“Woh pal… har dil me buss gaya hai… Jab Chandrayaan, ne chuaa chaand ko.
Saalon kee tayari, Meelon kee savari… ye kaamyabi pe humme garv hai.”
(The moment Chandrayaan touched the moon is embedded in our hearts; Years of hard work, miles of travel… we are proud of this achievement)
These are the lyrics of renowned singer-songwriter and radio prodigy Vineet Singh Hukmani’s latest Hindi debut ‘ISRO. India Ka Asli Hero’.
Inspired by ISRO’s recent remarkable achievements, it is the first such musical tribute to be released soon after the moon and sun missions.
Beginning with an excerpt of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulatory speech, it also features brief snippets of the ‘landmark’ audio bytes of the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) Chairman S Somanath and the mission directors.
The heartfelt and highly spontaneous tribute song is filled with pride and gratitude for the scientists at ISRO.
“It has a feeling of celebration, is upbeat and full of lyrical praise for these amazing people who work hard, with so much precision and dedication to meet their mission goals,” says Hukmani.
Like every Indian, the Harvard Business School alumnus was glued to his TV set that fateful day.
“In the final moments just before the lunar landing, I was holding my breath! When it happened, there was such a happy energy. The collective ‘Indian’ energy of the moment was flowing through me like a beacon of inspiration,” Hukmani recalls.
Watching the subsequent Aditya L1 mission [to sun] launch, he was amazed at the quiet confidence of the ISRO scientists.
“As I watched and observed the faces of ISRO Chairman Mr Somanath and all the mission directors of both Chandrayaan 3 and Aditya L1, I noticed some qualities that will probably inspire generations to come: expertise, that led to so much precision; dedication and unity that enabled a huge team to function as one with a single purpose; and resilience of over four years of hard work. And of course, the Indian ingenuity of keeping costs so low,” he elaborates.
Vineet is the first Asian/Indian to achieve a series of accomplishments on global radio charts in 2021 — along with multiple Grammy submissions. He has a world record for being the first artist in the world to have 9 number 1s in 2021 on Euro Indie charts.
On making his Hindi debut, Hukmani says that it is the magic of the landmark moment that brought in him an expanse of Hindi expression and melody.
He wrote the chorus of the song immediately after watching the lunar landing. Equally inspired by the Aditya L1 mission and the future Ganganyaan announcement, he composed and created the rest of the song over the next few days.
“I am happy that such a great moment inspired me to write my first Hindi song,” he says.
He worked day and night, and ensured that the song was ready for release on September 6, 2023.
The response to the song has been truly satisfying so far, with its YouTube video crossing 1.5 lakh views in 65 hours.
Further, the song’s Instagram reel crossed 1.1 million views in 21 hours.
There have been several comments from people, calling the song an ‘anthem’ of progress.
“People admiring the patriotic lyrics and sing-along tune is so encouraging,” he smiles.
However, what really made Hukmani’s day was the first comment on YouTube — ‘Excellent’ by K Radhakrishnan, former ISRO chairman who was in charge of Mangalyaan, the Mars orbiter mission.
A true Dilliwala, Hukmani has lived in Delhi-NCR for two decades, and his extended family is spread all across the city.
“Wherever I am in the world, I always come ‘home’ to Delhi. The city is a food lover’s paradise and has the most amazing music, art and culture. I have experienced college and work life here, and I love the festive vibe of the city and its people!” he gushes.
The genre-agnostic artist is known for his unique ‘global Indian’ sound design, which makes his music relevant to audiences across the globe.
“Whatever I do, I ensure the song has ‘repeat listening value’ which allows for extensive radio play all over the world,” he says.
His previous release ‘Elevate’ is an English language, global fusion song where for the first time, he garnished global instruments with Indian semi-classical styling, both vocally and instrumentally. An otherwise organic song, Hukmani used AI tech in its video.
Apart from being No. 1 on the European top 100 chart earlier this month, the song has also been accepted for this year’s Grammy submission and is being considered in four different categories.
“I have this constant desire to innovate and disrupt the status quo. My previous catalogue of releases was very well defined, genre wise, and I did taste success with that approach. But I feel crossovers make for interesting musicality and bring in soulful expression,” he says.
Continuing his ‘disruption in immersive-ness’, this year Hukmani also presented the world’s first ‘music-multiverse’.
It consists of a song called ‘RUN! RUN! RUN!’, which was released in immersive stereo and cinematic Dolby Atmos, and was also submitted for the Grammys this year. It also comprises a short 3D animation film and the launch of an original superhero comic book series.
This first-of-a-kind project was completely conceptualised and directed by the multi-faceted artist himself. Gaming rights for this have also been sold, and the song has been monetised at multiple running events — the highlight being Milind Soman’s endorsement of it as a runners’ song on Instagram.
“I constantly try to disrupt and create multiple touch points to not only bring creative delight to audiences but also to enable revenue from my music that helps me sustain this journey,” adds Hukmani.
Having released more than 15 songs and two books within a span of two-and-a-half years, Hukmani plans to collaborate with more artists in the next episode of the ‘Run Storm’ comic book series. He also wants to try his hand at other genres of music, such as Reggae and Disco.
“My next ‘mission’ in the parlance of our space heroes, is to break new ground both in creativity and technology,” he concludes.