Interview With Newyorker R&B/Pop Singer-Songwriter Neel
Interview With Newyorker R&B/Pop Singer-Songwriter Neel NEEL is an R&B/Pop, Bollywood-influenced singer-songwriter and producer based out of NYC. Born and raised in New Jersey, NEEL is influenced by both Indian and American cultures, which he translates beautifully in his music.
Surrounded by music from a young age, NEEL expresses his musical abilities through his wide-ranged vocals and by playing piano, keyboard, harmonium, tabla, drums, and guitar. Vocally trained in Eastern and Western classical music, NEEL is versatile in many genres, especially Urban Desi.
Tell us about yourself…
I’m a singer-songwriter born and raised in New Jersey. Music is my life. I’ve been singing since I was 3 and started performing professionally when I was about 15. I have an Undergraduate Business degree from Carnegie Mellon, which I’m super proud about. I also have to thank my parents for everything; without them I wouldn’t be the same as I am today. After college, I worked for about 1.5 years — and then I quit my job to pursue music full-time. It definitely hasn’t been an easy ride, and I don’t expect it to be, but I’d much rather be doing this than anything else out there. I’m genuinely happy though because I’ve gotten to put out some original work this year, and you all have really shown a lot of love towards it–so that means the world to me.
When did you find your passion for music?
When I was about 3, I had my first stage performance. My parents knew I must have had some knack for singing/performing since they put me for violin lessons right around then. Violin changed to piano around 6 and then I also started Hindustani vocal lessons. I wasn’t super passionate about music all this time (although I would watch this one tape we had of this conductor conducting his orchestra on our television for hours) but this changed as soon as I heard Rafi Sahab’s voice, maybe when I was around 7 or 8. I was drawn to his beautiful yet mature tone and I would hear his songs on repeat day-in and day-out. I think that fueled my itch to learn and get better at the craft, and still does to this day.
What is the toughest challenge you had to face as an artist?
One of the toughest challenges is constantly switching between my “artist” hat and my “business” hat. I love business and I have a respect for capitalism and industrialism but I feel like art requires you to shed the desires we crave and become “one” with yourself to create the best content you can. So these two ideologies sometimes create a conflict within me and it’s tough to create a balance, but I feel like with the proper mentality anything is doable.
Who are your, favourite singers?
I grew up revering (and still do) Mohammad Rafi Sahab. I actually have a poster of him, which I later got framed, in my room. He’s like a God to me — such a talented and versatile singer, also very very humble. I also got put onto Boyz II Men around when I was entering high school, and just became infatuated with their music. I love that Pop/R&B warm sound of the 90s. I also like Arijit Singh, Sonu Nigam, Justin Timberlake, Charlie Puth, and Bruno Mars.
Are you dating someone?
I have a really complicated relationship with Music :p
What is the best part of music in your opinion?
I think the best part of music is that it’s literally universal. Even if you are singing in a different language, melody transcends language and cultural barriers. I love how music can just take you to another place, which we can’t really explain with words. You could be taking a stroll with a friend, honed in on the conversation, but suddenly hear a violinist playing and then have your mind wander off. Music allows us to connect with one another on a level that not many other things can.
Who would you want to collaborate with?
I’d love to collaborate with other Urban Desi artists for sure, but I would also love to collaborate with artists like Charlie Puth, Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak Kohli, Boyz II Men, Ed Sheeran, and Bruno Mars.
What are three emojis you use the most when texting?
Hmm… probably 😆😂and 🙌🏽
Which one is your favorite song and why?
It’s tough to answer this question because I have a lot of favorite songs. They would mainly be a mix of like Pop/R&B songs and Rafi songs. But I have been listening to “Four Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men and “This I Promise You” by *NSYNC a lot recently.
Message for your fans…..
Thank you so much to all of you for supporting me and giving me all the love you have over the years. Art is obviously meant to feed one’s soul but also is definitely meant to share with others – if it weren’t for all of you, artists like me wouldn’t feel the joy and excitement in creating things they’re passionate about, so I genuinely thank you for being there. I have a lot of new music in the pipeline and I can’t wait to share it with all of you! As for now, I really hope you enjoyed reading this Spotlight Interview and I look forward to seeing you at one of my shows real soon!