Ricky Kej, a music composer, had many ambitions, but the Grammys were not among them. “They simply happened,” says Kej, who earned his second Grammy this year, adding, “It looked like an unachievable dream when I got my first one at the age of 33.” Making music in India isn’t something you’d expect to happen, yet it did. It throws your entire life into disarray; you’ve won a major prize and have no idea what to do next.”

As a result, he realised that having goals such as rewards makes no sense.

“There’s nothing wrong with the music in Bollywood,” Kej responds when asked if he has any aspirations to compose music for films. But I’ve decided not to do it… I prefer to compose music that comes from my heart… While the quality of [film] music is excellent, it is not created from the heart. “Item songs and love songs are the only kind of music that come out of India.”

Kej, on the other hand, has worked on both independent music and documentaries.

Divine Tides, his Grammy-winning record, contains 40 Karnataka musicians as well as American artist Stewart Copeland. “My favourite musicians are from Bengaluru, and they are all Bengalureans.” As a result, they’ll always be a part of my initiatives,” adds Kej.

Kej and his band played in front of 5,000 Army families in Bengaluru on Monday, the first of many gigs he’ll be doing this year. “The Army summoned me to perform the concert.” I was overjoyed to be here,” says Kej, whose band will perform at 18 more shows in India and overseas in the coming month, including Delhi, Mumbai, Sweden, and others.