KATHMANDU, July 21: Born and raised in the outskirts of Kathmandu, poet and singer Pradeep Chapagain knew deep inside that singing and writing was natural to him. He’s the author of three poetry anthologies: ‘Sireto Shishirko’, ‘Daandaa Maa Joon Chha’, and ‘Phoolharuko Yudda’; and singer of the debut album ‘Quarter Tone’.
Pradeep started singing 13 years ago during his college days in Pokhara. From the time he moved to Australia in 2008, there’s no stopping to his creativity. He comments that living in Australia as a Non Resident Nepali (NRN) is a blessing since he has the flexibility and freedom to write lyrics and sing Nepali songs.
In a chit-chat with Republica’sArun Budhathoki, the singer talks about his love for music, the hurdles he has faced as a NRN and the connection he yearns with Nepal through music.
How should people understand Pradeep Chapagain?
I am a fun-loving guy who grew up in a village called Chhaimale, near Dakshinkali temple. I finished my Bachelor of Civil Engineering (B.E. Civil) from University of Technology, Sydney in 2013.
I have been writing ghazals and poetry since the age of fourteen. I used to listen to Jagjit Singh, Mehdi Hasan, and Pankaj Udas during my childhood. They made me to dream and believe in myself.
How did you start your musical career?
I used to perform on stage as a singer. However, my first dream was to bring out my own solo lyrical ghazal album. I then contacted Gaire Suresh, a famous composer. We worked very hard for my debut album and featured big names likes Satya, Swaroop, Pramod Kharel, Reema Gurung Hoda, and Shiva Pariyar which came out in 2014. Luckily the ghazals received nominations in the prestigious music ceremonies, Hits FM Music Awards and Image Awards.
What inspired you to write and sing?
My biggest inspiration is Jagjit Singh. I used to listen to him a lot during my childhood through the radio program ‘Bul Bul’.
My friends always inspired me to take forward my love for music.
How do you write lyrics? What’s your take on Nepali music industry?
I write spontaneously. I write on my mobile phone when I’m in the kitchen, office, and even in the washroom.
We have many talented musicians in Nepal. The sad part is there are no album sales. But people have never stop being creative.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest music video, ‘Man Parchha’?
‘Man Parchha’ is my first single from my new album ‘Quarter Tone’. We shot the video in Sydney, Australia and the technical works were carried out back homeMy friend Aashiq Regmi directed the video.It has gathered over 100,000 views in less than ten days of its release on YouTube.
Is life sustainable as a musician in Australia?
It’s not sustainable if you are only a musician. As a Nepali singer you have a limited audience and market.
I would be an engineer if it was not music or literature.
Any message for young singers in Nepal and Australia?
Believe in yourself and dream big. It’s not always easy to do things that you love. If you have that ability to do something then let it out and show it to the world. You live only once, so why not.