Awards and accolades are not new to independent artiste Alobo Naga. At the 6th edition of the Artist Aloud Music Awards this year, Alobo walked away with three awards — Best Song for Chasing Ghosts, Best English Song for Wolo and Best Artiste from North East India.
Many bands from the North East have made their mark on the national music scene and Alobo Naga and the Band (ANTB) is one of them, wowing audiences in India and abroad. Winner of the 2012 Best Indian Act at the MTV European Music Awards, their song Painted Dreams went to No. 4 on the International Top 10 charts on Vh1 and was one of Vh1’s top 50 videos of 2011.
Making music since 2010, ANTB have followers all over India and are a must-see act at music festivals. VERUS FERREIRA caught up with Alobo, who is from the Sumi tribe of the vibrant hilly state of Nagaland, for a chat about what makes him one of the most sought-after artistes in the country.
How did your foray into music begin?
I started music very early. By the age of 5, I was singing and performing and I started writing songs by 11. I was so much into music, but was never encouraged to take it as a career. So like any other Naga kid, I pursued my studies, finished my Masters in Political Science from Delhi University, post-graduation in Tourism Management from IITTM Delhi and went back home. I started working, but did not find any joy in what I was doing. In 2008, I quit my job and started preparing myself for music. That’s where my journey began, and I’m still travelling and chasing my dream.
How did you prepare yourself to get into music?
After quitting my job, I enrolled at Hope Centre of Excellence (music academy). I trained under Nise Meruno, brand ambassador for Yamaha Piano and AKG Microphones, and passed Grade 8 under him. Later, I started learning under other teachers like Christine Matovich and many others. In 2012 I passed my Licentiate in Music Performance in Contemporary Vocals (LRSL) under Rock School London. I was fortunate enough to be the first one to do so in contemporary vocals.
Tell us about ANTB.
In 2011, after my first album was released I invited around 70 different artistes to share the stage with me at a concert. I got stuck with four brilliant musicians and we continued playing for a few more shows and ended up forming a band. My solo act is pop and I get to show my other side — rock — through the band. The four of us are fixed like Fevicol (laughs). Fung Walling plays bass, David Sunar plays drums and Lima Mongro plays the guitar. I play the keys and we all sing, but we also collaborate with different producers and DJs. All of us have different tastes in music, but we always met somewhere in the middle to compromise initially. But the moment we found our genre, the music that we want to make, it became very easy to communicate.