Whether it’s a 4-piece horn section, synthesizers, heavy guitars or just a single acoustic guitar, Tejas’ musical adventures have taken him to places that have allowed him to push well past his creative limits, all while keeping one foot firmly in pop-rock. Tejas’ lyrics speak about his own life and stories inspired by his own journey to find his own identity, having lived in multiple cities and having grown up outside his home country and his vocal delivery is pretty sweet too, echoing a blend of Craig David, Sting and Amos Lee.
Anara Publishing talked to Tejas about his musical journey and how publishing helps his current career.
Tell us about how you started making music or what initially got you into music?
I started writing very informally at 18, but mostly for myself and for friends to listen to. I didn’t actually play a gig until I was 22. I thought I had some decent ideas musically, and because I loved singing and making melodies, but never because I thought it would actually go somewhere. I wanted to write for movies and television (something I still want to do) but I mostly stumbled into this profession.
What is your typical song writing process? Is it the same every time? Do you have any routines to get you in the creative frame of mind?
No real fixed process, I just try to play everyday and to be disciplined about writing something or anything every time I pick up the guitar. Some stuff is good, most is terrible, but you’ll never hear those tunes! These days because of commercial work I get less time than I used to, so I have to make sure it counts when I try and write. I also spend more time dwelling on the subject matter than I have before. What is it that I am trying to say thematically in this phase I’m in? How can I do it in the most evocative and efficient way? That’s basically what I try to boil it down to.
Can you describe a pivotal moment in your career?
I definitely think taking the 2 weeks off to record my first album really made me understand the value of what I was doing. The first time I heard my own songs in HD with a proper band and arrangement, I knew this was something I needed to do more of, and I’ve tried to keep making albums to remind of that.
How important do you think publishing representation is for artists and composers?
Publishing is getting more important for me with each project I complete, whether it’s for myself or writing for another artists. It’s just a revenue stream that young artists really need to think about considering that it could serve you forever technically. Just the ability to reap the rewards of creative output over a longer period of time, that’s what publishing does for artists.
Who would you say has been the greatest influence on your music?
I think songwriters like KT Tunstall, Sara Bareilles, John Mayer, Paolo Nutini, Beck, Sting and others have really shown that the best work is done over a long period of time. They keep writing and putting out quality records and that’s the real job of a songwriter. It’s to consistently produce moving material to echo the times and state of society.
You’re from India, could you tell us what are the current musical trends and how do you think your music fits these trends?
Haha I’m not sure I’m the best musician to answer this question, since I feel like I try to do what I like most of the time, which usually isn’t what is trending. I think acoustic ballads and hip-hop are quite big in India, you can always tell by what Bollywood picks up to make mainstream, just like any industry. I’m still trying to make very big ambitious sounds with my music, but I think where it works with people is that it is still pop in nature. I think people who love pop music can still find the heart of what I’m trying to say with every track.
Do you have a favourite use of music in TV or Film?
I love the show House and medical dramas always had some great syncs in them to convey the overall emotion of the episode. I remember Re:Stacks by Bon Iver in a pivotal episode of House working perfectly to convey the melancholy of the show. That was really great.
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters/composers?
I’d say try and have a working knowledge of all aspects of the business of music; you don’t have to be an expert but it will really help set you up in the long run with management, booking, publishing, licensing etc. Always good to set yourself up in a way that labels know you are serious about your craft.