He doesn’t need much of an introduction for if you watched The Stage Season 2, you would have heard finalist Abhishek Gurung. He is the shy and ever-smiling singer who gave you goosebumps with his power-packed performances, especially his version of Led Zep’s Stairway To Heaven. With loads of self-learnt singing skills, he was the darling of the judges and viewers, too. Born and brought up in the beautiful town of Kurseong in Darjeeling, Abhishek showed us the talent that exists in the North East.
VERUS FERREIRA managed to pin down Abhishek for an interview despite his busy schedule, where he not only spoke about his music, but went nostalgic about his home town and its current state.
You were one of the top 10 contestants of The Stage Season 2. Tell us about your journey to this reality show.
Ah well, I never really thought that I would make it that far (laughs). I was very sceptical before auditioning for The Stage. I was not sure whether my singing would be accepted or not, but when I got a call from them saying that I’d made it to the top 53, everything changed. Being a rock singer, I took up the challenge of singing whatever came my way. The journey throughout was very tough. With people with phenomenal voices practising around, you can do nothing but sit in awe and listen to them.
At the finale, your take on Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven led one of the judges to label you as a legend. How much did this mean to you?
It felt very nice and soothing at that time as I was down with dengue, but I feel proud of myself not for being called a legend, but for being able to pay my respects to the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band Led Zeppelin on national TV.
After the show, did you get any offers from a record label or Bollywood?
Well, not any so far. I did get a few offers for jingles, but I wasn’t able to do it as I was on tour with my bands. Now that I’m back in Mumbai, I’ll try to get a few more and start with it.
You have two bands back home, Still Waters and Gingerfeet. How do you manage to keep both musically happy?
My friends and I formed Gingerfeet in 2012 and we started with a bang by winning the prestigious Hornbill Festival in Nagaland. The following year we were one of the winners of Hard Rock Rising India. After that we released a full-length album High And Above: The First Wave and played at a number of music festivals, but our main highlight was when we opened for Slash in Mumbai after which we bagged a video deal with MTV Indies. Right around the same time that Gingerfeet was formed, I was called upon to do vocal duties for hard rock band Still Waters from Sikkim. We’ve played a lot of festivals too but the best one that I can remember is when we opened the South Asian Games in Guwahati. It’s tough to manage time but it’s equally challenging and it gives me the thrill.
Great. Tell us about your present band The Abhishek Gurung Collective.
Right now, we are doing covers but I’ll be including a few originals in our set as well. I have a few which can’t be sung with either of my two bands and The Abhishek Gurung Collective is the portal through which I’ll release them.
Playing in all three bands, do you do the song writing and composition of the songs?
Yes, I do the writing and composition but with Gingerfeet and Still Waters, it’s more of a collective effort. We enter the jam room and start jamming, throwing ideas and at the end I come up with the lyrics.