Having been part of the Indian music industry for a decade now, Arjun Kanungo is one popular name in music circles. The year has been a busy one for the 31-year-old who not only tied the knot with his sweetheart, Carla Dennis, but also released an album, Industry, of 12 songs — 11 of them penned by him. The singer, composer, songwriter and also an actor and a sports enthusiast, recently performed at Dublin Square, Phoenix Market City, Kurla, sending his growing number of fans into a tizzy with songs like Baaki Baatein Peene Baad, Ek Dafaa and more.
In conversation with The Free Press Journal, the singer talks about his debut album, Industry, and plans ahead. Excerpts from the interview:
At a time when almost every singer is into singles, why did you decide to release an album?
The album was in the making for around nine months. I think it’s just the next step for an artiste who has been around as long as I have. I’ve done so many singles and now I am bored of doing singles. Singles are more like making a hit song, whereas in an album you got to tell the audience more about you, the artiste’s point of view, and express his/ her way altogether. It’s a bigger story, something deep to dive into for the audience more than just a single. A single is about one situation and an album is about the whole perspective. I am releasing part two of my album soon.
You also collaborated with International rapper Vault boy for Everything sucks on the album. How did this happen?
Vault boy came up with the original song. It’s a big international hit and I was excited to be approached for the song. He got in touch with me and said that he just did a Korean version with Eric Nam and wanted to do an Indian version. We connected and it just kind of happened. We did talk about it a few times, then he sent me the track I recorded my vocals here. We made a little lyric video for it and, hopefully, one day will make a music video for it. He is in America and our schedules are not matching at the moment. But I would love to go to the US, shoot some videos and come back at some point... Probably this year I’ll do it.
Arjun Kanungo at a concert |
What other songs make up the album?
There’s Foto featuring Rashmeet Kaur. We also have Ilzaam, which has become a big hit and got about 50 million views, and it’s completely organic, it is a beautiful song. Singer KING has done an amazing job on this song. He’s always been a great collaborator. KING and I wrote the lyrics of the song together. He came up with this hook line “ilzaam lage ke main badal gaya, kyu badal gaya, kabhi puch meri jaan, aasuon se bhara, samandar tha mera, tu tair na saki, aur main doob gaya”. There’s also Wapas Aa Jao that has a great video where we created this cute little animated ghost. Everything is a new experience to me and I like the whole process of making it you know. There is a small inner child in me who is always excited to do new things.
What song or situation changed your life as an artiste?
Baaki Baatein Peene Baad is the one song that changed me. Till I recorded this, I was struggling and from that point on it has been massive. Nobody knew me and after that one song I got several opportunities to work in this industry and I got to work nonstop since then. That’s what I always dreamed of. My dream was never to get famous. It was to keep working and that by itself is a privilege in this industry... to always have work.
We’ve seen a lot of your music videos. What is the inspiration behind them?
I have one rule, do not copy. Make what you feel out of your song. Do not refer or don’t see. I hate working with references. It’s such a common thing over here to say that I want this scene as they did in that song and this should be shot that way. You make a new video out of copying works. I say no, I would rather bring a thought to life. In my new album, I got complete freedom for the first time in my life you know, we got a whole team from the US to shoot it for us. We did it exactly like we wanted to do, we didn’t care if it did well or it didn’t do well.
Are there more collaborations in the pipeline?
Part two of my album is coming soon, which will surprise a lot of people. The first part of Industry is different from the second one.