“Taking the risk, chasing your dream, and acing your career.” That’s the motto Anand Bhaskar stuck to, which made him one of the alphas in the music industry.
The voice behind the wildly popular songs ‘Munna Rap’ and ‘Raakh’ from Mirzapur, Anand Bhaskar, is an Indian playback singer, music producer, and composer well-known for his soulful music. After leaving behind a high-profile corporate job, he pursued his dream in the music world. Anand Bhaskar’s debut as a playback singer in Bollywood with ‘Get Ready to Fight Again’ from Tiger Shroff’s blockbuster Baaghi 2 was followed by a playback performance in the song ‘Shaabaashiyaan’ in Mission Mangal and composing songs for Mirzapur (seasons 01 and 02) which received widespread recognition.
Since then, Anand Bhaskar has come a long way from forming a band, Anand Bhaskar Collective, known for their unique sound and loyal fanbase, to composing the score of Amazon mini TVs film Gray, web series Masoom on Hotstar & Dr. Arora on SonyLIV in addition to composing songs on Netflix’s Bombay Begums’ OST. From a brand new album in the works with ABC and scores and songs for new web series and films, Anand Bhaskar is on the brink of stardom and creating a wave in the Indian music industry.
Q) What was your childhood like?
Anand Bhaskar – My childhood was very healthy, considering my parents have always been very supportive and understanding of my choices in life. I’ve always been encouraged to do what I want, and there was never any resistance regarding my passion.
They’re the reason I started making music in the first place. They identified that talent in me and started pushing me towards classical voice lessons and, in general, giving me holistic growth in terms of music. I’d say I was lucky enough to have a very well-rounded, healthy childhood. All in all, it was a great childhood when I look back at it.
Q) How did singing start?
Anand Bhaskar – In school, when I think I must’ve been around four years old, in the “music period” we had in school, our music ma’am asked if anybody knew a song. And I’ve been shameless when it comes to singing as a kid. I raised my hand. I sang a song from a very old movie – Abe-Hayat.
The entire class was silent when I sang the song, and my teacher was behind. When I finished the song, I heard big applause from behind me. I turned back to see that all teachers in the school had gathered there. My music ma’am had gone and brought everybody.
My ma’am told me that bring your parent to the next PTM. I was scared (laughs). So my mother went and met her, and my ma’am told her that I had a good hand at singing, make sure it doesn’t go waste.
I think God has been very kind to me regarding whatever little talent I have when it comes to singing.
As a musician, my goal has always been to become a music composer. Singing was just one of the things I think I’m decent at. It was always a stepping stone for me to become a composer, which is what I am doing.
My wife is the second person responsible for me being a full-time musician. When I decided to quit my job, I called her and told her that I couldn’t do this. And she said – “Screw this, you’ve always wanted to make music, you’ve never given it a shot, do it.“
My question to her was – “How do we pay the rent?” She was like – “In any case, they are going to pay you for your notice period, and we’ll see in the next 6 months if music is a viable option. If not, there’s always an option to go back to a job.” Thankfully, I didn’t have to go back to a desk job.
I started approaching production houses and started singing for ads. That was my start.
I saw music as a business first because I always already knew it as an art form, so I saw it as a business this time.
I should go and attack the projects that would pay my bills. Advertising was the easiest to get into. And because I came from an advertising background and understood strategy, planning, and sales, I approached my music career similarly.
I made sure that within six months, I was making decent money so that my wife didn’t have to bear the stress of finances on her own. I could make more than the monthly salary of my job in just 5-6 days. So I had the remaining 20-25 days free to focus on my band, focus on learning music production.
2018 was when I started to learn about music production, and it was around the same time that Mirzapur happened, and the rest of my journey happened after that.
Q) What was the best moment of your singing career?
Anand Bhaskar – In my career, I’ve worked with some of the best directors, like Karan Anshuman, Mihir Desai, Gurmeet Singh (Mirzapur), and Imtiyaz Ali sir (Dr. Arora). So I think those are all the high points of my career as a commercial music composer.
Every director that I’ve worked with has been a school for me. I’ve learned so much about composing from filmmakers. And I think those realizations and experiences have been my career’s best, most celebrated points.
One of the best memorable moments for me in my career as an independent musician was when we played NH7 2019. I remember I was backstage, and my band was doing a huddle, and when they announced our name, a roar came up from the audience. I couldn’t believe that! When I went on stage, it was just people from as far as my eyes could see. So I feel that had to be one of the best moments in my independent music career.
Q) What’s your perspective on success?
Anand Bhaskar – To be very honest, I don’t know if I’m at a place in my career to answer that (laughs). I still feel I’m not successful, but if success were to be measured by the fact that you get to do what you love for a living, I think I would be successful.
When I took up music professionally, it was the best decision ever. I became a much more positive person. I started smiling more. I used to not smile, even for photographs (laughs). I started feeling more energetic. So in all those regards, I am successful.
I still think I have a long way to go regarding my profession. First of all, I started very late in life. After ten years of working in the advertising industry, I started working as a composer, so I feel my growth has been fast, considering I’ve only been doing this for eight years.
In contrast, I’ve been told that it takes longer, but thankfully, God has been kind, people, filmmakers, my friends have been kind, and my fans have supported me. So I’m nothing without them. I wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for them. So I’m fortunate to have those people in my life.
I think that’s another yardstick for success: you have these people rooting for you. People make you; you don’t make people. These people are looking out for your, rooting for you; you’re in their prayers. Every time you achieve something, they celebrate. And I think that’s a great definition of success.
Monetarily, I would love to have a huge Bank balance (laughs). Not just for the fact that I want to build my dream studio, I’d want to buy stuff for my parents, wife, and friends, but also have so much capital that I can maybe start a music school or start a record label of my own, and start pushing artists that find it very hard to cut through all the things to reach somebody who’s working at a label. So that’s something that I intend to do in the future.
Q) What would you advise beginners in the music industry?
Anand Bhaskar – It can’t be just one piece of advice. Based on my own experience and career, I feel that the first thing should be practice. For example, for anybody who’s a singer, your voice is your instrument; make sure your instrument is always polished. And it goes for everyone in the music field- guitarists, drummers. You don’t know when you’d be required to perform and present your skills, so you need to be at the top of your hand. So practice every day.
Secondly, I feel that you shouldn’t be too emotional about your music career. Reserve your emotions for your performance, but don’t spend them on the business. You have to understand that music is still very unstructured as a business. It’s not like a corporate job. It’s a creative field; no agencies or companies give music a corporate, salary-based environment.
You need to understand that first; you need to be open to doing all kinds of jobs; by that, I don’t mean doing jobs that are uncomfortable for you, but jobs that are fun for you. For example, for me, I have a lot of fun while singing ads. They may not be the most creatively satisfying jobs, but I get to sing a lot of different genres and have a lot of fun in the studio, with the composers, with the mixed engineers.
And I also get to record on some of the best microphones in the world. In India, we have some great studios, especially in Mumbai. I also get to record with some of the most experienced people in the industry. Everything is some learning.
The music industry can sometimes be demanding, so ensure you’re ready to deal with it. And lastly, pay a good deal of attention to your health. Both physical and mental.
Anand Bhaskar is an intensely motivated and determined person when it comes to music. The risk he had taken years ago to follow his passion, along with the hard work he put in, is what gave him the success he has today.
Watch Anand Bhaskar sing and discuss his experiences in the music industry on our YouTube Channel.