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From Anu Malik to Sachin-Jigar, this class 10 boy is getting singing opportunities from top Indian musicians

Meet Aayan Vats from Apeejay School, Nerul, who aims to become a Bollywood composer and singer in the future

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At a young age, class 10 student Aayan Vats has already tasted the joy of recording music with some of the leading musicians in the country. The budding singer from Apeejay School, Nerul, is a student of Padma Shri awardee Suresh Wadkar and aims to become a Bollywood composer and singer in the future. So far, he has lent his voice to some Hindi and Gujarati songs as well as jingles. But how did his journey start? Know about it from Aayan in his own words:

‘My interest in music developed from my grandparents’

“I grew up listening to my grandparents sing bhajans and kirtans. My interest in music primarily developed from them. When my parents realised my love for music, they enrolled me in a class for learning the keyboard—I was in junior KG at that time. I continued learning for three years. When I was in class 2, my father got transferred from Delhi to Mumbai. So, we all came to Mumbai with him.

I took some time to settle down in Mumbai. After about a year, I went back to playing the keyboard and started playing songs on my own. My parents found I could sing too so they encouraged me to pursue it seriously. I began learning Hindustani classical music under the guidance of my guruji Pranab Mandal, a student of Ustad Rashid Khan, in Kharghar. I trained under him for nearly four years. Seeing my commitment to music, my parents thought they should enroll me in a professional training institute. In 2019, my parents took me to Ajivasan Music Academy, a music institute run by renowned singer Suresh Wadkar. I have been learning music since then.”

‘My experience of recording music for Anu Malik…’

“My guruji Suresh Wadkar’s sister Aruna ma’am once approached me to sing the title track for a cartoon series called Ting Tong. I was delighted and happily accepted the offer. That was the first time I recorded a song in a studio. I sang the title track with four other kids. Since then, I have been getting a lot of opportunities.

The other memorable experience was recording a song titled “Aao Chalen Hum” with music director Anu Malik for the movie Hungama 2. The opportunity came once again from Aruna ma’am. I remember the music director complimented us and also clicked a selfie.

After Hungama 2, I also sang for music director duo Sachin-Jigar’s Gujarati album. In 2020, Aruna ma’am called me during the lockdown and offered me the chance to sing the title track for fashion brand Allen Solly.

It has been a journey of learning for me. When you step into a recording studio, you need to have a different mindset because you will be singing for the masses. Besides, there is a lot of technique involved that one needs to be mindful of. I am glad that I am able to learn these things at a young age.”

‘Popular music director Amit Trivedi taught me the technique of composing music’

“My dream is to become a Bollywood composer and singer. So, it definitely means a lot to me to be in the recording studio in front of the microphone. There are many musicians whose work I listen to and am constantly inspired by. First, of course, is my guruji. My other favourite singers include Arijit Singh and Jonita Gandhi. My favourite composers are AR Rahman and Illaiyaraaja. I also listen to a lot of Western classical music like that of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludovico Einaudi, etc. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the legendary musicians at my music academy. I fondly remember meeting popular playback singers Shailendra Singh and Sukhwinder Singh. I also met Bollywood composer Shreyas Puranik.

This year, I am 88participating in Ajivasan’s music competition where I have been selected among the top 44 after clearing two rounds. Meanwhile, I have learned the technique of composing music from popular music director Amit Trivedi. I have also composed music tracks at home under his guidance.”

‘My father drove for three hours, one side, to take me to my music class’

“In my journey so far, my parents have supported me immensely. When I started learning music in 2019, my father, despite his official meetings, would take me to my class by car—it took three hours to reach. As for the music competition auditions at Ajivasan or recordings, my parents have always encouraged me and have always taken out time to take me to the venue. My parents have advised me to balance my academics and music and I am trying my best to follow their instructions. Currently, I am focusing more on my board exams but have not given up on my Riyaz. I make sure to practice music for about three days a week for now since my exams are approaching.

Similarly, my teachers at Apeejay Nerul have also been very supportive by allowing me to skip school for music recordings and competitions. My academic coordinator and class teacher have supported me in managing my studies while also pursuing music.

From what I have learned through my experience, I would say it is very important to discover your passion and dedicate yourself to it. My goal is to study software engineering abroad. Like AR Rahman, I want to master both Indian and Western classical music and blend them into the music I create in the future.”

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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