FARHAN : AN INTRODUCTION
Farhan is the superstar you’ve most likely never heard of.
At home in India, he’s a hugely successful and influential figure in Bollywood. He’s an actor, screenwriter, director and producer with countless movies to his name, not least one leftfield credit that won him acclaim in the west: this poet and songwriter wrote the lyrics for the songs on Bride and Prejudice, the Anglo-Indian musical romcom that was director Gurinder Chadha’s follow-up to Bend It Like Beckham.
More than that: this is a multi-hyphenate with creativity in his genes, stretching back (literally) centuries – on his father’s side, there have been acclaimed poets in the family for seven generations (“that we are aware of”).
“Music and film have always been my passions,” explains this lifelong guitarist. “Both my parents are screenwriters and my dad a poet, so it really was an artistic environment I grew up in.”
Farhan is also an activist who applied his lifelong passions for music and film – not to mention his celebrity in the sub-continent – to found an organisation and travel round India, educating young men “about their responsibility in the gender discourse”. His work in this area led to UN Women select him as the first male South Asia goodwill ambassador for the HeforShe initiative.
And now, finally, Farhan has written and recorded his debut album. Echoes is the album of his life, a set of classic-sounding, self-written songs that reflect a childhood steeped in the greats of both Indian music, Kishore Kumar, musician Ravi Shankar and of western rock and pop: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, David Bowie. Recorded in Milan, the rich, melodic album was produced by Grammy-winning producer Tommaso Colliva (Franz Ferdinand, Jesus and Mary Chain, Muse).
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“I needed some time out for myself, to reconnect with things other than film and to look at where my life’s at – there were many changes happening simultaneously, the biggest being the end of a 16-year marriage” he says.
Key to that process was one of the standouts on Echoes, ‘Let’s Be Friends Again’. It’s a bouncy song with the energy of Sixties R&B.
“I wrote that about the evolution of my relationship with my now ex-wife. Hoping that we can maybe arrive at a place we were at when we first got together – really good friends.”
At the other end of the time and romance spectrum is the lovely, cello-flecked, Nick Drake-like ‘Seagull’, initially written as a poem 25 years ago.
“It was dealing with having been in love with someone, and her having to move away from Mumbai to where she came from.”
With his inbuilt artistry and his CV – not to mention his genes – Farhan has already proven he’s adept at speaking to millions, and at using his voice for change. And now, with his tuneful, universal debut album, this gifted musician is ready to speak to people in a whole new winning way.
Explaining the album’s title, he notes that, “Echoes. It’s about chapters in my life and voices in my head that have influenced the writing. All of us have our personal journeys through life, through love. We struggle at times to make sense of our emotions and of the world around us. So here I am, speaking as honestly as I can about my journey.”
Acclaimed Indian actor Farhan has released his debut single, ‘Rearview Mirror’, the first track to be taken from his upcoming debut album, Echoes, out January 25th.
Channelling the timelessness of early David Bowie and the ambition of Sgt Peppers…, ‘Rearview Mirror’ is an infectious blend of soft rock orchestration and delicate melodies tinged with subtle psychedelia. Flowing seamlessly through punchy verses and choruses that swell effortlessly into euphoric crescendos, the track is a tactful assessment of introspection amid delicately crafted musicianship.
It’s also a reflective take on changing personal circumstances, the track deals with his recent separation from his wife. “It’s about dealing with the guilt of being the one who ended the relationship,” says Farhan. “But the thing is, there’s nothing to be gotten from looking past and looking forward at the same time – you’re never going to end up anywhere.”