When Nischal Nepal’s cover of the popular song “Shallow” from A Star is Born was out on his YouTube channel, it was noticed by One Direction’s former manager. Following this, he has released his own original songs Foolish, Medicine and She’s So Fly.
Foolish today has more than 15,000 plays on Spotify, a milestone in Nepal’s music career. And an exemplary triumph for artists, as many Nepali musicians don’t have access to a Spotify account.
Growing up, Nepal used to watch a lot of Nepali rap music. It was hard to miss the boom of NepHop. Elements of it could be found in every nook and corner of the industry. Before he became interested in music, Nepal had actually wanted to be a dancer.
It was only during his high school years that he shifted to songwriting and singing. Together with a three of his college friends, Nepal formed a band, Cordshy. The band produced two songs—Another Day and Temptation—and performed mostly for charity shows in the valley. However, Cordshy disbanded after high school.
But Nepal wasn’t done with music yet.
“Those two years were a very important part of my life. That’s when I found out what I loved doing. After school, I knew I wanted to study music,” says Nepal. He realized that he could work for hours and hours at his studio without ever feeling tired. His love for tunes and writing fueled him and provided the necessary inspiration every day. Nepal headed to Australia for his music studies.
Looking at his records, he has released all his music in English. The Week asked him if he ever planned on releasing Nepali songs. He answers, “I want to be an international artist. Because of that, I can’t release songs that would divide my audience. Right now, most of the people who listen to my songs are Australian. If I suddenly start singing songs in Nepali, it would confuse them. I’m trying not to let that happen.”
But he does have a never say never attitude. “Maybe, in the future,” he adds, smiling.
On the other hand, he agrees that a lot of his songs use melodies that have Nepali element in them. Subconsciously, he happens to blend those tunes and create music.
He is about to do his first show ever in Australia. “I love my work, really. I like every bit of it. Not just songwriting or singing. I enjoy PR, I love touring and performing,” he says.
Even though his family is afraid that he might not succeed or make a lot of money while pursing music, Nepal says that they have always supported his aspirations. The only thing he doesn’t like is how they make him sing during social gatherings. “It’s quite awkward,” he says.
He confesses that he loves pop music and that he enjoys listening to people who write and produce their own songs. If he had to pick a favorite, Charlie Puth’s “Attention” would be it.
And if he woke up tomorrow as one of the most iconic figures in the industry, he’d want to be Justin Bieber. “I admire him the most in pop-culture,” he admits.
Aside from Puth and Bieber, he also enjoys Skrillex & Diplo. If he got an opportunity to collaborate with anyone, it would be them. Nepal also holds Lana Del Rey in high regards, calling her an iconic female figure for musicians.
Nepal’s advice to his future-self would be, “Don’t rush. Don’t rush.” In fact, that seems to be his life motto. He started music during high school—having never ventured into this field before. He was in a band for two years—and those few months completely transformed his life. In the last five years, Nepal’s life has taken unexpected, strange turns. And yet, he takes it all in stride; one day at a time.
“I’ve always been good with time management. I’m studying, working, and producing music at the same time. But it never takes a toll on me,” says Nepal. To those struggling with managing their time, he has some sound advice: “Try to plan out your day. When you have a list, it’ll be much easier to tick things off one by one.”
Talking about the music industry in Nepal he laments that there’s hardly any commercial music. “We don’t have the culture of buying music. Many of the artists’ primary income is from YouTube. No one else is willing to pay them so they’ll perform wherever they can. There’s no culture of managing them, no team behind these people. Most of the musicians are handling everything by themselves which is why they tend to make so many mistakes,” he says.
“I think right now there are a lot of Nepali musicians who are doing a great job of writing Nepali songs. I don’t really promote Lok Dohori because they always use the same melody. There’s rarely any originality. And I don’t admire people who don’t evolve,” he adds.
Nepal had always loved Yama Buddha. “When I heard what happened, it took me days to get on with my days normally.”
With so many things that could drag him down—the constant chaos of a foreign land, a longing for home and struggling to make a name for himself—Nepal still writes, sings and produces music. Even though he has many inspirations, he lets emotions guide his work. “Rather than people, what inspires me is what I feel,” he says.
To anyone who is afraid of venturing into a new field, Nepal only has one thing to say, “What are you so afraid of? Go hungry, go broke, go experiment. Just do it.”
Perhaps this is the attitude that got him where he is. Nepal has big plans for himself, his career. And he can hardly wait.
“My primary goal is to get signed by Sony or Universal. Being a Nepali artist in a foreign country will not get me a visa to stay in another country. But if I get singed, I’ll get to perform. Even though I won’t be independent, I’ll be creating,” he concludes.