MCCI Leadership Series: Ideas For India at 100 with Dr. Ricky Kej, award-winning musician and environmentalist
“My message on the environment to everyone: Let us stop waiting for someone else to make a change, and make small incremental changes ourselves.”
Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry organised an online edition of the MCCI Leadership Series: Ideas For India at 100 with Dr. Ricky Kej, award winning musician and environmentalist on 14th November 2022.
Dr. Kej, has won the Grammy twice and serves as the UNESCO “Global Ambassador for Kindness”, UNCCD “Land Ambassador”, UNICEF “Celebrity Supporter” & Ambassador for “Earth Day Network”, spoke at length about his love for music and nature, and his messages both on art and the environment.
President Rishabh C. Kothari, who moderated the session, mentioned that MCCI Leadership Series: Ideas for India invites Leaders from diverse fields to deliberate on their vision of India in its centenary year in a conversation around the topic. He asked Dr. Kej to comment on the relationship between his music and advocacy; on whether Indian music needed to look at its legacy differently in the run-up to 2047, and on what Dr. Kej’s advice to aspiring musicians would be.
Dr. Kej in his response mentioned that historically music was synonymous with the sounds of Nature and had only been academically taught for the past thousand years, and as a musician and an environmentalist he found no dichotomy in his love for both. He felt music communicates messages and helps us retain messages, lets us take the complex thoughts of advocacy and take them to everyone – so it is paramount in advocacy. On advocacy, he felt that there are two ways to send a message: shaming people into action or making everyone fall in love with the idea so they take action, so people will protect what they love. He believed in the second approach. When it comes to music, most people in India think about music in English or Western music when they want recognition; yet it was artists who dug deep into their roots who gained recognition – we should dig deep into our roots and create. It is important to be ourselves rather than ape the West. He pointed out that Bollywood music, which is essentially western melodies with Indian lyrics today, gains a lot of audience, but does not break cultural barriers. It is folk and Indian classical that truly reaches a wider audience. To aspiring musicians he said – Music is not a traditional career path; you have to be a very good artist; you have to be an entrepreneur; you have to sell yourself constantly; you have to have very strong leadership qualities because you are working with large teams all the time. And you have to make your own art and find the audience for it, money will always be secondary.
The inspiring discussion with implications for all involved in culture and creativity, will be available on the YouTube Channel : MCCIKol.