Saturday Blog: Small it is but vibrant Nepali music industry has immense reach in all stratums of Nepali society that you can be a national celebrity with only one hit song. Proof? Read the story of these young guys (in the pic above): Jabeek (left), Rajeev Lohani (right) and Babu Bogati (middle). [The following is extract from the story, in Nepali, that originally appeared in today’s Kosilee (Kantipur daily). Here is the full story.]
Meet Jabeek, the latest sensation in Nepali music industry, for whom one song, yes one song, and a few months time was enough to become a celebrity in Kathmandu.
Why tears in eyes?
Why wounds in the heart?
Remembering the one who left?
Yes, there is absolutely no point in crying and remembering the one who left you behind but this song by the Shyanjali boy who prefers to be known by one name dominated the Nepali musical scenario in such a way that it’s almost impossible to forget Jabeek. It’s hard to believe that Jabeek, one of the most happening celebrities of today’s Kathmandu, was an unknown boy until a few months ago. Envying? Don’t worry; the life of this ‘one song wonder’ isn’t as rosy as you would like to think. “Many people recognize me and it actually makes things difficult,” Jabeek said in a recent interview. “I don’t earn much to meet the fame created by the publicity I got. People expect me to be a star but I can’t maintain myself [in affording a car, for example, and wear designer clothes.]” [Interesting it may seem, Jabeek will not get a paisa from the sales of the album “Collection” brought out by the record company Music dot com in which his single is included. The deal was that the record company would give him forum to launch himself.]
Seated near to Jabeek is another singer Rajeev Lohani who, how can you forget, rose to overnight fame through the hit number Baleko Aago.
The burning fire, the aflare love
How can I forget?
“Nepali fans have this habit of comparing Nepali celebrities’ income with that of foreigners,” said Rajeev. “When you see a singer only in TV, you start thinking high about the singer. When you meet the singer and find that he/she is just an ordinary person wearing the same kind of clothes you are wearing, you will think ‘what the hell, this guy is a khate (street boy). This is not right [way of thinking about singers].”
The problem with image will hopefully get solved as the income of singers rises, but for the time being welcome to the new Nepali musical world where overnight celebrities like Jabeek and Rajeev are born in every next month or so thanks to the never-seen-before kind of the combination of media and market. The carefully executed equation is fantastic: music videos are released on TV stations on the very day cassettes and CDs are sent to the market. Singers visit FM radios to take part in live interviews and on-air interactions with their listeners, newspapers publish singers’ interviews and photographs and, how can I forget mentioning, the websites bring up wallpaper sized photos and juicy details about the singer to coincide with the album release.
“I have finished recording all of my songs for my third album,” said Babu Bogati of “Sannani timilai hirkaula lauri le thyakka thyakka” fame. “But for some technical reasons I haven’t been able to finish editing the music video. It’s been months that I am waiting for that to be finished. I will bring out the album on the day the editing is over.”
No one than Babu Bogati understands the importance of music video in selling an album and making singer a star. His first album was a total flop because he had no idea about the Nepali music market. “I had just arrived in Kathmandu (from Letang, Morang) in 2055 BS and had no idea about the market here,” he said. “I didn’t understand the importance of media, record company and music video.” It took him about four years go understand that equation and when he appeared on TV with Sannani song Babu Bogati had become the baje of Nepali music market. His song and the video was a huge success and he became an easily recognizable face in Kathmandu.