Interview Hindi

His style is very different to mine: Tushar Joshi of Jam8 on Zayn Malik's 'Allah Duhai' cover

Composer-singer Tushar Joshi speaks about the surprise of hearing Zayn Malik's cover of his hit number from Race 3 (2018) and why covers are not just another thing for a musician.

Shriram Iyengar

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, they say. By that measure, covers are perhaps a great tribute that one musician pays to another. As Tushar Joshi of Jam8 told, "You only cover a song if you really like it."

Tushar Joshi has some serious admirers. The composer's version of 'Allah Duhai' for the Salman Khan-starrer Race 3 (2018) was covered by international pop musician Zayn Malik.

While Malik has done covers before, it is surprising that he chose to cover this particular version of the song, with the exact same lines and rhythm. 

"It came as a pleasant shock to me," said Joshi of the news, "But his style is different to mine."

Joshi began his career doing covers of popular songs, before a friend suggested uploading his work on YouTube. That went viral and brought Joshi to the notice of composer Pritam.

Since then, the singer-composer has been working with Pritam's own music venture, Jam8, creating and composing music and background music. In a short span of time, he has also acquired an impressive profile, which includes the song 'Khana Khake' from Jagga Jasoos (2017). 

Following are excerpts from an interview with Tushar Joshi:

It must have felt good when you heard Zayn Malik do a cover version of your song.

Well, in the beginning, I didn't know about it. Then I started getting messages continuously from friends and people I know. I checked it out on Instagram. I was actually shocked. I am extremely glad that someone from the world of international music did a cover on something I created. 


For the fans (full on IGTV)

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He has done it well too, worked hard on the melody of it. 

It would have been surprising, I bet.

He has tried very hard to [make it] work. His style is very different to mine. 

The original was composed by Pritamda for Race (2008). What did you change?

Race (2008) and Race2 (2013) had songs by Pritamda. Race 3 (2018) had songs from Jam8. It was doing the project. So, Pritamda and Jam8 asked me to do this project of 'Allah Duhai'. I happily said yes.

Initially, I was apprehensive, but as we kept working it evolved into the track of 'Allah Duhai'. It was quite a big project and took a lot of time. I guess because of that the scale of the song also went quite above the initially planned one. 

Tell us how the collaboration with Jam8 happened.

I worked for Pritamda. This was one of his ventures to help young and budding musicians and composers to come through. They select them, mentor and groom them. This is not an opportunity normally available to composers. They are working on a lot of projects with composers. I was working closely with Jam8. This is how I got this opportunity to work on the song. I am really thankful to Jam8. 

So we [Jam8] work on everything in audio. From ads to BG [background music] on films, and even songs. So it was through them that I got this opportunity. 

You started by creating covers of songs yourself. It must feel strange, having a cover done on your own song.

I started by covering songs that I would like on YouTube. You don't usually cover every song, only those that you really like, and only if you can do it in your own, unique way. That is why this is a big thing for me, because Zayn is already a very known artiste. I have been following him since he was in X-Factor. So, it was a pleasant shock for him to cover my song. 

Social media certainly helped people performing online to catch attention. Did you start the covers in the same vein?

Not really. When we started out, there were very few performers online. For instance, there were Shraddha Sharma and Jonita Gandhi, among others. But I never planned to get noticed. I used to jam with some of my friends normally. One day, one of them brought a camera to record and put it up online. So when we got good reactions, it encouraged us. That's how it started off.

It was through this that Pritamda noticed me. 

You have worked mainly with Pritam. Are there any other composers you are working with? Or looking forward to working with?

Well, I have worked with Pritamda in his team as an assistant. I have got a lot of experience from here. For now, I am looking forward to more work here.

But as a singer, any composer who wishes to call me is welcome. I would love to work with a lot of composers, and will take up any opportunity that comes my way. 

One of your songs is 'Khana Khake' from Jagga Jasoos (2017). It is unique in terms of its style and composition. How did that come about?

It was very casual but beautiful. It was composed by Pritamda. He had worked on it for years. When I came on the project, it had already been almost completed. It was also in synch with the story and with Ranbir [Kapoor]'s character. When I joined the team, the song had already been composed and its arrangement had been locked. 

The only brief I got from Pritamda was to stay casual while singing it, and be in synch with Ranbir's acting of the part. We had a lot of fun while singing the song. 

The more people there are in a collaboration, the more fun it is.

What projects are you working on now?

For now, I am working with Pritam only. I can't talk about it. But as soon as they develop, you will come to know.