When one wins a competition, one expects good things to follow. And when one wins a competition like Indian Idol, it is natural to expect opportunities. And when one not just wins Indian Idol but is the first ever winner like Abhijeet Sawant did, one would think life is going to be a bed of roses. However, reality is often stranger than fiction and many people would find it shocking that Abhijeet Sawant struggled for 8 years after his famous win. We were intrigued too and so in a chat with Jay-Ho! The Jay Kumar Show, Abhijeet Sawant shared more on his journey, pop music, and the industry.
In India, any singer hoping to make a name for him/herself in the music industry must be a playback singer. Pop music and making albums could be a great alternative but “In India, pop singing is nonexistent”. In fact, Abhijeet mentioned how he released two albums after Indian Idol, but the simple fact is that the pop and indie music scene completely declined during 2007-2008, leaving Bollywood as the only player in town.
Yes, but couldn’t he have pivoted to playback singing? Well, according to Abhijeet, entering Bollywood is very difficult especially “if one doesn’t have a godfather, a link, or a mentor. You need to establish a cordial atmosphere with other music directors through various marketing and PR efforts. So, certainly, as a musician, those 7-8 years were challenging for me.” Moreover, Bollywood music is like “a sea full of large sharks” where competing with legends such as Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, and Sonu Nigam, especially if one doesn’t have the connection and links. And thus, therefore, Abhijeet’s career progressed slowly, even as he kept trying, failing, and picking himself up.
The financial support of Abhijeet Sawant’s life
Not that, life was unkind to him. When he couldn’t progress much in Bollywood and producing an album in a declining market didn’t seem a choice, Abhijeet turned to live shows. “ The stage, though, was there to support me”. People would naturally connect him to Indian Idol and he even mentioned an anecdote where people would happily spend their balance for the supporting SMS. Thankfully, he would put on 8 to 9 shows per month and Abhijeet felt that he was progressing and was able to make a comfortable living “behind the camera”.
Indeed, it is only 15 years that Abhijeet felt confident that he could pull off an independent album. In 2014, he put out his third album “Farida” and traveled to Houston to shoot the video. Though musicians face the same choice between playback singing and solo albums, the era of the album is practically over in India. But, for Abhijeet, it is always about pushing the boundaries of music and growing as an artist. And we, at Jay Ho ! The Jay Kumar Show, couldn’t be happier for him and wish he would release more music in the future.