Nikhil Malik is a charismatic and versatile musician and composer from New Delhi, India. His international cultural background as well as his kaleidoscopic creativity allows him to work on his music from a truly unique perspective. His recent soundtrack work for independent feature film “M Cream” helped him gain momentum as the movie was well-received throughout the world and earned awards and nominations within some of the planet’s major film festivals. Nikhil’s creative dualism is really interesting: on one hand, he is fond of the cinematic orchestra vibes of big soundtracks, while on the other hand, he enjoys the punch and power of Hip-hop… eventually he’ll embark on a quest to bring the best of both worlds together! Currently working on a lot of interesting projects which include films, bands and commercials.
1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?
I got into the music business because I love music, simple. Although, I easily could have pursued music as a hobby but I just felt the need to push my music out to people because I feel that I have a knack for good sounds, melodies and beats. Moreover, its the only thing I’m purely passionate about. The Beatles are my all time favorites. Every time I’m inspiration-less, I go back to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and it somehow magically sparks some ideas in me.
2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don’t get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?
The music industry is a tough one to crack, I agree. I feel that if one truly believes in their message, there is no stopping them. I believe music and message are two really varied topics and people who are really talented and heartfelt can actually combine them both in the most powerful way and provide a “feeling” to the listener instead of just plain words and melodies. Most musicians I meet are just trying to perfect their music-making ability without having an actual meaning or direction behind it. They’re just trying to be in the game without actually knowing why they are doing it. Its a completely redundant exercise. Moreover I feel, if you solely want to make money, there are a million other ways to do so. The most important reason why I love music is because I can deliver my thoughts and ideas wrapped up in beautiful melodies.
3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?
I would like to have the resources of a major label and stay independent? Is that even possible? (Haha) But I’ve always been a fan of giving my music out for free. I can safely say that I’ve also been inspired by Chance The Rapper who gives his music out for free!
4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?
The music industry model has changed for many reasons, there are more musicians, music producers, bands, and DJ’s. Moreover, the internet has played such a huge part in providing ears to independent musicians. Selling music is almost non-profitable. Making hard copies of your music, for example Audio CD’s and DVD’s has decreased phenomenally. The only ways an artist can earn some money is through Touring and Merch. So, the game has completely flipped!
5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?
Well, at the present, music and art in general is just about the numbers. The number of views can have a big impact in the way the audience thinks about you or your music. Musicians have to market themselves like never before. Sometimes, I feel like I have to choose between writing a song or getting some pictures clicked and boosting them on social media… even though both are important but thankfully I always choose to write a song. Lets try staying true to the music for as long as we can, right?
6.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?
I lost my cousin in 2009 and it was a terrible time in my life. I was 18 and I was already working on my 2nd album out of my bedroom. I think he was very inspiring and always motivating. I think that incident really shaped my music and helped me become a better person and a musician.
7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as “sell-outs.” Do you see it that way and if so, what do you plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to “sell out”?
I don’t think “selling-out” is really a word that exists for me. If you consider music as a profession, there are profits, losses, expenses/bills to pay like every other business. Now if someone struggled really hard to reach the top, they will definitely reap gains! The people who we call “sell-outs” are actually hard working musicians who simply never gave up! I understand that they make format or template based songs but if they are having fun, makes them happy or helps them financially, there’s absolutely no problem with that. I don’t even feel in a position to judge anyone making any kind of music. Its music at the end of the day.
8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?
I would want my music to make people feel connected to who they are and what they feel and have no pretense, even for a second. Almost like being naked in this world and having a great time, no matter where are you are and what you’re doing!