Sandeep Chatterjee can easily be described as a complete musician as he not just sings but also writes and composes songs. His recently released ‘Mood Melange’ brings forth his versatility where the emphasis has been on experimenting with different genres of music be it rock, folk, swing and EDM.
Gifted with a rich, melodious voice, singing has been a passion from an early age. He started performing at the age of six and matured as a performer during college. In 1996, Chatterjee took part in a major musical contest in Bangalore and was adjudged the “Best Male Singer”. During this time, he also recorded two songs for a music album. He is also multilingual singing in Hindi, Bengali and Oriya, with his repertoire cutting across multiple genres of Bollywood songs, Ghazals, Bhajans and semi-classical songs, Bangla Adhunik, Nazrul and Tagore Songs.
Based in Singapore for nearly three decades now, Chatterjee is now a well-known face on the music circuit. He has performed with many popular singers and musicians, most recently singing at a poetic evening featuring iconic Indian poet and director Gulzar.
India Se: Singapore is home to you now. How has this place supported you in your musical endeavors?
Sandeep Chatterjee: I have done everything worthwhile in the field of music after coming to Singapore. In fact, after recording two songs, I had stopped singing for many years. It was after coming here that both my wife and I pursued our singing interests. Our association with the Singapore Bengali Association and Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) helped both of us to revive our passion.
Starting from my first album ‘Khwab’ to my latest release ‘Mood Melange’ I have recorded six albums here and two more are in the making. I am extremely impressed with Esplanade Singapore’s efforts to organise quality shows for the public and directed many shows for them. Also TFA and SIFAS organises many quality shows for people pursuing Indian music. I also developed my interest in Bengali music genres such as Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Sangeet only after coming to Singapore. It feels so good that my album Birohi Papia Bole is appreciated so much. I feel National Arts Council should do more to support local artists and truly support Singaporean artists to make an impact outside as Singapore is a very small market.
India Se: Tell us a little about your music? Give us some details your latest releases?
Sandeep Chatterjee: I am still very much an Indian singer, so I write and compose both popular and Indian classical music based songs. In ‘Mood Melange’, the emphasis is more on experimenting with different genres and hence the word melange. I recently composed three songs for a short movie ‘O Meri Jaane Jaan’ which is currently being shown in Singapore Discovery Centre. These songs were also included in my music album ‘Mood Melange’.
I raised funds through Kickstarter for ‘Mood Melange’ and an album launch with live musicians is being planned at Esplanade on August 25, 2019.
India Se: With the growth of digital media, what are some of the challenges that musicians like you face? Or do you believe that these platforms are a boon for musicians like yourselves?
Sandeep Chatterjee: Channels like YouTube and Facebook are helpful to reach out to more people. One of my Bengali albums ‘Birohi Papia Bole’ is very popular in Bangladesh. That was possible through YouTube. However the music industry is like any other industry. You need to go through organised groups, TV shows, and marketing channels to make a real impact. One of the real problems of digital media is that not many are willing to buy music. Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Gaana etc hardly generate any major revenue for independent artists.
India Se: You have had a chance to perform at many venues with many well-known artists including Gulzar. What has the experience been like?
Sandeep Chatterjee: You are right. Being praised by Grammy Award Vikku Vinayakram for our performance ‘Damaru’ in Madras, accompanying Pandit Birju Maharaj on stage and doing an opening act for Gulzar are certainly memorable moments. I have also performed with Usha Uthup, Kavitha Krishnamurthy and many other artists.
India Se: Finally, who are your favourite musicians/singers and why do you like them?
Sandeep Chatterjee: I have deep respect for Noble Laureate Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam as a lyricist and composer. Together this duo composed almost six-seven thousand songs, which became the base for many other compositions whether in films or other genres. Among the modern age composers I admire R D Burman A R Rehman. I am a big fan of Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Manna De.