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Having worked in the industry for five years, this Kiwi composer and music producer gives tunes from the 60s and 70s a twist

Music producer Mikey McCleary is a fan of the black and white era. The New Zealander has drawn attention with his trademark remix of old songs like Mast Kalandar and Khoya Khoya Chand. Awaiting the release of his songs from movies like Bombay Velvet and Sonali Cable, the 45-year-old has also collaborated with A R Rahman for his song Pray for me Brother. The Mumbai-based singer, performer and producer has also given us some unforgettable jingles for brands like Levi’s, Vodafone, Titan and Coca Cola. More from him:

TV Dinner has caught a lot of attention. Could you tell us about that?
The album TV Dinner, is a compilation of all the ad jingles that I have made. It is an  unusual album because I had several people ask me ‘what would the extension of that track sound like?’ or ‘where can we find the original?’ That gave me the idea to bring all of them together and add some lyrics and convert it into a song. I have included jingles of Vodafone,  Titan and more.
What about your Bollywood projects?
I have composed the music of Sonali Cable in which the song Gannu Rocks is very interesting and have worked on a bhajan. Then there is Bombay Velvet for which I have composed a dance song. It is  upbeat and I must say, addictive.
Tell us a little about working with Hindi lyrics, when you don’t know the language?
Sometimes when we are listening to a romantic song, we tend to focus more on the lyrics than the music. For example, if we are talking about a girl in a village wearing anklets, I will tend to add the sound of bells in the track. When I am unaware about the lyrics, I can come up with better music.

Your thoughts on directing.
Yes, I like all things visual (My website mikeymccleary.com is an indicator). Having worked in the industry for five years, I have a better idea about what will work and what will not in terms of direction and it is always good to have a creative hobby.

You had made an album compiling all the songs of Amitabh Bachchan. Who is next?
I think Rajinikanth or Dhanush will be a good idea. It would be nice to put all his songs together. I made the Amitabh album for his 70th birthday this year, when I was performing at his private party.

Your biggest challenge?
In India, there are so many different styles. I have to keep in mind that I am presenting my music to an audience that is varied with different backgrounds.

What do you have to say about the music made in Bollywood these days?
I think the fact that a lot of indie bands are involved in Bollywood is good. I loved the music by The Lightyears Explode! for the movie David.
Bombay Velvet is scheduled to release in November

Must know
Next collaborator: I have already worked with A R Rahman, but
from the new batch I would like
to collaborate with Sneha
Khanwalkar and Amit Trivedi
iPod mix: I am listening to Sky Rabbit
Inspiration: I like music from the 60s and 70s,The Beatles and Bob Dylan

— Mrinalini Sundar

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