Situated in the northeast of India, lies the beautiful state of Nagaland known for its distinct culture.
Nagaland is a mountainous state with a population of 1,980,602 as per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India.
As Plato quotes, ‘Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul’, music is a universal language understood and felt by every human irrespective of race, creed, and colour. It is food for the soul. Similarly, music plays an integral role in the lives of people here.
Nagaland is blessed with many musical prodigies.
There are numerous upcoming talents and promising musicians who are ready to take off but with a little love and support.
The team of AyeYouth had the opportunity to interview two excellent musicians from Nagaland. They were kind enough to share their experiences with us.
Each of them had their own share of stories to tell as they journeyed into the world of music.
Presenting you our first interviewee:
1. Tell us more about yourself.
· I am Hentick Konyak from Naginimora under Mon district of Nagaland. I am an independent Hindi singer, songwriter, and composer by profession.
2. Hindi (Bollywood) is your choice of song. However the majority of the people in Nagaland go for western music. So, how has your journey been so far? Has it affected your growth?
· Since childhood I grew up listening to Bollywood songs which helped me a lot in my musical career. Choosing the Hindi/Bollywood genre wasn’t easy for me, especially in Nagaland.
Usually, our people don’t really support Hindi songs. Instead, they prefer western music more than Bollywood. It was a rough journey when I started but gradually people started noticing and things turned in shape.
3. Have you ever dreamt of sharing the stage with renowned singers from the mainland (India)? If so, who would that be?
· Of course, yes. Like everybody, I too have my favorite whom I consider my idol and inspiration. If I were given a chance then I would love to collaborate with Mohit Chauhan, Salim Merchant, and Arjit Singh (everyone’s favorite).
4. The government takes the initiative to promote and enhance the music industry in Nagaland. Do you think it is enough or should there be more other means to help potentially talented musicians?
· State government has done tremendous work towards promoting local artists in the state. But this is not enough. We need more production houses where true talents are appreciated.
5. Your melodious vocals and your choice of music genre set you apart from other Naga musicians. Are you satisfied or are you yet to live your dreams?
· Thank you. Well, as of now I am happy with what I’m doing. Of course, there is more to be done. I need to work harder to achieve my goal.
6. Suggest a few ways which will help promote and encourage the upcoming musicians who are extremely passionate about music.
· I personally have come across many hardships in this profession. I’m still striving to achieve my goal. My door is always open for those who want to make music their profession. In short, be sure of it, this profession is not going to be easy. And for those new artists in the industry, first, come up with some covers and let people know you. Be wise in choosing the best genre that suits your voice. Be original (voice) do not try to sound like someone else. Be unique and pray.
7. Taking into consideration the pandemic which has affected all areas of life, do you think things will change for the musicians post COVID?
· Indeed, music has been highly affected by the pandemic, which has left the musicians with no work because of the restriction of social gathering. It might take some time but I believe things will change because TaFMA (Task Force for Music and Arts), an initiative of the Nagaland government, is coming up with many new programs for the musicians.
I believe things will get back to normal sooner or later. Let’s stay positive.
8. Any request you want to make to the people of Nagaland as a musician?
· Actually I have many. Well, few things would be easier for the musicians if the people support us in taking up music as a profession. How long do our people remain stagnant in music?
Life is not only about "home to work", sometimes encourage entertainment or music which I believe is a little capsule of happiness. Please create more opportunities for us maybe in a small way. Encourage us to go hand in hand with the world because we left everything and chose this profession just to deliver you good music for your entertainment.
We have our second interviewee here:
1. Kindly tell us more about you.
· I’m Moko Koza, a full-time musician. My genre is Hip-Hop/Rap. I’m currently signed to Infinity Inc. a record label based in Dimapur.
2. How has your journey been so far?
· I can’t complain. There have been ups and downs but being optimistic is what gets me ahead.
3. Since your genre is rap, have you faced criticisms from the people around you and society?
· There has been some criticism I’ve overcome. Mainly, it comes from people who don’t understand the genre and criticize the artist without having any knowledge. I’ve learned to take things positively and use it to my benefit.
4. What according to you is the KEY to making it to the top?
· Good quality music, creative content, great music video. Overall, it depends on the artist how he/she want to make their music.
5. There has been only a handful of musicians in Nagaland who climb up the national/international ladder despite having a bountiful amount of excellent musicians. What is the barrier here?
· We have had a handful of our own musicians making it to the international stages. This shows that they are really passionate about what they do. Say, music production-wise and how they sell themselves as an artist. We should be able to market ourselves through our music. At the end of the day, it all comes down to marketing.
6. Tell us a few things you would like to change for the better growth of music in Nagaland.
· Different approaches to the song-making process, perspectives, and overall, good quality content.
7. What are your views on the scope of music in Nagaland?
· There is a good scope for music if you’re really passionate about it. Doors will open for you if you work hard and stay intact with your passion.
8. Any advice you want to give to the struggling musicians?
· Everything starts from a humble beginning. We should always keep that in our minds. Hard work and dedication will always take us forth. We tend to lose interest half-way because it’s not happening. And this is where we’re lost. Success doesn’t come easy, we got to work hard for it.
9. What are your future plans?
· I plan on making more music.
With talent, dedication, creative content, good marketing, and support from the people, Nagaland can hope to see the light of the day and outshine. Rome was not built in a day so it might not be an instantaneous growth but we sure can hope for gradual prosperity.
The team of AyeYouth would like to extend our good wishes to Hentick Konyak and Moko Koza in all their future endeavors.