Express press service
Becoming a singer was pure chance for Akhil Sahni. Singer-songwriter Sahni started learning the electronic keyboard at the age of eight, then began learning classical piano at the age of ten – he always believed he would eventually become a composer of film music or contemporary music.
However, during a live performance, a friend forced Sahni (then 16) to sing on stage. “That’s when I thought, ‘It’s not that bad actually,'” said the musician, who currently commutes between Delhi, Gurugram and London.
After two guitar-driven singles – 1368 and On My Birthday – Sahni’s latest release, Dream is a song about “being lost in a world of visuals with a loved one”. Speaking of this piece, Sahni adds: “I am fascinated by the dream; it’s just the most beautiful concept ever. Humans still haven’t understood why we dream and why these amazing stories come to us at night. I wanted to express that through song. In this interview, we talk to the 19-year-old artist about his musical influences, how he got started writing songs, and more.
Tell us about your first musical influences. Also, how has that changed now?
My musical influences have always been the same; just more [influences] keep adding to it. Growing up, one of my first idols was [German film score composer] Hans Zimmer. Then there’s Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Coldplay, JP Saxe.
Did you go from singer to songwriter?
I’ve been playing classical piano all my life and always thought I would become a film score composer or a contemporary music composer. But that changed when I was 16 [after the live performance]. Later, I realized that I wanted to sing the songs that I do; I don’t want others to sing my stories. I am a self-taught singer; I’ve only been singing for two or three years. I picked up the guitar and started writing a lot of music instead of [composing on] the classical piano. And this trip took its turn. A songwriter is what I am in my truest sense and what I want to be, so it’s amazing that I’ve found that.
1368 and On My Birthday mainly feature the guitar. How did Dream become a piano ballad?
Whenever I wrote songs on the piano, I complicated things. So I made a vow to write on the guitar; I could focus more on melodies, lyrics, tone, etc. And the instrumental will be simple because I can’t complicate it, even if I wanted to.
Slowly, over time, I learned to make the piano a friend. The dream is that sweet spot that I hit with my first real piano song. Also, he [making Dream] was just the best experience ever. It is a simple sound but also has its complex elements; I think it’s my best song to date. You can never go wrong with a piano ballad.
Many languages, styles, stories, different productions. There’s a Hindi EP – with three or four songs – that I’m working on with one of my best friends. I’m incredibly excited for the future.
Akhil Sahni’s ‘Dream’ is streaming on all major platforms.