simply wants to be a genuine artist. “Being this loved and part of people's memories and happiness even so many years down the line is overwhelming. It’s changed my life. I’m touched. I make sure my art is always made to further my legacy as an artist, not my Instagram followers or my bank account,” he signs off.

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Published on: Friday, April 15, 2022, 12:18 PM IST