'I am somebody because of Indian Idol'
26-year-old Sandeep Acharya, the winner of Indian Idol season 2, hails from Bikaner, Rajasthan.
After doing his BSc, Sandeep came to Mumbai seven years ago to record some bhajans and stayed here to pursue a career in music. Then he got hooked onto watching Indian Idol on TV, which led him to participate in the second season.
And he won!
Patcy N caught up with Sandeep to find out what's going on in his life since winning Indian Idol. Over to Sandeep:
I still remember giving my audition, 3 years back, from Kolkata. I had gone to Nepal to meet my maternal grandmother, and auditions at other places were over. So I went to Kolkata for my audition and got selected.
I am a trained singer. I have learned from Hemant Bhatt and Rajendra Changani and many more teachers. My parents were always supportive about my singing, but they also thought it was just a dream that would fade out eventually.
I think I had luck on my side, because I got selected and won Indian Idol 2. I am happy with whatever I am today.
I live in a joint family. My family is my father, mother, two elder sisters and a brother. All are married, except for me. I am the youngest. My father is a Civil Contractor. My brother is an aeronautical engineer, but now he is in the share market.
I was under a lot of pressure when I entered Indian Idol, because I was not from this place. But I was ready for such a test. Everything was new for me. People's mentalities never matched with mine, and I could not sync with all of them. But I learned along the way.
Today, from nobody, I am somebody.
Image: Sandeep Acharya sings Tu hi haqeeqat
Video: Afsar Dayatar
'For one show I get about Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh'
First of all, I am experienced and have learned a lot. I know exactly how to sing on the stage as well as in a recording studio.
I have even learned how to interact with people. I get to speak and meet and sit with very talented composers and singers. Before, this was all just a dream.
When I started singing, initially I sang for a very cheap rate. In fact I sang in an orchestra and got 500 rupees, for one whole show where I sang about ten songs.
Now things have changed. For one show I get about Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh, and I am doing around 60 to 65 stage shows in a year. Plus if I am singing abroad I get Rs 50,000 to one lakh more. If I am singing one song for a movie I get around Rs 40 to 50 thousand, but it depends upon the production house.
For my stage shows, I have five to six managers in different parts of India who bring me work. They work on a commission basis. And some work comes to me directly.
I have performed with other Indian Idol winners like Abhijeet Sawant and Prashant Tamang. Sourabhee is a good friend, but I have never worked with her.
Image: Sandeep Acharya sings Tera hoone laga hoon
'Now I am doing two albums and a film'
People may think that even after winning Indian Idol I haven't achieved much, but I believe in taking it one step at a time.
So I am happy with my progress. I don't want to start everything quickly and end it fast. I want to my take time and do it slowly and last longer. If you see all the big singers who sustained here, they took time to settle.
After winning Indian Idol my dream was to be able to learn more about my profession and to be able to handle myself better in front of my peers.
My patience had really helped me. Now I am doing two albums and a film, my acting debut. My friend from regional films, Kishore, will be directing this film. I will compose and sing in the film. It is a suspense thriller. It won't affect my singing career.
Image: Sandeep Acharya sings Tumhari zulf ke
'I am on my own and I am still getting good work'
Sony kept their promise. They gave me Rs 1.5 crore in cash prize, and I got a Maruti Baleno.
I had a solo album Mere Saath Saara Jahan, and Woh Pheli Baar with the contestants. I have also sung for their other albums. I got to see the world with my stage shows. Sony handled my stage shows for two years, and they gave me lots of work. But now I am on my own and I am still getting good work.
Image: Sandeep Acharya sings Tum mile
'Money is not a problem anymore'
I have not sung many film songs as I was busy with my stage shows. I have not established myself as playback singer either. I have recorded one or two songs for films but those films are not yet released.
I have sung for Sandeep Chowta and Anu Malik but they're nothing to talk about because nothing is popular yet.
My goal in life is to keep myself happy. I want to do work as and when it comes. Money is not a problem anymore.
Now I want to concentrate on playback singing. If I don't get a chance in film singing, I will make my albums. I will not be happy only doing stage shows, as it wouldn't be satisfying. If my film becomes a hit, I will take up acting as a profession. But still I will never give up singing.
Image: Sandeep Acharya sings