Prateek Kuhad has been hailed by many as the poster boy of the Indian indie music scene. This is not surprising, considering the popularity of his own gigs, the number of times he has performed at concerts like NH7 Weekender, supported artists like Mike Posner, and his reach on social media platforms. Despite being given this label, he says that he views the indie scene with caution.
He defines his style as mainly Indie folk-pop, sometimes venturing into contemporary/alternative. His sources of inspiration range from thoughts, ideas, conversations, reflections, and experiences, among other things. He writes, sings, and composes his songs too. “I would describe my creative process as natural, organic, and instinctive. Sometimes the writing and composing occur simultaneously, other times they don’t,” he explains.
His song ‘Tune Kaha’ is about a number of things, from destiny, to conversations, and understanding your lover, while ‘Yeh Pal’ is about the fleeting nature of a moment. Anyone who is familiar with Prateek’s discography will know that most of his songs are centred on love, relationships, and life. This lends a very personal feel to his songs. When asked why he chooses to deal with these subjects, he said, “I don’t ‘choose’ to. It is what it is, right? Song writing comes very naturally to me.” He adds that art is an expressive process, and that he writes about what he feels. “Love is something that substantially moves me,” he says.
Prateek’s music is warm and mellow; it’s the kind of music you’d want to play on a date or while you’re unwinding after a long day. The sounds of his songs are light and simple, whereas the lyrics can get quite complex. The song ‘Raat Raazi’ for example, has an upbeat, peppy vibe, but one of the most memorable lines from it are “Chaaron aur aag hai, Ya taaron ka ye baag hai, Mehfil zaroor khash hai, Tu kaun hai ye raaz hai.” Prateek says that neither of these characteristics is the result of a conscious or deliberate effort.
Prateek writes songs in English and Hindi, and he does both with equal comfort. How does he decide whether a particular song should be in Hindi or English? “I don’t. When I start writing, usually during the initial part the of the process the song writes itself in Hindi or English, almost on its own.”
What does he define as a good song? Prateek says that good is a subjective term, and that recognising a good song is an instinctive process. He adds, “But if I had to say, I think there is a certain marriage that happens between words and tunes, which can only be felt. I can’t really put a finger on it, but when you hear a good song, you know it’s good.” Of his own songs, his favourite is ‘Flames’.
Prateek made his musical debut in Bollywood with the song ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahaan’ in the film Baar Baar Dekho. When asked if he intends to undertake more such collaborations with composers in the industry, he says that he does not foresee anything in this sense. “I want to work with creative, courageous people and engage in projects that excite me, as much as possible. Whether that comes from Bollywood or elsewhere is inconsequential,” he says.