Here is the most Inspiring Story of Brijesh Shandilya - The rustic & versatile voice behind our favorite Bollywood number ‘Banno Tera Swagger'
Shashi Prabha Tripathi
Vashishth Mani Tripathi
13th December 1980
Basti District, Uttar Pradesh
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Mumbai - The City of Dreams to lakhs of people across the country sure gives you wings to fly. But before the flight takes off, it makes you stronger and self-reliant. The methods are a bit harsh, but it is all worth it if your dreams ought to come true. Here we are talking about this soulful singer, who just like any other dreamer came to the city with passion and it did take him time to make a niche for himself, but our very own Mumbai has embraced him with love and luck. Hailing from Basti- a small town in Uttar Pradesh, singer Brijesh Shandilya grew up a rebel and cut to today; with the rustic touch and the raw feel of Indian roots to his voice, he has garnered massive love from the critics and the audiences. Being on the edge broke and doing small gigs to sustain a life and seeing the struggles of the big city, Shandilya has only emerged stronger than ever and is enjoying the way his career has shaped up. Having sung some of the most loved Bollywood numbers such as ‘Banno Tera Swagger’, Mushkil Hai Apna Mail Priye’ and many more in films like Airlift, Bhoomi, Golmaal Again Mukkabaaz Shubh Mangal Saavdhan and recently in ‘Badhaai Ho’; this songster has not only rocked in Hindi but also in the South Indian Cinema by singing melodious hits like Hali Hali, Sarrainodu and the list just goes on….. Over the years, this amazing vocalist has experimented with many genres and his capabilities as a Playback Singer knows no boundary when it comes to giving a soulful rendition to a song. The singer who shot to fame with ‘Banno Tera Swagger’ from gets nostalgic over an hour-long conversation about his journey.
We are keen to know; how did your journey begin?
Belonging to a small town in Uttar Pradesh where even today there is no legitimate commuting facilities, I grew up in a family that was alike every other household in UP. With a normal middle-class background and no connections with the media industry. I had no clue back then that I would land up here, in this position.
I always wanted to do something in the field of music, but with no support from family or any formal training I sung on the stage whenever I got a chance to perform, despite my family being against the choice. My Nana Nani helped me financially to get on board the Lucknow train for Allahabad and wished me luck. I learnt music from the Prayag Sangeet Samiti. Alongside I sang on some occasion, be it Bhajans, Sufi, Romantic, dance numbers or any other genre, I could sing it all. I firmly believe that being a good and versatile singer comes at a later stage, first one must have a versatile playlist to listen to, if you can listen to all kinds of songs then you can manage singing any genre and not be typecast. I function on this ability.
A. R. Rahman, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan
Food I Love
Simple Home cooked food - Dal, Chaval, Sabji, Roti
Had I not been Singer then…
A good human being working for the society and leading an impactful life
Like Vacations at
Favorite Past time
Shopping & Cooking
Dialogue from Sholay movie “Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti?” & Amitji’s dialogue from movie Kabhi Kabhie- “Kabhi kabhi Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata Hai”
Mother India & Sholay
Madhubala & Balraj Sahni
It was in 2003, that you can say professionally I made Rs. 500 for singing. It is a small amount now, but at that point of time, even that sum was a reassurance that I have done something well in life. After a lot of convincing from my friends, I decided to come to Mumbai. They said Brijesh, you cannot go far if you can’t think of achieving big. With their conviction I set foot to this city of dreams. I came to Mumbai in 2005 and about a year or so were spent on streets. After struggling to sustain myself in this hustling city for a few years doing some small events and stuff, I have sung in hotels at wee hours also to survive the livelihood. In 2006 I remember I got an offer to sing a song from a small studio. After struggling to get the right feet of the song for about an hour or so, the sound engineer happened to ask me if I sang in hotels, I said yes and asked him back why is it so demeaning? He said, “Sir ya toh aap hotel mein gaayiye, ya toh studio mein. Dono kafi alag hai”. (Sir, either you sing at the hotels or at the studios, both are different platforms”) I must admit that this bitter truth caught me, and I realized that singing in hotels does take a toll on your voice and affects the quality of singing. I then decided on to focus on playback singing. It’s been a decade since my stint as a Bollywood singer began.
What’s your success mantra?
There is no mantra as such that I can vouch for. In my journey of all these years, I have seen a lot of struggle but today I am in a good working space. I cannot really imply as to a success mantra. All I know is I cherish and celebrate the work that I get and don’t let the success get to my head and keep going along the flow.
What were the hardships / hurdles your encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
All the hardships and hurdles that I encountered came my way with time and eventually they passed along with time. There was no plan or strategies involved. It is only a gamble of time that lets you pass through the difficulties it brings along to make you stronger for the world. And I feel it holds true for every human being, in some or the other way we all face the hardships that life throws at us and eventually with time it passes. The only thing perhaps we can do is to maintain our calm and not give into the aggressions of the hardships, that will only make things worse and not any better.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
Failure is more important in the journey and holds more relevance than success. Because your failure decides the fate of your success. It is not wrong to say that failure is the stepping stone towards success. Having said that, the height of your success is predetermined by your failures. It is destiny that brings you those hard times, hurdles and the way you tackle them.Personally, I feel overcoming failures depends on how we treat it. Being negative about the bad times will always attract that kind of bad vibes. But when we stay positives in such situations, it becomes easier to sail through them.
Do you think Music and its learning’s can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
Music is the biggest healer for one and all. It helps us deal with our stress, anxieties, your soul reunites with its mate and it makes you forget everything around and you enjoy those moments. Music and its learning especially today when we have such hectic lives, is a way of meditation. And we all do escape our harsh realities when we listen to music or learn to play an instrument or sing. The connectivity that music offers to us is unparalleled to any other happiness, because it comes from within. And after that there is a new energy that we find to beat the hardships and move on.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
I must have been 10-13 years old when I was watching the movie ‘Yaarana’ starring Amitabh Bachchan and Amjad Khan, the storyline of the movie really inspired me as somewhere deep down I was dreaming to get a platform like Amitabh ji in the movie, where I could sing in front of the audience. That has been my dream, I guess hence it influenced me to such an extent.
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
Yes, I have trained for a few years in Allahabad at the Prayag Sangeet Samiti. Apart from that, as a singer I have learnt a lot in my journey. It is a perk for us singers that the training is not stagnant and happens over the course of your entire career. There is so much to learn from everyone around in the industry. A musician’s life is a learning experience each day.
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in Music?
Systematic training in music is essential as learning the 26 alphabets when you are growing up. But after knowing the basic knowledge, how you implement that training into focus is entirely up to you. For instance, consider learning the ragas that is mandatory. But after learning them & how a singer uses them in live singing and other occasions is determined by his/her grasp on the music and how passionately the music flows within them. There is no blueprint that needs to be followed while pursuing music. The only thing required is your passion and connectivity to music. Rest things will fall in place. You just keep flowing.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
I don’t feel there is a prerequisite criterion required. Music like nature, is god gifted and it does not require any kind of essentials like the right age or mindset. It is not necessary that if you start learning from a young age then you will become a great musician. Likewise, for the mindset. Music is a very chaste form of expression and no structural form can decide its flow. Besides, age is only a number and it cannot really help in deciding whether you are born to be a musician or not. There are people who start learning since young age but still struggle, whereas the ones who have started late get lucky because music and its passion comes from within.
Technology and scientific training have been changing the way people get trained in Music. What’s your take?
Certainly, it is overtaking the old format of music creation. Today it has become a lot easier and time saving for us singers to record in the studio than earlier when there was an orchestra of musicians ready to sync with the singers. Today the recording sessions only consists of a singer who can give retakes while the sound engineer propagates the flow of music. Computerized programming of music has made things simple and fuss free. However, a drawback of technology is that some of our renowned musicians are jobless. But even today, when you listen to some great compositions by A.R. Rahman, the acoustic feel of the song is still vivid. While the technology may be taking the music industry by storm, but nothing beats the age-old way of musicians performing along with the singer and the composer. It helps create an aura around the song. Still some songs manage to create history with their soulful rendition while others fade away sooner than they became a rage amongst the audience.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal training for Music?
For finding an ideal Guru, it is important that you have a taste of good music. Many times, it so happens that if the guru is not up to the mark, students who have no sense of music are blindly following them. But once a good student knows it, they do not hesitate to change the guru. And that is how it is supposed to be. You keep changing your mentors until you find the best in the profession. It is just like how people change jobs to find the best suited for them. In that process, you only grow as a person.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for Music in India?
We have ample amount of talent in the country that needs good music institutions. Today the scenario is such that a person who cannot dance well becomes a choreographer. In this digital age where there are tons of DIYs surrounding us, music needs to be remained unchanged and we need authentic and focused music institutions that trains students.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
Parents need to learn about their children’s feelings and understand them as an individual. This age of parents is doing a commendable job, they are encouraging and supportive of their kids and know how to appreciate that. Having said that, parents need to teach their children to not get acquainted by the praises that are bestowed upon. You don’t let the appreciation get to your head, else it will weigh you down and it will eventually affect the quality of your work. So, parents need to teach their children to not carry the baggage of accolades ahead of them rather keep it behind you and keep moving ahead. That way you will go very far in life.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…
Nothing really. I am not a person to look back and regret things. Yes, there are times when I do think of how life would have been if I would have been more successful. But that moment is brief, about half an hour or so. When I try to look back, I realize that I have already become successful than I thought. I would become and somewhere I am successful than other people who are yet to reach where I am. So, I don’t really let my past bog me down.
Any other thoughts you want to share?
Best wishes to all music lovers and a lot of love to my audiences. If there are any suggestions for me, do reach me via my social handles or even through the imd1 team.