“Ghissey itne jootey par kitna chala hun, ussi jagah hun location
Kya jootey bole jhoot ya shuru jo kia aake wahi khada hun“
Hip-hop artist Aditya Guglani’s recent single ‘Ghissey jootey‘is a haunting clue, a reminder of the pandemic and its chaos. In his own words, it is the product of his “frustration with the confinement, captured on a four-minute track.” The rest of the song and video are similar to the recurring nightmare, the reality of a madman: falling from grace, stuck in a loop, the romance of monotony.
But Guglani explains’Ghissey jootey‘being “about an ordinary man with a broken soul, struggling to express his emotions in the midst of life’s mundane episodes.” It is open to interpretation, but the artist says that the man (in the work) is blinded by the clouds, “but when they clear up, the sky will be the limit.”
Guglani’s stage name is’ Qoini ‘, a term derived from the Hindi phrase’koi nahi‘, Y Ghissey jootey it is not the first. The 28-year-old emerging songwriter, rapper and entrepreneur from Delhi calls himself “the voice of the world’s misfits.” His work includes some other themes: his first two singles’Hum Jaise Hain‘Y’Ban Na Chahu Qoini‘released in 2017 and 2018, respectively, followed by’Uth yeah aaj‘,’Where we went?‘Y’Bhaage khudse‘in 2019.
But it was’Ghissey jootey‘, released in early 2021, which comforted him and his listeners in the pandemic. In an exclusive interaction with indianexpress.com, Guglani pours out his heart, speaking of his losses, humble beginnings, pandemic problems, and more.
“Deciding on a name took 10 minutes, but the journey was long and full of ups and downs,” he says of how he became ‘Qoini’. “I’ve always been a shy kid when it comes to expressing my emotions. So writing was the only thing that was my comfort zone. I started writing when I was 13-14 years old and have been listening to hip-hop since I was 11-12. I used to bring printouts full of lyrics from Eminem, Linkin Park, The Game, and many others to my school every day. I would imitate his style and delivery in front of my friends. I was trying to be quirky and funny, but because of that, I met the right people at school and started performing at events. But it took me many years to find my own sound and vibe. “
Guglani claims to be a “self-taught hip-hop artist.” When it had just started, “there weren’t many artists or local communities.” “So, in a way, I was self-taught. What attracted me to music is the art of expression and the impact it has on people. I still find that freedom fascinating, that artists can create their own characters, tell stories, and be influential in a positive way. This keeps me going, because I have many stories to tell, ”he says.
The artist says he improved his craft by “making bad songs and working on feedback.” Because “if an artist stops listening to comments, they turn into complaints and that blocks any growth.” “So, I made terrible songs, sat in a lot of mocking comment sessions, and worked on the things that I felt were necessary to be successful. I guess it’s about being patient, persistent, and being open to learning something new. To this day, I listen to all the possible comments that I receive from anyone and analyze them, “he says, adding that for him,” it has always been about music and not just hip-hop. “From Frank Sinatra to Metallica to Kendrick Lamar, I try not to limit my listening to one genre. If we’re specifically talking about hip-hop, then Eminem, Mac Miller, and Kendrick Lamar would be the artists I idolized. The intensity, the introspection and the music are very well connected and coherent. Outside of hip-hop, I’m a huge fan of Liam Gallagher and James Hetfield. “
When he recorded Ghissey jootey, Guglani was “vulnerable in those difficult times, while also trying to maintain a ‘pull-up attitude'”. “A lot happened in my personal and professional life, and whenever I feel overwhelmed, I write. So this track was born in the running of the bulls and was released a couple of months after that. “
The artist was struggling to cope with the loss of three of his relatives. “That is so unfortunate and probably the worst stage of my life,” he says. “As they were all infected by the virus, we could not stay together as they were all in quarantine. I was never in meditation, but during that phase, I started meditating and that made me feel better and positive. Apart from that, I always had music by my side, I wrote and recorded many tracks. It was really therapeutic for me. “
The pandemic also affected his career, as it did for many others. In 2019, he had “a lot of projects ready to be launched in 2020, but the whole plan was derailed.” Guglani also could not get to any studio to record his music, because his “parents are over 70 years old”, and that would put them at risk. “I couldn’t go out and record the music videos for the tracks I had recorded. I waited patiently for a few weeks, then started reading and researching soundproofing and insulation. I created my vocal booth with a laundry basket and continued my recordings at home. I suppose that necessity is the mother of the invention ”, he comments.
It irritates him that hip-hop is not better understood. That when he started rap, it was considered “filler music.” “From there, it became an ‘American-based style of music’ that could never make it to India. After that, people only viewed rappers as gangsters or associated with misogynistic lyrics. It still prevails, but I think these notions are being strongly challenged as more and more artists are emerging and bringing out the positive side of hip-hop. “
Guglani says he owes a lot to music; gave him confidence. “Before music, I was just an introverted kid with a lot to say, but no courage to say it out loud. The music really pushed me into awkward situations that I later mastered. The child in me could never really imagine that he would perform in front of thousands of people, but I did, “he says, adding that because he is an” emotional person, “he writes whenever he feels overwhelmed by something. “There is a sense of energy that I feel. So I know I have to write it down. I never sit around and think, ‘Okay, I have to write something.’
But besides music, he also has many other interests. “I am a curious person who likes to learn and create things and be in an environment that stimulates my creative thinking. I enjoy writing code to solve complex problems. I love growing organic vegetables and flowers in my little backyard. I also love listening to Joe Rogan and Bill Burr podcasts. “
For other independent artists who may be battling the pandemic, Guglani has a message: “Hold on and believe. Being an independent artist is like being an entrepreneur, where you are the product. A lot of freelance artists I know underestimate the business side of things. It is as important as music, writing and creative vision. I think many miss this. “