We recently caught up with Jazz Pianist Anurag Naidu. It was an immense opportunity we explored having Anurag talk to us on what inspires him and other key factors for aspiring pianists and the scope of the matter. Anurag enojys reading novels when he is not playing or composing. He prefers reading something by Prouste. Born to a musician father, relationship with music and Piano ran a natural course as there was an inevitable inclination, which was strengthened down the line by formal education. As a five year old toddler he played the Harmonium, Piano touched his heart at the age of 9. Around this time Anurag first heard "Für Elise" by Beethoven, played by a girl. He was immediately captivated by the sounds of it and altered his perspective of the instrument until eternity. "I wanted and yearned for that sound"
What got you into this genre?
After playing classical music for so long, I felt I couldn't express what I felt. I got tired of being the medium and wanted my own voice. Hence I moved to Jazz as a genre. And I recently released my Jazz album called "J'ai Fame" Recorded in Paris. Head to Spoitfy and check it out.
Tell us, what does a typical day in the studio mean to you?
I generally enter the studio to record, which for me is live music. Inspiration comes from the compositions written over a long period of time and from my personal experiences in life.
Not necessarily monetary, how have the rewards been so far in this career?
People have an extreme reaction to my music. They either hate or love my music. I think as long as people have a reaction to what I say. I'm happy. As long as they walk away from the concert, or hear my album and think about it once it's played through. I'm happy. And I think that's happened, so I'm happy.
Tell us about your new music project?
My latest work focuses on a solo piano project. Which include compositions as well as some standard interpretations. Solo piano for me pushes boundaries, to be more flexible than ever before. I wish to explore complete freedom of saying something. Which means there are liberties with what I can do and responsibilities as well that compounded.
Haven't thought of a name. Quarantine seems like a good name for now. Little cliche but it works.
How has the struggle been so far to your current stand?
Never saw it as a struggle. It was always wonder. There were bumps, but it always taught me something new. As long as I was happy doing what I do, I always learned and grew. So I was always happy. The path ahead is tough if I want it to be. I can sit back and reap the rewards. Or I can stand up and push the boundaries harder. And I choose to do the latter.
As all Indian jazz musicians we face a certain amount of discrimination. We can play as good as the expatriate, but will never have the same respect, whether in words or monetary. It's changing a bit though. Things are getting better.
And to beginners, what’s the best piano to start with and why?
Do not give up. It's tough but it pays off. Practice. There's no substitute. There's no shortcut. Sit on the piano bench and work. It will come to you. Always enjoy the process and stop looking at the end result or goal.
What is one attribute of this industry that is a boon?
Doesn't matter who you are, your race, origin, last name it doesn't matter. If you can play and contribute, people will flock to work with you.
What is the one attribute of this industry that is a bane?
Due to fear, a lot of people wanna use formulas that already exist. Too many middle men who want to speak for artistry as if they know a lot about music, whilst just holding some MBA degrees. It would be cool if they just lay off and let the musicians be musicians.
What are the different types of piano available and which ones the easiest and the hardest?
It's complicated. Pianos are like shoes. I need to know the person, their requirements and level. It's best if you get in touch with me over instagram. @le_prof_ici_ and I can help you out with the right one.
What advice would you give to Piano enthusiast learning for pleasure?
Digital and Acoustic. Digital may seem easier at the start, but there's a huge disadvantage when you move to acoustics. Again, it's a tailor made situation. So best get in touch and I'll try my best to help you out.
How has the recent pandemic affected your life and all/some of your 2020 plans?
I do miss playing with my friends, I miss the audience. On the other side, I do have a lot of time to practice and gain perspective on where I want to go from here. I did want to work on some production chops. The pandemic actually helped me gain time. So all in all, it has worked out pretty well for me.
What’s coming up for You down the road?
I'm hoping to finally kick start my organ trio project with the legend, Sanjay Divecha. There's a lot i've learned from him in the past year. I hope to take it forward.