One of the most promising Bollywood singer-songwriters in the Indian music industry, Jayant Sankla has the rare ability to switch seamlessly between commercial and contemporary songs. He’s also among the busiest musicians on the scene. Over the past nine months, Delhi-based Jayant has completed a sold-out tour of limited-capacity venues across the country; released the well-received single ‘Tere Naina’ with the label T-Series, and finished his third movie(after ‘NARAYAN’ and ‘The Wallet’) as a music producer – ‘Bagpat Ka dulha’ ft. Raza Murad.
Last year, he also did music for ‘FICCI’ and ‘FSSAI’ advertisements. We caught up with Jayant before a show and spoke to him about his preference for intimate venues, his love of Instagram and his Bollywood experience. Edited excerpts:
You’re somebody who likes playing at intimate, sit-down venues. How do you psych yourself up for large, outdoor gigs such as Off The Roof?
I don’t really prepare myself. You kind of know what to expect in terms of the sound on stage [and] the vibe with the audience. The reason I like intimate shows is that they’re less daunting. Maybe it’s the proximity or something about it [that’s] easier, more comfortable. Actually, my favourite way of playing is completely un-amplified, acoustic in the true sense, no public address systems, just straight guitar and voice, just like i do it for my favourite event curator ‘Table for two’ by Upasana Garg.
On a recent Facebook live chat, you said you prefer writing songs to performing. Has playing live gotten easier over the years? There are gigs during which you barely talk to the audience.
I don’t quite agree with that whole approach of talking too much to the crowd. A lot of the acts that I’ve really enjoyed have literally said nothing and just played their songs back to back. Initially, when I started out, everybody said, “You should talk to the crowd more”. That’s the prevailing sentiment, especially in this country. Audience interaction is the key. I would try to do it and it would be a disaster. I would freeze, mumble, say really awkward things. Not bad, just weird. That anxiety and nervousness has reduced considerably, and now I think I talk more than I ever have.
In contrast, you’re great at handling social media, and are always updating fans about what you’re up to. Do you enjoy the veil it offers?
It’s ideal. The internet is such a goldmine for really introverted people. Social anxiety is being in the presence of a lot of people where you feel you’re not wanted or you’re not included. The internet cuts that off. I primarily use Instagram because I realised I really like taking and putting up pictures. I don’t have to write anything; I can express myself in a more abstract form where I don’t have to say much.
Your single Tere Naina(2018) could loosely be termed a relationship record. Do you explore new themes on the Hindi EP scheduled for release early next year?
They’re all love songs. I am in love , yes. So a lot of the new songs are about what i am feeling right now. Who doesn’t like love songs? Haha.
What’s the Bollywood experience like?
Oh, it’s amazing. I always wanted to work in the Indian film industry, and i think I’m fortunate that I’ve got the chance to work in every aspect of music making be it writing lyrics, melodies, programming music. Singing and producing my own song is a lot different because I have the freedom to sing it the way I want. But I’m loving it here. Also my new film ‘Coat’ is lined up for the release.