Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I’m Ajay Mathur, representing a glorious cross-section between the annals of rock music both classic and modern alike. I have a wealthy and expanding discography already in the public domain.
I’m a Grammy-nominated songwriter and I’m excited to announce the upcoming release of my fifth studio album, “Talking Loud”, on Friday, March 4, 2022. With powerful themes of acceptance and acknowledgment, the 15-track album seeks to provoke listeners while simultaneously providing an outlet for self-discovery.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I grew up in a family of musicians and artists and was exposed to Indian classical and Bollywood music throughout my childhood. Somehow, I gravitated towards pop, blues, and rock and roll that was occasionally played on radio shows in India.
Perhaps it was also a little bit of rebellion against the Indian music of the grown-ups. I grew up with an older cousin and I was fascinated by the way he and his college friends got together on our terrace and sang songs by The Beach Boys and The Beatles. To me it was magic.
I met The Beatles in Rishikesh, India as a 14-year-old kid when they were at the Ashram practicing meditation. That encounter possibly sparked my interest in learning to play guitar and make my own music. Before that encounter, I was interested only in drawing and painting which I still do. I design all my music artwork myself.
It was my cousin who then showed me my first three chords so I could play ‘Sloop John B’. That got me started playing the guitar and singing. I started playing in bands as early as the last few school years and continued playing at campuses, clubs, and festivals across India, till shortly after my university graduation. That’s when I left India for good and reached Switzerland.
In Switzerland, I was successful with my rock group ‘Mainstreet’ in the 80s and 90s. I recorded and released 4 albums with the band. Along with sold-out tours across Europe, the group had an impressive four singles and two albums made it to the top 20 on the Swiss radio charts, and enjoy airplay on various European radio stations.
All through my Mainstreet career, I also worked as an engineer and producer in a number of studios and helped artists and bands reach national fame. I disbanded Mainstreet in the mid-90s and took a 15-year long sabbatical from the stage, just writing and recording songs and music for radio and TV commercials and short films.
In 2010 I had about 48 songs fully recorded on my digital recording workstation when I decided to release my first album as an independent artist in 2011.
Looking back in time, on December 8th, 2018, my album ‘Little Boat’ was awarded” Germany’s Best English Language Album of the Year 2018″ by the German Pop Foundation. In October 2019, my music video “Start Living Again”, also from his album “Little Boat” was chosen as a finalist for The Artist’s Forum Festival Of Moving Images in Manhattan. My album Little Boat (2018) follows on my previously released ‘A Matter of Time ‘(2011),’ Come See Conquer ‘(2013), and the highly successful ‘9 to 3’ (2015).
All the albums have enjoyed excellent reviews and acknowledgments in the international media. They have maintained top chart rankings on US Top 50 Rock, US Top 80 Independent, US Top 50 AC, and Americana (AMA) airplay charts as well as a continuous 128-week ranking on the European Indie Music chart.
My current single “Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence)” from my upcoming album “Talking Loud,” follows my successful debut single “I Need You Now,” which was released in August 2021 and peaked at #2 on World Independent Music top 100 and at #19 on US DRT Top50 Rock airplay chart. “Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence)” currently ranks at #4 on playMPE’s Adult Contemporary Streaming charts.
My songs/albums are eclectic and rich in a diversity of sounds and unusual instruments. The melody is king in my music and the lyrics, the crown-jewels. It is this mix that makes me stand out from others in my genre.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I grew up in a family of artists and successful musicians, so music was all around me growing up. At school, I was a passionate painter artist and loved to write. I remember wanting to become a journalist back then. It was probably meeting the Beatles in India that sparked my interest in making music.
It was my cousin who showed me the first three chords and got me started on my exciting musical journey. I started playing in bands shortly afterward, in the final years of school, playing in clubs, concert venues, and campuses across the major cities in India. Playing in a club in Mumbai is where I met Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and that was another one of those defining moments.
Communicating with my fans and listeners is the most awesome experience I can ever think of. I get a lot of messages and emails through my website and social media and I answer each one of them personally and with great pleasure.
Some of the messages are quite personal about how my music or a specific song made a difference in someone’s life. That is truly uplifting and makes me realize that writing songs that make a difference in someone’s life is just what I was born to do.
Winning awards and being featured on airplay and streaming charts is extremely uplifting, too. 2021 was an extremely rewarding year with my first single “I Need You Now” topping the European and World Indie Music Network Top 100 Airplay charts. My current single “Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence)” made it to the Top5 on Play MPE’s streaming charts. On December 30th I got the news that my song “Stop The Shame” from my new album was awarded 2021 Winner of Indie / Singer-Songwriter Category of New York’s The Artists Forum International Music Competition.
That was the icing on my 2021 cake. Moments like these make me realize that I’m doing exactly what I was born to do.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge I had to go through was finding the musical voice and the courage to sing and finish my song Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence), which is my current single. Initially, I wrote the song in the early 80s shortly after John Lennon’s murder.
The song was a reaction, a gasp for breath after the shock. Writing the song opened a pathway for me to move on and it possibly helped me with my grief. Yet, I left the song untouched because I feared the emotional impact the song might have on me if I tried to sing it.
Fast forward to April 2020. The world is in the vicious grip of a pandemic. Shutdowns, cancellations, isolation, inertia follow. I retreated to home-studio, binge-listening to my favorite records, among them The Beatles and John Lennon. That’s when I picked up my guitar and revisited the song. That was my moment of clarity. That’s when I found emotional strength and the musical voice of that song.
It was liberating when I finally grasped the full depth of a song that I wrote decades back in a completely new context. At a time when cancellations, still-stand, and uncertainty due to the Corona crisis were stifling me, the song was a perfect moment of clarity. It not only broke the deadlock of inertia but also boosted my confidence to finishing an entire album, which is my upcoming album ‘Talking Loud’.
I think that moment is perfectly reflected in ‘Anytime At All (Aftermath of Silence)’ and on the rest of the album “Talking Loud”.
As a musician and songwriter, the biggest challenge for me was in the acceptance that it can take decades for a song to mature, and yet at the same time, it was a lesson in patience. As a person, it was a lesson in courage to let go. I didn’t pursue the song, but I just let it sit until it was ready to be rediscovered.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with extremely creative people from across the globe and some of them live and work in LA. My upcoming album, for example, was mixed by LA’s own Grammy-winning engineer Austin Asvanonda.
I’ve worked with the amazingly creative video artist and director Ciro Ayala from LA. Ciro has created beautifully artistic and award-winning music videos for my songs. It’s funny but, although I’ve worked very closely with these amazing people, I’d love to meet them and work with them in person.
I’d love to meet and work with LA’s own Beck David Hansen, better known as Beck. In my opinion, he’s the most creative and innovative songwriter since The Beatles.
Drop your social media links.
- Official Website: https://www.ajaymathur.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AjayMathurMusic/
- Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/ajaymathurmusic
- VEVO channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC44J1L39PBvd4PICx3SEPOQ
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AjayMathurMusic
- Bandcamp: https://ajaymathur.bandcamp.com/
- Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ajaymathurmusic
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1WzHLgU6DhG5Wsoz5YLcAC?si=qcP6o8YPQTeett9WQO9tdw&dl_branch=1
- Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/ajay-mathur/448342864
- Tidal: https://tidal.com/browse/artist/4063100
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Ajay+Mathur&i=digital-music&search-type=ss&ref=ntt_srch_drd_B005AQUXDI