Ricky Kej: Wonderful to see an Indian album competing with mainstream album for a Grammy

Ricky Kej’s Divine Tides is including Indian contact to the Grammy Awards 2023 with the album securing a nomination within the Greatest Immersive Audio Album class, and the music composer admits that the nod comes as a pleasing shock.

“I wasn’t anticipating it at all. I got a call last night around 12 when the announcement was made. I started getting a lot of calls from Los Angeles, when I realised that I have been nominated for a Grammy,” Kej tells with fun, admitting that he has already began planning about his journey to the US for the award ceremony in February subsequent 12 months.

“After I got to know that I have been nominated, the first thing that I did was get up and call Stewart Copeland (his collaborator and founder and drummer of the rock band The Police). Then I immediately booked my hotel. I have been going to the Grammys for the last eight years, and the one thing I have learnt from that experience is that hotels in LA run out during those days,” he provides.

For the Grammy gong, Kej and Copeland are competing in opposition to The Chainsmokers, Christina Aguilera, Anita Brevik, Nidarosdomens Jentekor & Trondheimsolistene, and Jane Ira Bloom.

“From the ground up, we had envisioned this album as an immersive album, with the music which transports people to different places, and evokes positive emotions. To be recognised with this particular category is quite amazing. And the other nominees in this category are Christina Aguilera and The Chainsmokers, who are one of the biggest acts in the world. It is pretty amazing to be nominated alongside them,” he says, confessing that it feels good to be recognised within the mainstream class.

“We are competing against mainstream artists. Ours is a completely Indian album, with completely Indian music. The soul of the album is North Indian and South Indian with classical influences. It does feel quite amazing that an Indian album is actually competing with mainstream Western music,” says the two-time Grammy winner.

As he will get able to jet off to the US for the Grammy award ceremony, Kej hopes that Indian artists cease chasing western influences to get worldwide recognition, and that’s the message he needs his outing on the award ceremony to replicate.

“Indian artists across India feel that in order to achieve international recognition, they have to do English music or do Western forms of music. That is not the case. I am a living proof of that, so is Ravi Shankar, and Zakir Hussain. The way to get international recognition is to always stay true to yourself, and dig deeper into your roots to figure out who are you as a musician,” he says whereas wrapping up.

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