I wish someone told me when I first started that perfecting songs is not super important and your first album is not everything, instead focusing on working on more and more songs should be the prime goal. In my first album Emotions I had a couple of great songs however I took a long time to perfect those, as perfection is subjective, It delayed my work by two years. it should have taken only 6 months.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Atul.
International pop artist, Atul, is an Indian-born singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. His song “Good Meal” from the album Emotions received noticeable radio play. Atul displays an eagerness to prove himself artistically by creating music that is entertaining to listen to alongside videos that are fun to watch. He is currently working on his second album where he has co-written every song and is safely social distancing by recording and producing the entire album at his home studio in Los Angeles.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I’ve had an interesting journey. I grew up in an Amazing country, India. I used to live in a village that was filled with music, that’s where I learned to play the drum (Dholak) and singing, later on I moved to close by the city Rewa. I started focusing more on studies there as I didn’t know at that time what I wanted to do. Also my parents were like “you gotta be first Engineer then become whatever you want to be,” so I followed the path to get a computer science degree from Hyderabad, where I started participating in musical events and I recall I performed in front of the President of India at the time! After spending some time retrospecting, I made a decision that I’ll move to Los Angeles after my graduation to follow my Music Career. So I saved up some money and moved here, thank God my family was quite supportive of that.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was doing B.tech in computer science and while forming my band there named “Avant Garde,” I truly enjoy participating in musical events and entertainment. After graduating from college I decided I’m going to move to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. I moved here in 2012.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I remember I was singing Linkin Park in Hollywood across the street when I moved here and later found out that they are playing at Jimmy Kimmel Live, I left the events early and got in line and got to see them, it was amazing.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We went to shoot a video in Death Valley without a permit as getting a permit was quite tough, we booked a single hotel where we were like 6 people staying include talent, we started shooting during the day and police stopped the shoot and asked us to give them the footage or go to the police station, luckily at that time I was a student so I could use my student ID to show that it is a class project. We got away with it. Lesson learned: don’t shoot anything around Los Angeles without permission, it’s not fun.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m very hyped about my current projects, I’m working on new songs and albums. We have a video shoot for the song “Not my Cup of Tea” coming up. I’ve also started a record label — Swar records. My main goal is to write music, create entertaining content and enjoy it all while doing it.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity is like a food with multiple ingredients that creates different flavors, without it your taste is pretty flat. Genres mixing has been done in Pop music a lot as well. Influences from different nation’s music have often been applied to create something unique, I think it is very important to have diversity. I do see LA has a lot of diversity in Music, be it in Electronic or Classical or sometimes songs from two different languages.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I think we always have plan B if we fail at something because we have fear of failure, I wish I never made a Plan B. It would have saved me a lot of time. Because of a degree in computer science I could work as a software engineer and that was always a plan B, it gives me comfortable life however because of that I feel like I wasn’t able to fully focus at the starting in the music.
- I wish someone told me when I first started that perfecting songs is not super important and your first album is not everything, instead focusing on working on more and more songs should be the prime goal. In my first album Emotions I had a couple of great songs however I took a long time to perfect those, as perfection is subjective, It delayed my work by two years. it should have taken only 6 months.
- Daily practice is very important now for me, I used to wait for inspiration to write songs but turns out you can’t really depend upon it, daily practice and daily writing is what will bring the best songs out of you. Also because I didn’t know how to play piano I started practicing daily and now I’m quite good at it. So daily progress is what I should have done from the start.
- Finding the right people is very important in the industry, It took me a while to have judgement to select the right people. I wasted a lot of time with the wrong people around.
- Do not lose your “rootedness,” I had moments in life when I thought about leaving everything behind and moving forward in a way that would make me free, but it built up an empty void and I was missing it. I think what I found great is now that I’m more rooted and have people around me that I love and enjoying the process of creating good content.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
- Enjoy the process, if you aren’t enjoying it, it won’t last long.
- Set a deadline for you so that you know what goal you have achieved by what time.
- Build a team around yourself, don’t do everything by yourself, it is not good, think about other people being AI that works while you aren’t working.
- Read the book “Think and Grow Rich”, to summarize, just have one plan and follow through as if your life depends upon it.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
One thing I’ve noticed, that goals are temporary, however the values are long term, if you have great values that align with your goal, your life will be much happier and thrilling to live. I noticed that my key value is “growth.” I like growing and excelling in the field and learning new things, it has helped me to stay in the industry for quite a long time and I still have the same drive I had 10 years back.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I think just putting a particular person in the list would be unfair to other people that have helped me a lot, most important my friends and family who have been quite supportive throughout the journey and giving me motivation, which you always need when you are insecure.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I really like reading autobiography and life lesson books. One quote that I can share that I really like is a Quote from Kobe Brant — “put all the nuts in one basket, when you run out of them just create more.” I have read Think and Grow Rich multiple times and the motto I got is, if you gotta do something just do that and leave everything else.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
On the talent side I love Dua Lipa, it would be great to collaborate with her and write some great music together and go out for lunch/breakfast. On the business side I think Scooter Brown for just breakfast and lunch to talk about coming up with ideas.
How can our readers follow you online?
My social media account is
@atulmusic , you can follow me on twitter/Instagram/snapchat/Facebook
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!