Global Indian International School (GIIS), a premium quality international educational institute and India’s leading music composer–singer Shekhar Ravjiani have come together to launch the GIIS-Shekhar Ravjiani School of Music. This marks a first of its kind collaboration between a global education institution and an Indian musician to launch a focused program to nurture and mentor upcoming talent in the field of music using state-of-the-art infrastructure and futuristic technology. Students across GIIS’ 21 campuses world over will have access to the school’s curriculum.
With a holistic approach towards education, GIIS emphasizes on imbibing nine unique values in students to make them global citizens of which Performing Arts is a big component.
In an exclusive interview with The Statesman.com, Shekhar opened up about many segments associated with the GIIS, Gobal-Indian music with a bunch of talent and his first ever International musical journey with the Co-founder and Chairman of GIIS, Atul Temurnikar.
How did you collaborate with Global Indian International School and what made you to be a part of it.?
Shekhar: We have been invited to the GIIS for the master class. I have been called thrice for the last two years, performed and took class and also I interacted with some of the amazing students. After which I had a detailed interaction with co-founder of the institution Mr Atul Temurnikar. Then we went on discussion and I really liked his passion for the music industry, exactly the way I have been passionate about it. So We decided to start a school, this is something which isn’t done before, a global and Shekhar music of school is something which is going to be very special for the music industry. I have been quite familiar with this thing because I have mentored over 300 students across 15 of the reality shows and many of them went on to become successful. So, Yes I am very happy to associate with GIIS.
Tell us about the launch of the Global Indian International School and how did you come up with this?
Atul – I was working with some industry in the late 90’s and I always had a passion to do something in the field of education so I first started school in Singapore in 2002 and then after we opened up in Malaysia, Japan and other countries. We always strive to provide our students the best education through a holistic educational framework by adopting the best industry practices. So the concept was to provide education on a very affordable basis.
How has your journey been so far from being a mentor on various reality TV shows to now mentoring the students of GIIS?
Shekhar: Well, I have seen a lot of singers who come from the small town in Mumbai, trying their level hard except for possibilities, doing their own solo albums. So I give new talent the same piece of advice which I give on various TV reality shows whether it would be Sa Re Ga Ma Pa or Indian Idol or The Voice that it is going to be the extension of the same thing which has happened before, so it’s really exciting for me. I’ll get to see a bunch of talented students. And, Yes, I am really looking forward to the mentoring session.
How’s your experience in the field of music as a singer, composer and producer?
Shekhar: Well, it’s really good, I have been able to achieve all those at the same time because of all the love and support which I have got. And that is the reason I am here today so I’d like to thank you all for that.
How did you approach Shekhar for this project?
Atul: So, it’s a part of our live sales programme that we do it for holistic and one of the center’s of the foundations is Mr Narayan Murthy, he said that, “We should articulate the time of a very holistic education”. And one of the major pillars of GIIS is keep performing arts and under performing arts our school has various activities like dance, music so on, also we have seen our aluminis venturing into music, so when we realize that they are already doing some fundamentals of teaching of music. We thought that why can’t we approach somebody who can find the right talent. Nowadays people are making music as a part of their career. We wanted somebody to be professionally good which Shekhar is, who can groom students in both the manner or taking them to a particular level. Basically, we both saw passion in students and this is how we took this forward.
When did you decide to make music as a part of your career, because in one of your interviews you have said that professionally you started your career with advertising?
Shekhar: I was always part of the business family. So I still remember helping my father in the business at the age of 14-15. But just as a hobby, and at that time, it’s a beautiful aura of music in my house where Pancham Da’s music used to play everyday, Madan Mohan Sahab’s music used to play, so all the singers used to visit our place like Jagjeet ji used to come to the house. A musical atmosphere has always been there at my home and I developed my interest in music also my father taught me about this. I went ahead with the learning process. I wanted to do art film at the age of 16, and I had no idea before doing it but then I composed it. And I followed my passion but I had no idea where it had come from. Also I got a lot of support from my parents and friends which is the most important thing and this is how I could achieve my dreams.
Like you said, GIIS was founded in 2002 and has presence in over 7 countries and 21 campuses which include those in Singapore, Malaysia, India (Hyderabad, Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad, Noida, Bangalore, and Indore), UAE, Thailand or many others, Now what next?
Atul: So, we are trying to expand it further in various cities but we are not changing GIIS methods and secondly we are also focused on ensuring that education changes with the time so we’ll try to provide education through well equipped technology. What we would like to do is that we’ll make sure that students are quick to adopt new methods.
As an artist, what are your aspirations?
Shekhar: At the moment I am very excited about the GIIS with the Shekhar music of school. I still remember in 2007, I judged my first reality show that was Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and at that point I realized one thing that ‘One day I’ll have my own music school’ where I guide or mentor these students and make sure that any talent will not shy away from this. Also I am really happy to see that music has become so many passions that we can take this journey forward.
Do you really see music as a viable career option and monetizing music in the ‘new normal era’?
Shekhar: Absolutely, because music is not just music. There are a lot of variations in the music like classical music, folk music, pop music and so on. Music is not just related to our Bollywood. And, Yes monetizing from it, a lot of people doing it, it’s all about the consumption, all about the kind of work you get out of it. And it should pay correctly then sometimes it does not even require Bollywood music.