Rohit John Chhetri : With his new album ‘Jhari Pachiko Indreni’
Let’s be honest! Some songs hit you straight into your heart, and even though you listen to it on repeat, you still can’t get enough of it—be it by soulful singing of the singer or euphonious sounds of musical instruments used or its hypnotic lyrics. I bet you feel the same when you still listen to the 2013 hit ‘Bistarai Bistarai’ by Rohit John Chhetri. Five years after coming with the hit, the 27-year-old singer is back with his latest album ‘Jhari Pachiko Indreni’, and he is on a journey to repeat the craze like in the yesteryears.
By Roneeshma Shrestha
Photos by Satyan Shrestha
Like most people say, a single song can make its creator an overnight sensation, and Rohit John Chhetri’s road to success started with the response to the love-centric song ‘Bistarai Bistarai’. On September 15, 2013, Chhetri uploaded a music video of the four-minute song—utilising the money that he had collected by selling his motorbike—and music lovers did not only love how the bespectacled young teenager with bushy-tangled hair sang his song while playing his guitar in the greeneries of the countryside but also ended being hypnotized with its melodious constituents. Social media went schizo and hay wire, and people couldn’t stop grooving to his songs.
Soon, the young star outshined and proved that he didn’t step in the Nepali music scene just to give one-time hit wonder and vanish away—the official announcement from the Nepali legendary rock band 1974 AD about Chhetri’s inclusion in the band as a vocalist secured headlines on many media outlets. This was how Rohit John Chhetri came into eminence.
Unquestionably, his songs have never failed to disappoint us; instead, his voice have emerged into the air and given chill bumps to everyone with its terrific tone—be it by his first hit and his songs with 1974 AD or playback songs that he had sung for the movies like ‘Prem Geet 2’, ‘Meri Mamu’, ‘Summer Love’, and ‘Maun’. His uniquely identifiable voice has always outlived us all. Now, the 27-year-old singer has come forward with his second album ‘Jhari Pachiko Indreni’ that was released on September 28 at Club Fahrenheit, Thamel, Kathmandu.
I believe music is time, and rhythm is the most quintessential component for it. So, whatever happens in life—sadness or ecstasy—it happens for a certain time. If one experiences grief, it doesn’t mean that there will be sadness forever. So, the title of the album ‘Jhari Pachiko Indreni’ crossed my mind from a line of my own song ‘Har Saas’. It reads, “Timi mero jhari ko indreni ho priye, mero dukkha birsaune mitho aabhas”. This means, “When I’m in a terrible situation, my heart fills will sadness, but when I meet a person who has been such as influential soul, I forget all sufferings. It then becomes joy.” To keep it short, ‘Jhari’ connotes ‘sadness’, and ‘Indreni’ connotes ‘joy’.”
-Rohit John Chhetri
“Today, challenges are plenty because competition is high. On the other hand, people take music as a trend where the bling-bling type of music video showcasing Lamborghini reaches billions of views; whereas, music created by dedicated musicians takes time to get appreciated. Music shouldn’t be composed only to make it into billboards or top charts. Music that truly represents you is something that gives you immense satisfaction.”
- ‘Jhari Pachiko Indreni’ mostly consists of love songs. Is this album going to be the favourite of love birds and/or lovelorn only?
Love not only connects a girl and a boy; it connects you with anyone you love: your parents, teachers, friends, and basically anyone who is a source of happiness to your life. So, this album is relatable for anyone.
- How tough was it for you to come up with this album?
Launching an album takes a whole lot of effort and patience. Being an independent artist, I had to look at everything without collaborating with anyone; be it in terms of finance, production or promotion.
- Since this is your second album, things might have been easy?
It’s the same actually. For my first album, my girlfriend and I had designed the posters and tickets until the last moment. Doing that was really difficult. Things are quite similar today. Coming out with an album had been my dream since my childhood, but now, I’ve realised how challenging it is.
- When are you planning to come with the third one?
I guess it will come out after a long period.
- Recently, you’ve started Gig-vlogging on your YouTube channel. What inspired you to do that?
I always loved TV shows, and since vlog has been very trending nowadays, I wanted to let my fans and followers to know me a bit more closely. Coming up with a behind-the-scene type of video would let me bring my fans and followers closer to me, and people would also know how my gigs usually happen. Besides, I didn’t want my YouTube channel to be constrained just to my songs.
- You introduced your band in the first episode, and in the second episode, you promoted your second album. What more plans do you have for your YouTube channel?
I have always loved how one of my favourite TV hosts Pooja Gurung had hosted her talk shows because I believe that being politically-concerned is also very essential. So, a talk show with no age limit where we can discuss a solution for a certain political problem is something I’ve in my mind.
- You’re with your project ‘AJC with RJC’ as well. What special output are you coming up with?
This is the project where I jam with my fellow musician friends, record the track in my home studio and shoot a video. I’ve jammed with my friends even when I had to prepare for my exams. Besides, I usually jam with my dad, and I’m looking forward to recording a song with my dad as well.
- In one of the Tuborg Open Sessions, you collaborated with Swopna Suman for your songs ‘Timilai Samjhi’ and ‘Aankhama’ and also in Suman’s song ‘Kasari Bhanu’. How did you feel?
Swoopna and I had always wanted to work together. Plus, his melodious voice perfectly complements with mine. I guess, it turned ours really well.
My life wasn’t a bed of roses in the beginning. I was a single child to my parents who worked as school teachers; thus, I had zeal in me to do something for myself and my family. So, I started working in Music Nepal right after completing my SLC (now SEE), and I got involved in designing for the company. At that time, I also worked as a guitar teacher in St. Xavier’s School. Later, I joined Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC) as an admin staff. That was the time when I saw many musicians and their dedication towards music. This helped me realise what I wanted to do. I realised how music was the one thing that was making me happy.
Besides working, I started taking vocal classes and also studied Bachelors in Eastern Classical and Folk Music at Ratna Rajya Campus. Slowly, I started doing gigs. Today, besides music, I’m working as a music teacher at the music school (KJC) where I once had worked as a receptionist. It feels amazing recalling this change. I’m grateful to my parents for not imposing any restrictions in my pursuit of music as my career.
Though there were tons of challenges in my life which came to me like dangerous waves, I never changed my pursuit of music because music always gave me happiness and satisfaction. Music taught me a lot of things in life too. Now, I want to share my musical learning with others too, and I want to preach how music changes someone’s life.
-Rohit John Chhetri
“Lyrics of my songs are the interpretation of the experiences of my life, and my mood and emotions in it help me to make it a song.”
A song besides ‘Bistarai Bistarai’ that is very close to your heart: The song ‘Bagdai Gareko’ that I’d done with 1974 AD is very precious to me as I had written it for my girlfriend. I came up with the song during my first tour with ‘Trendsetters’, where I’d travelled to 13 different cities.
One of the favourite music videos of your songs: ‘Sannani’. I’m a game freak, and when the talents at FuzzFactory listened to it, they proposed for coming up with an animated video. I loved the concept. Kudos to the team!
If not music: I’ve always loved guns; so to use too, I’d have either been a don, police or an army man. I do sometimes imagine myself being a don, living in my fantasy world. (hehehe)
Best time to listen to music: Anytime
Best songwriting time: When you’re filled with emotions (especially when you’re too happy or too sad)
Your favourite musical genre: Eastern Classical
Your Favourite artist: Can’t decide on one
Your Favourite song: ‘Kei Chota Le Gyani Huncha’ by Narayan Gopal
Something that still feels surreal: Realising I’m Rohit John Chettri
Day-to-day routine: Wake up, go to Karma Coffee with my girlfriend, either getting busy in recordings, practices, photoshoots and interviews or my YouTube channel. I usually was busy teaching at KJC, but now, I’ve taken a break for my album.
Sweetest fan moment: It was during Christmas. A small girl was sitting beside a Christmas tree and was singing my song holding her Ukulele. That scene made my heart melt.
Your Style: Usually casual, but I have this love for suits since childhood. During Christmas also, I’d tell my parents how I wanted a suit like Charlie Chaplin and used to walk around wearing suits at home as well. No wonder my aunts still tease me.
Something that you really love: Playing video games all night
What makes your head turn around looking at a girl: Attitude
One thing that turns you off from a girl: Again, attitude!
What’s it like being in a relationship? When you’re in an understanding relationship, it’s a wonderful feeling which can’t be expressed in words. Shortly, she makes me feel very special, and I try my best to do the same.
One habit you love about yourself: I’m proud that I’ve been able to follow what my parents taught me—to respect everyone, no matter what their age is.
One thing that, if you could, you’d want to change about yourself: Sleep in time maybe? Haha. But I guess the life of a musician somehow turns out like this. Also, I’d love to have a proper diet, go to the gym, and live a healthy life which I do not!
The first time you got on stage: During a singing competition at the age of 8.
Something that scares you: Time