I Don’t Like Listening to Music - Lucky Ali

Published: Monday, Sept 17, 2011,
By Darshana Ramdev | Place: Bangalore | Agency: The Times of India

He's tried his hand at organic farming in New Zealand, bred horses and has became father again. But a visit to Lucky Ali's house will leave you very sure of one thing - it's music that drives him.

Lucky Ali (Photo - Vineet Radhakrishnan)
All set for a 25-city tour to promote his new album, Lucky is in high spirits as he and his band rehearse together in his Bangalore home. "This album is a compilation of all the work we've done over the years. I'm performing with musicians I have worked with for many years now. We all began our careers together," says Lucky.

When an established and respected musician like him chooses to go against the grain and release his album independently, eyebrows will be raised. What spurred his decision to go indie? "As musicians, we have our own comfort levels and often, with bigger companies those levels are not met," explains Lucky, adding, "There are so many overheads, promotion is limited and they want to take complete control. Musicians have to give away as much as half their earnings to record labels."

Lucky has had a bone to pick with the music industry and Bollywood over the course of his career. "I'm not complaining, but the music industry in India doesn't pay much attention to the artist. It is very dependent on Bollywood. The public saw through that soon enough. All we want to do is reach our music to the masses, so we decided to give it away for free. We hand out CDs at every concert, instead of tickets."

The conversation veers back to his music and his latest album. What kind of sound did they find themselves adopting? "We don't want frills," says Lucky firmly. "For me, it's more about the silence that follows each note, not just the note itself. But this album has elements of everything - it's anthemic, balladic and jazzy at the same time. It's very serious music."

Ask a musician about his influences and he will produce a lengthy list at once. Lucky refuses, however, saying, "We don't even have a music system at home. I just don't like listening to music. There's so much extraneous noise anyway, I just want to shut that out. If I'm in a car with someone who likes the radio on, I tell them to turn it off. But I do like the sound of something nice, it just doesn't have to be the format of my life."

During his travels across the world, did he meet many interesting musicians along the way? "A few," he agrees. "I saw The Police perform live, but that was when I was a kid. I've picked up a few things - a riff here and a groove there. Some sounds just make an impression. For me, it's more about making music, about finding the melody and expressing myself. It's all there, really. It's all been done before."

If Lucky was to break out of his musical fortress and do something different, what would it be? "I'm an uneducated musician," he admits, "But the people I work with are highly trained."