Prateek Kuhad is restless. He fidgets with his phone, his hair or the guitar strings until he begins to sing. That’s when the stillness in his voice takes over, and he crosses over into the other realm. His music is like a soothing palate cleanser, a respite from the dhinchak, a unique blend of minimal, soothing melodies. His acoustic guitar, the piano and his clear, mellow voice are powerful weapons in his musical arsenal in creating a deep connection with the listener. Kuhad’s songs are not just about love and loss, his refreshingly open and intimate music is peppered with positive affirmations like, “I'll find another place to begin”. He turns virtues of patience, and perseverance into music.
No wonder why the indie-pop even found mention in the Former US President Barack Obama's tweet. As the year ends, Obama shared his list of his favourite songs of 2019, and in this list of 35-odd numbers features Kuhad's Cold/Mess. Retweeting Obama's post, Prateek Kuhad wrote: "This just happened and I don't think I'll sleep tonight. Totally flipping out. I have no idea how Cold/Mess even reached him but thank you Barack Obama. Thank you universe. I didn't think 2019 could've gotten better, but damn was I wrong. What an honour."
Kuhad writes in both Hindi and English, a talent that endears him to music lovers across the language barrier. That’s one big reason this soulful crooner’s thoughtful and sexy music has become a staple for the hopelessly romantic millennial. Influenced by rock legends such as Young the Giant, Elliott Smith and Queen, Kuhad’s sensitive, compassionate singing has an almost otherworldly quality to it.
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Intimate lyrics demand intimate settings. Take Kuhad’s Tum Jab Paas Aati Ho. It has nostalgic references to growing up in the ’90s—taking the listener back to a time when they passed chits in the classroom and carved names of friends on wooden desks. His video starring Jim Sarbh and Zoya Hussain captures the newness of first love, the pain of heartbreak and everything in between. Wispy vocals and inspiring musical arrangements in recent works such as Pause for Netflix’s Little Things Season 2, belie Kuhad’s keen involvement in the setting and often, the filming of the song.
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Raised in Jaipur, Kuhad studied math and economics in New York, playing in cafes and clubs, eventually writing and singing his own compositions. At 23, he made his musical debut EP Raat Raazi, a mixtape of five Hindi songs. He followed this with a full-fledged album, a mixtape of 10 achingly beautiful songs in 2015, for what would become his critically acclaimed, In Tokens & Charms album. A breakaway star, Kuhad earned Best Indian Indie Album on iTunes. In the years since, he has toured the country and the world, performed at Bigsound and Spoken, and added many awards and recognitions to his kitty. His Bollywood break came with Kho Gaye Hum Kahan for the 2016 movie Baar Baar Dekho, which was then followed with Saansein and Kadam from the movie Karwaan. He has also written and sung for TV commercials, for brands such as McDonald’s and Shoppers Stop and the international TV series Lethal Weapon.
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The restless young musician has made for himself a comfortable space in the independent music scene. As part of his Winter Tour, he will be performing 30 shows across 8 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain and India. Back in India, he’s touring 11 cities. Watch him Live at his Winter Tour with Zee Live's Supermoon, October 10 to 25, 2019 in your city!
Creatives by Vartika Pahuja