Mumbai Composer Mikey McCleary Reinterpreting Bollywood

Mumbai-based New Zealander, songwriter and composer Mikey McCleary, 45, is a musical jack-of-all-trades making it in the Indian advertising world reinterpreting Bollywood songs and writing music requiring an “international-esque” sound.

One of McCleary’s most famous compositions was for a Coke commercial featuring actor Imran Khan and French/Indian actress Kalki Koechlin. Working on that gave him the confidence to create The Bartender, an album that contains revamped versions of Hindi classics.

A Bandra boy who calls the Mumbai suburb a cocoon, with its laidback attitude and leafy lanes, McCleary feels at home in India. The demands and work ethics are different here. Things are done at a faster pace. But that’s taught him to be more instinctive.

He prefers working with the Indian ad fraternity. At least here people come directly to you, he says, as opposed to the west where music composers are chosen via a pitch and if your company wins the account, you’re just one of a five member team. Dealing with traditional tracks is always a challenge. But being able to do something unique with language and culture constraints gives him a high.

In the song “Gannu Rocks” for Bollywood film Sonali Cable, McCleary blends Ganesh Arti with electro rock.

“Little things you do for me,” is a Vodafone jingle that’s been made into a full-fledged song for McCleary’s debut TV Dinners, an album length compilation of his work in advertising.

McCleary studied Composition and Orchestration at the Wellington Conservatorium of Music and at Victoria University.

Original article by Shephali Bhatt, Economic Times, October 1, 2014.

Tags: Bartender (The)  Bollywood  Economic Times  Imran Khan  Kalki Koechlin  Mikey McCleary  Mumbai  Sonali Cable  TV Dinners  Victoria University  Wellington Conservatorium of Music  

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