By Puja Gupta
New Delhi, April 21 (IANSlife) Grammy award winning musician Ricky Kej has joined forces with the WWF, United Nations Climate Change, UNCCD, UNICEF, UNESCO – MGIEP and the Earth Day Network to perform at a mega-concert online to support the World Health Organization (WHO) and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
He will be performing on Earth Day on April 22, along side 44 musicians from six countries including five other Grammy Award winners at One Page Spotlight, at 8 pm.
In an interview with IANSlife, Kej talks about the concert, spending time in lockdown, and his views on the impact the crisis will have on the music industry.
Q. Tell us more about the concert?
Kej: It is an absolute honour for me to join forces with organisations such as WWF, United Nations Climate Change, UNCCD, UNICEF, UNESCO – MGIEP and the Earth Day Network to perform a mega-concert online to support the World Health Organization (WHO) and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
I will be joined by 44 renowned musicians from around the world. This includes five Grammy® Award Winners such as Baaba Maal (The voice of the Wakandan soundtrack in the Hollywood Blockbuster, Black Panther), Laura Dickinson and Lonnie Park from the USA, Wouter Kellerman from Australia, our very own Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and several prominent Indian musicians.
Q. Why is this concert so special?
Kej: I have done several online concerts before but this will be the first time that I am putting together such a massive performance online. It will feel different as I have performed live to audiences over 70,000 people and I am used to interacting with people during my gigs. This time I won’t be able to see their expressions and response in real-time.
Q. Are you excited about this gig?
Kej: I am excited; this is a wonderful opportunity to reach millions of people virtually and stand in solidarity with the rest of the world. Also to create a concert for such a wide and an unknown demography is always a daunting task.
My music is all about nature, protecting our biodiversity and various social issues. This is a wonderful opportunity to inspire people to reconnect with nature and to showcase that we are all interlinked and interdependent. Also, it goes without saying that it is always exciting to perform with such fabulous musicians.
Q. How hard do you think this lockdown will impact artistes and the music industry?
Kej: The lockdown has hit the music industry and all the artistes hard.The music industry is extremely dynamic and different professionals in the industry rely on each other. Performing artistes, production companies, event management companies, sound engineers, recording studios and everyone else involved is stuck in limbo at the moment. We have to learn to adapt to the situation and wait until it eases.
Q. How do you think independent artistes will fair once things get normal?
Kej: It will be a challenge but Independent artistes are extremely hard-working, supremely talented and have carved a niche within the music industry by already surmounting several challenges.
It might be a little difficult initially but eventually, when things become normal, everyone should be able to hit the ground running. It’s all about adapting to the times and our surroundings, because no matter what pandemic hits us, music will never leave our lives. We just have to find the right way to disseminate the music.
Q. How are you spending your time during lockdown?
Kej: I have been working with various global organisations to help with communications regarding the current crisis to the general public. This concert is the result of that effort and I have invested a lot of my time in it. I have also been creating music and spending a lot of quality time with my dog and best buddy, Hutchie.
Q. How are you managing time for music?
Kej: Music is my life and a day without creating music is empty regardless of the lockdown. I actually have a lot more time to create music now and I have been making the most of it.
Q. What do you miss most during this period?
Kej: I miss performing to a live audience. Live concerts allow me to inspire change through the emotional language of music. It allows me to connect and interact directly with my audience and to ensure that they leave my concerts with a renewed love for our planet and hope.
It is always an amazing feeling to look at an audience and realise that I have succeeded in emotionally connecting with them through my music, and hopefully, through that connection, they become more conscious of our environment and for sustaining it.
The artiste will be performing on Earth Day on April 22, with 44 musicians from six countries including five other Grammy Award winners at One Page Spotlight, at 8 pm
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])