Welcome to our exciting new podcast on Sociobits. Today, we are super excited to have the immensely talented and versatile Abhijeet Sawant as our special guest. Best known for capturing the hearts of millions as the first-ever winner of Indian Idol, Abhijeet’s journey from a humble music enthusiast to a bona fide superstar has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Let’s have a look at the life story of this gifted singer, exploring his rise to fame, musical inspirations, and the meaningful impact he has made on the world of entertainment. So, without further ado, let’s embark on this enthralling conversation with the one and only Abhijeet Sawant!
Coming from a Marathi medium, was there any difficulty while joining the industry?
Yes! Absolutely I had faced difficulty. But, nowadays we speak more Hindi but back in those days, there was a style statement in the industry about speaking in English. Wherever you go people were talking in English. When I joined my college, it was completely in English. It was always a fight for me to cope in college. Because my whole education in school was completely Marathi. But, times changed. But thankfully when I joined the industry, speaking in Hindi was ok. There was freedom. Hindi media has come up with this drastic change as it only speaks in Hindi. So it is a good thing.
How was the Indian Idol Journey? How did you connect to them?
Back in 2005, it was amazing. There were no social media platforms. There were no platforms. If you were an artist or a musician, you had fewer options. One was Bollywood where one had a lot of struggle. For people like me who had no background, to them, it was even more difficult. And the other was participating in competitions. Because it was the only thing that helped us get a free audience and appreciation. So, I used to go to a lot of competitions. In those days, Sa Re Ga Ma was a big competition. Everyone wanted to get selected there. So, at the same time, there came an advertisement for Indian Idol. I was doing competitions, so I just thought of doing this. I personally never thought that Indian Idol will become a big success and that life would become very easy.
How did you register? What was the process?
In the advertisement, they displayed a number. You had to call and sing a little bit and give your details. And then they will call you. This process was of no use I think. There were a lot of people who used to sing really badly. This was just for registration. At Prabhadevi, the first round happened where there were no judges. Employees used to take the interview rounds. From them, they short-listed a few who used to sing nicely and are worthy of performing in front of the judges. From them, 120 people were selected and grouped and they were called to Mumbai. Of the 10-20 who were selected, 10 were selected for the show. It was a very long process but a good and different process.
Was it worth winning Indian Idol?
Of course! As I told there were very few big competitions happening, there was Bollywood or else becoming a stage artist, also, people like me who had no godfather or no background in the Bollywood industry, for us these competitions were a big opportunity and get a wider audience. And I never thought Indian Idol would give me success. It was just to know that as an artist you stand at this position.
What is the truth of Reality shows? Recently, Anu Malik Controversy was revealed. Was it for TRP or actually judges ask for money?
I don’t think any of the judges could ask for money from the contestants because there is already a lot of money gathered, from the channel, sponsors. Also, the hosts and the judges ask for heavy fees. In 2010 or 2011, I was hosting Indian Idol 5 and at that time I noticed the contestants had a lot of back story. There was a lot of frustration when you are not selected and how someone else got selected, etc. But I don’t think that judges were asking for any money from the contestants.
You were launched much before Arijit Singh and Jubin Nutiyal, why is it taking too long for you? You are also absent from the industry, why?
As an artist, I believe there were even more talented people out there who did not even get on stage like me. In this art, artists don’t have any format or degree, there is Visharat. There are no parameters. People take their certificates for job interviews, but here you are just a singer, the person selecting you will select from this mindset. It is all about your audience, who like you, who do not like you. People have factors for liking someone, like what happened to me. People thought my smile is nice and started liking me. There were many highly qualified and talented singers who did not win. It is all about the audience. Everyone is great at their own level.
Do you need a godfather in the industry?
Yes, you do need a godfather, actually, you need support, who can guide you well. We have this theory, you fail and you learn from the mistakes. The music industry is completely dependent on Film Industry so you don’t have enough time. People will only choose you if you are sailing in the boat of success so that they could succeed. Yes, you need a godfather to get a better result. Someone who could push you and get the right guidance in the industry.
Do you think Social Media is helping today’s generation to showcase their talent, if it could be there in the past, the scenario would be a little different?
Yes, it is definitely helping. The real artist back then used to showcase them in front of people. But today, someone is singing with a guitar on social media and getting viral, they are not even singers. So this thing is not nice.
These days as AI I trending globally, do you believe it is helping the Music industry?
I think AI is still getting explored these days. But I think Apple’s VR is completely going to change the industry. It is my personal opinion. Back then things were completely analogue, everything was completely in one take. Then there came software for music. You can pre-record music. Many artists lost their job because of this thing. There was a lack of work for them. AI is even doing this better. It is even doing mimicry and stuff. ChatGPT is also giving you lyrics. Anytime soon there will no longer be the need for singers also. AI is doing things better. AI will give you everything readymade. We are the generation who has not seen even phones but as technology is upgrading, I have seen people getting replaced. But also, I have seen getting them revamped and start doing new things. So like that we should leverage AI and its benefits. As a singer, by using AI, I might not need a music producer now as I can make a song by using AI. On one side, in the music industry, AI is a blessing as well as a curse.
One piece of advice from your side to future musicians and Indian Idol aspirants.
As I said you don’t need reality shows. It is a fight for me to post one video every day. We have no control over Instagram. Instagram will decide what to take viral. Musicians will every day post videos. If you want to become a star by using YouTube, you will have to be very dedicated towards it. You have to be very regular.
What did you learn as a singer?
I am still learning. There are so many changes in the world. Every day there is something or the other to learn. In the film industry, you connect to big people and start working with them. But if you are an individual artist then you have to appeal to the trends and they are continuously changing. You just have to try.
As we bring this insightful podcast to a close, we are left in awe of the incredible journey and indomitable spirit of Abhijeet Sawant. From his inspiring triumph on Indian Idol to his continued growth as a multifaceted artist, Abhijeet has proven that dedication, passion, and authenticity can pave the way for success. His commitment to his craft and his ability to touch the hearts of millions through his soul-stirring music have made him a true icon in the industry. We hope you’ve enjoyed this candid and heartfelt conversation as much as we have, and we look forward to bringing you more interesting stories from the world of entertainment. Until next time, keep chasing your dreams and embracing the power of music to make the world a better place. Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey with Abhijeet Sawant!