Let us introduce you to Chicago native Anand Bhatt (Pronounced ONN-INN Bott).
Anand got his start at a young age thanks to collaborations with Faith No More, among other celebrity testimonials. Named one of the Top 5 Indian-Americans to watch in Hollywood, Anand is the first Indian-American to be inducted into the Latin Grammys.
Anand's new album is due out soon, and he talked to us about his music, his career, and life as a musician in the Windy City.
How did you get interested in music? Was it always a passion of yours or did it develop later in life?
Music was always fun, but I remember a point in first grade where a friend brought his violin into show and tell. I went home that day and said to my parents, "Frank gets to play the violin, I want one too!" Lucky for me they were cool with the idea.
Who were some of your early influences?
Prince :), Skid Row, Van Halen, and the like. Pretty much anyone with great hair that girls liked ;).
What was it like being an emerging musician in Chicago?
It's easier to put a band together in Chicago than any other city. There are a lot of musicians that are looking to be a part of something. My first bandmates and I were young, so we had the time to dedicate 8 hour long practice sessions every weekend. It didn't feel like practice. We had fun. It felt like goofing off, but with a productive angle. Getting audiences to take new bands seriously, especially local ones, was a challenge in Chicago. But once we started breaking into the scene's attention there was this feeling of being part of something amazing. For instance, as soon as we started getting on local radio (Rebel Radio, Q101, and others) opportunities started appearing often.
We're big Faith No More fans here at MetroSeeker. Tell us about your experience collaborating with Jim Martin.
FNM! That's a great transition from that last question, I would have started talking about Jim anyway! Jim Martin & I met backstage at a Chicago music festival we were both playing at (held at the Vic Theater). I grew up listening to Faith No More, they were a HUUUGE influence. I flat out introduced myself to him and tried my best to hold back my "starstruck-ness." Jim also has the better backstage area with food and everything (vs ours that had nothing but beer and a couch) so I spent a lot of time hanging out in his room. We hit it off and starting working together. I was still in college at the time and couldn't fly to his place in California so I recorded in chicago, and sent him tracks to add his parts to. He would turn in his parts on cassette tape! Jim was a wealth of industry knowledge and advice about life itself. Meeting him was definitely a pivotal point in my life.
We understand you were recognized by the Latin Grammys. What were they honoring you for specifically and how did this develop?
After a certain number of releases in Spanish, I got inducted as a voting member for the Latin Grammy awards. Then, the song "Contigo O Sin Ti" - a collaboration I did with a pop star from Spain (Veronica Romeo) - was being considered on the awards ballot for Disco del Ano y Cancion del Ano (record and song of the year respectively). It got a lot of media attention, really fun!
Can we expect to see you making appearances at the Latin Grammys in coming years?
Absolutely, I have some new Latin releases out this year and more being worked on now - including a collaboration with Latin pop star Gustavo Alarco. Keep your fingers crossed! I might be walking that 2012 Red Carpet. Last year I pulled up in a lime green Lamborghini, not sure if I can top that but sure want to try!
How would you describe your music in 6 words or less?
Fun, International, and Playable Anytime.
Do you have a favorite drink you enjoy while working on music?
Of course! I absolutely love coconut water. So much so that the amount of coconut water I drink got notice, and I now have an endorsement from ONE Coconut Water. I even did a song for them. ONE fans can get the Coconut Water song for free from the ONE Facebook Wall and everyone can choose to get the free download here online.
Do you have any advice for all the aspiring musicians out there?
My initial advice to all musicians is to go within yourself and ask the question - "Is this what I REALLY want?" Because, it's an upstream swim and you will want to really be sure the desire for the goal outweighs the challenges of the hurdles. If you decide music is just a hobby, awesome! You know who you are, and you will have great pleasure in life knowing where your music ranks on your priorty list. But if you know to your bones and down to the pit of your stomach that you won't be satisfied doing anything else, then strap in to the roller coaster, try not to lose focus, and enjoy the ride!
What can we expect next from you?
You can choose to download the Coconut Water song for free from the link above, or wait to pay for it when it hits stores this spring. The new album is self-titled and will hit stores in May/June! I also just started auditioning Latin musicians in Chicago to join me, which means some fun music and events are afoot. Also expect to see me in more TV and promo appearances as well as some cool contests and giveaways from some of my sponsors which will be announced via twitter or on Facebook.