Nikhil Budhraja, or Enbee as he is more popularly known as, grew up learning Hindustani classical music and along the way, picked up various other forms of music including rap. Since the last couple of years, the singer-composer-rapper has managed to strike a fine balance between doing films and independent projects.
In this interview, he talks about recreating Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘Kinna Sona’, how being a trained musician helped him, being identified as ‘Enbee’, upcoming projects and more.
What made you recreate Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘Kinna Sona’?
My love for Nusrat sahab led me towards recreating this song. It’s an ode to Nusrat sahab. I have always been hugely inspired by him. I would definitely be covering more of his songs in the future. We had actually made this song in 2012. Ikka Singh had written it with me. I released it on my YouTube channel in 2014. There was no video to it then. It was an older version of this rendition and the music was very different. When I started working with Zee Music Company, I decided to make a proper video out of it. I have co-directed the video too.
You are the grandson of the celebrated classical vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. You have learnt Hindustani classical music from Tanveer Ahmed Khan and have trained in western piano as well. How did rap music come in to your life?
Actually, it happened accidentally. I wanted a rapper for a particular track. I couldn’t find one, so I did it myself as there was nobody around. When Zee Music Company signed me, they wanted me to create more of such tracks. In the last 6-7 years, there has been a huge demand for such music in the commercial market. It was a trend I had to understand and follow. A lot of people think it’s easy to do rap but that’s not true. I really enjoyed my time understanding this genre. It started out of compulsion but now, I love doing it. I want to make all kinds of music. I try to bring my classical side to the fore too. A bit of it was there in ‘Kinna Sona’.
Your real name is Nikhil Budhraja. How did you decide to use Enbee as your professional name?
I had actually started my music career with the name ‘Nick’. My first album had released under the same name. There were some legal issues that had happened because of me using that name. There was an option to fight but I saw it as a sign from God and decided to opt for another name. The initials of my name are ‘NB’, so I decided to go a little creative with it and use ‘Enbee’ as my professional name.
You have worked as a composer and/or rapper in films like ‘Jhootha Hi Sahi’ and ‘Taish’, among others. Do you plan to do more films?
Yes, definitely! There have been many films in which I have composed and rapped. I want to sing and compose more often. Composing music will always be my first love.
How important do you think is training for a musician?
Tanveer Ahmed sahab taught me for several years and I shall always be grateful for his training. I have been self-taught in many ways. Nobody taught me to use the different music tools and software or how to record songs. I learnt technical things like mixing and mastering on my own. All these things I learnt on my own while I was in college. Today, a lot of emphasis is given to the personality of a musician and it is true that if you are presented well, you can become a successful musician despite not knowing much about music. However, if you want to make good music, you must take proper training. Even opting for self-training on a regular basis would prove to be very helpful.
What is the kind of music we can look forward from you in the near future?
There is one single that shall release soon. I have done rap in it. Nia Sharma features in the video. It is a recreation of the iconic hit ‘Saat Samundar Paar’. There are a few film songs which are lined up for release. I have sung for a film starring Aditya Roy Kapur.
You played a cameo in ‘Aashiqui 2’. Do you plan to act more often?
What happened with ‘Aashiqui 2’ was that we had gone to Mahesh Bhatt saab’s office to pitch a few songs. We met Mohit Suri for the film and made him listen to a few tracks we had created. After a few days, we were called to his office. I thought our song had been selected but then, I realized he wanted me to do a cameo in the film. I have no plans of acting in films at the moment. I just want to act in my music videos (laughs).