"Work Hard. It's the Only Way" - Pratika Prabhune

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1. Tell us about your background and journey? 

It's been a long journey, to be honest. I started playing bass at the age of 12 in a metal band from Mumbai called Chronic Phobia. I then went on to doing vocals - growls + singing. 

Simultaneously, I started volunteering to work at music festivals and kicked off a career that I take as my 'day job' today. I've always been a singer, capable of adapting to whatever style is needed.

Singing career-wise, I've done a few jingles for brands like Westside (clothing), Adidas, Mahindra, and more. I've also sung many songs on the Zee5 web series Rejctx's first season, whose music was directed by Sneha Khanwalkar.

Music business career-wise - I have worked in marketing and communications at music companies BAJAAO.COM, Furtados Music, 4/4 Experiences, and now I am Digital Marketing Manager at record label Azadi Records for over a year. 

I have worked at music festivals and pub gigs in artist programming and management, public relations, social media and content management, stage and production, hospitality and more.

I thought while I have the time, I'll release some music along the way too, and that's exactly what I've been doing for the past few months. Metalhead at heart, but listen to and sing all styles of music. :)

2. When did you first decide, you wanted to pursue music and how did you start? 

I mentioned my journey above on how I actually started.

I used to sing since I was a kid - for annual functions, in Church, etc. I always knew I wanted to pursue music, just didn't know all of my life would be music! Whether I'm an artist or someone with a day job, music is my constant.

3. Is formal training required or one can train oneself purely based on talent?

It's great to have formal training if there's something in particular you want to achieve musically. Many of my friends who are teachers too would recommend training because it strengthens your grasp on understanding music and theory which is always a plus should you decide to pursue it professionally or as a session musician. 

You also can't complain about formal training anymore and the accessibility because we have the internet today. For me, I've never been trained or taken any formal training to play bass or sing. I would but it's tough to make the time right now in life, I hope to someday. 

Singing was just something that came naturally - songwriting, even more naturally. A couple of years in the Church choir helped me discover how strong my voice was compared to many others and that was my main morale boost. 

Writing lyrics and even beats kinda come easily over many many years of listening to different music. I do believe that warm-ups and vocal exercises are a must though. Just like any warm-up before exercise too, your throat, lungs, and tummy need to be prepared for this kind of activity.

4. What are the various opportunities available for an aspiring musician?

You can be whatever and whoever you want to be if you set your mind to it. There is formal music education (instrument playing, vocals, production) through professional institutes offering them - True School of Music (Mumbai), Swarnabhoomi (Chennai), and many more. You could study music if that's something you're looking to do, or obtain a degree doing it.

You can play in various bands, start one of your own, put your music out on streaming so the whole world can listen to it. I can't suggest live shows because of the pandemic, but there are ways around it for different kinds of music you aim to make.

Honestly, I come from a very independent music background. The kind of music I've been into all my life (metal) has less numbers in terms of listening or even sponsors/investors in this genre. Making money has never been a priority, it's about sending the music and message across to people. 

I've made songs in different genres because, well, I can. Hip hop is one of the genres I relate most to after metal, and releasing a single was just me putting out an important message, it's what I see music is for - like a universal language.

While I wouldn't discourage you from seeing the number of people I know doing well for themselves, think about it really well, and work very very hard towards what you're doing. If something were to happen and my songs blow up, yay! Good for me!

5. What piece of advice you would like to give to future and aspiring artists?

Work hard. It's the only way.

6. Who is your favorite artist and why?

I don't have a favorite artist, to be honest. It's a whole bunch of bands and different people, personalities that I get hooked onto all at different times of the year. From metal band Lamb of God to pop singer Jessie J, there's a lot happening!

Listen to as much music as you can when you can. Understand why other people listen to different music, and always give it a chance, try to make sense of why people express emotions the way they do.

- Pratika Prabhune, Musician
- Interviewed by Kedar Lalwani
- Edited by Shilpy Sharan

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