What would you do if someone told you that you had the opportunity to perform a 40-minute set in front of industry professionals in New Orleans? Fight to the death? Hand over your first born? Well, Prateek Kuhad didn’t have to do anything that extreme, but he did win the Cutting Edge Opportunity here at Indaba. I caught up with him after his weekend get away to see how it went and to get to know him a little better!
Katie: How did you get started in music?
I’ve trained in Indian classical music on and off from the age of 6. And I started playing the guitar when I was 16. There’s a funny story to this actually. I started playing the guitar in high school after failing in my guitar class. I never really practiced that much (probably because I was lazy) but I did not want to fail so I took guitar lessons just so I could pass. Those classes were a blessing in disguise because I got hooked. I started playing the guitar all the time. I would come back from school and spend all my time playing the guitar and singing. Music became my biggest passion. I know that sounds a bit cliché and anti-climactic but it’s the truth.
My good friend and manager, Dhruv Singh introduced me to Indaba Music. He put me up in the “Nola Downtown Music Festival” contest on your website and (surprisingly) I was shortlisted for it, and eventually won.
Katie: What was the New Orleans trip experience like?
It was great. I met a lot of good people from the industry, including some very talented songwriters. I performed seven of my originals and got a lot of good feedback. A couple of other musicians who were in New Orleans, and some of the panelists at the conference came up to me to talk about my music and it was all very encouraging.
The chance to go to New Orleans and play with some amazing musicians at a great location is the best thing that has happened to me recently, and for that I am grateful to indaba music. It was a rewarding experience.
Katie: What would your tip for aspiring musicians be?
Goes without saying that practice is key. So is resilience. Don’t give up on your dreams. For songwriters specifically, work hard to make your experiences count. Travel, read, meet new people, and let your experiences inspire your music.
written by katie smith