His repertoire is wide -from Rock, Soul, Blues to Bollywood Ballads and Hindustani
This is Vijay Joshi, the popular musician and singer and erstwhile member of the popular Pune band ‘ The Strangers’ and now lead singer of ‘RLA’
With a family background in music, Vijay pursued his love with single-minded determination and today joins in to share his wonderful musical journey..
“Since childhood I had a passion for playing instruments and singing as the culture in my house was like that. My mother sings very well and my brother now is a disciple of Pandit Jasraj,” says Vijay.
“But I thought I should become a good guitarist. In 1982, when I was learning guitar from my master, he heard me humming while I was playing. He felt I have a good voice and told me that I should try singing as well.
“Just to give it a shot, I started with a Bollywood number and he liked it a lot.
“He then wanted me to sing in one of the upcoming annual events but insisted me to try something Western,” adds Vijay.
“At that point, since there was no easy access to Western music, I was only aware of the Beatles, Abba, Boney M and Jim Reeves.
“He gave me two songs, one of which was Bahama Mama by Boney M. The other challenge for me was to sing in Swahili language.
“There were two African students who were learning guitar with me and I had to sing along with them in Swahili. I wrote all those lyrics in English and the show was a hit,” says Vijay wisfully.
“At the same show, Pune’s best rock band, The Strangers, were also performing.
They approached me to be a vocalist in their band. From 1984 I started singing
and playing with The Strangers until 2000 when we all changed track and moved
on in our careers.
“We did the biggest-ever show in Pune, where almost 15,000 people attended our gig.
“Simultaneously, I was also singing for another band named Aryans (1991-1994)
with boys much younger than me. I am also trained in Hindustani Classical music.
“But the first time when I decided to get into music professionally was when I joined The Strangers. But in 1994, I thought of becoming a full-time singer and that’s how I landed up in Mumbai and from 1994 to 1997, I was freelancing in music,” he recalls.
“I did a lot of remixes, covers and jingles and while I was freelancing, I got
connected with R D Burman by coincidence. After listening to me, he was
convinced that he work with me. That was the time when I thought that I could
do something original of my own.
“I did my first song with Asha Bhosle.
“The second coincidence was when I met Anu Malik through a common friend. He told me to sing something and I started with Still Loving You, but before I could finish half the song he walked off. I was intimidated.
“Suddenly, through the speakers I heard someone calling me to the mixing room. The producer gave me a song to do right away. In two hours, we did a song
“But yes, Bollywood never fascinated me,” he adds.
“After a gap of five years, in 2006 with many other artists on board, we formed
Retro Legendary Act (RLA). In the 27 years of my musical career, I have seen people come and go. But whenever I worked elsewhere, I was also continuing my passion with the
band. In between I was also a part of a theater academy.
“My favourite singers of those times were the trio – Mohammed Rafi, Kishore
Kumar and Mukesh. Today, I don’t find much that appeals to me that can be on my list of favourites,” says the happy and content singer.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @KaurKaur18
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