Music | Interview | GIJU JOHN – AN INTEL ENGINEER FINDS HIS “DANCING” SHOES!!!

GIJU JOHN – AN INTEL ENGINEER FINDS HIS “DANCING” SHOES!!!

Posted by Shyla Lopez on November 4, 2009 | 9 Comment

When people descend on a city to make their life, whether it is coming to Mumbai to eke out a living or to Silicon Valley in the US, most come with some dreams and aspirations, then life takes over. The day to day battle of making a living consumes and becomes all important. It is very few, very determined, very passionate individuals who are able to strike a balance between their job and their passion. It takes a lot out of one and it asks for some supreme sacrifices. Giju John is one such individual, who while becoming a successful engineer in Intel, has also, along the way, managed to keep that flame of Salsa burning within and then taken that flame and given it a concrete form, to become a full fledged artist. Here is more about this talented artist.

1. Latin –Indian pop a genre not many have ventured into. What inspired you?

I’ve been a performing artist for many years and I always wanted to do “my own thing”, if you will, in the music and entertainment field. Although my basic training has been in Carnatic music and Bharat Natyam (a popular south Indian classical dance), I was always inclined towards doing something in the pop music genre. After I moved to US, in 1998, I

took upon salsa dancing. Few months into the learning phase, I was completely hooked to the flavor of Latin music and dances, as a dancer as well as a musician. I was also part of an Indian music band at that time. Singing Indian songs and dancing salsa and cha cha cha – it didn’t take long for my creative side to kick in and explore the possibility of combining the two. That’s how this new genre got conceptualized; it was back in 2004. Since then I’ve released my first Latin Indian cross over album – Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya, launched Beyond Dreamz Entertainment, produced three music videos including the very first Indian-salsa and Indian-Cha-Cha-Cha videos, and done numerous dance productions in the Latin-Indian genre.

2.Do u have a formal training in singing?

Yes, I was trained in Carnatic music (classical music branch in the southern part of india) from the age of 9 through 15. In the recent times, I’ve restarted my training – this time in Hindustani music (classical music branch in the northern part of india) from a highly accomplished master – Sri Mahesh Kale.

3. You are a world ranked salsa dancer. What attracted an Intel engineer to this form of dancing?

Flavor ( ‘sabor’ as they call it in Spanish). Just like millions of salseros and salseras out there, I got attracted or rather addicted J to its wonderfully infectious flavor. As a trained dancer I also appreciated the good balance between the difficulty in techniques and the creative freedom it allows.

4. It sure must have been one challenging and difficult journey. What keeps Giju ticking?

What keeps me ticking is my passion towards music and dance. Also the prospect of popularizing this unique, vibrant music genre of Latin-Indian fusion, as well as the highly encouraging responses I’ve been getting from my listeners and audience.

5. Salsa is catching up in India too. What is your take on it?

Salsa, along with the other Latin dance forms like Cha Cha, Bachata and Meringue, are getting hugely popular in India. As a matter of fact, for my cha cha cha music video – Dhoondun Tujhe – I’d roped in some of the best dancers from different cities to be the main as well as supporting cast. There are numerous schools across the country with hundreds of thousands of students and I’ve worked with two of the original dance schools over there – LVDS (Banglore) and Salsa-India (Mumbai). They are doing a spectacular job with the spreading of this wonderful dance form. Actually two of my good friends – Richard and Sneha – got to the finals of India’s got Talent and almost clinched the title with their salsa shows. From what I’ve seen so far, the dancers over there are progressing at a really high pace towards the world class level. And I’m very much looking forward to working with them on more projects.

6. The music video ‘dil ko kiya’ is very beautifully shot. Tell us about its making?

Yes, it came out great. ‘Dil Ko Kiya’ was the first song that was composed and it has been very close to my heart. When my CD was released, along with the latin fusion tracks – rang rangeeli yeh duniya and dhoondun tujhe – this song also became very popular. So I started thinking about some ideas. The initial one was to go an exotic location like Brazil (the director of my first video had close ties with some technicians over there). But then budget became a major constraint. Couple of my other ideas also didn’t pan out and so I started focusing more on ‘Dhoondun Tujhe’. During one of my trips to india, my good old friend Sandeep Mohan – who is a noted writer and upcoming director in Mumbai – floated (no pun intended :-) ) the idea of making a music video for Dil Ko Kiya with the backwaters of kerala as the backdrop. He was also very confident of doing it within a limited budget that I had in mind, which he ended up fulfilling as well. We started brainstorming for the story line and he started coming up with these wonderfully crazy ideas like floating bathtub, wearing suit in rain, musical chess board etc. So I pretty much went along with complete trust in his

vision and ability. And has he delivered or what..!! All those ‘crazy’ ideas were pulled off with such élan without losing the emotional connect in the story. Hats off to you Sandy..!!:-)
I was also very lucky to have another great director on board – Pradipto Nandi – for my cha cha cha music video Dhoondun Tujhe. From the concept to the final product, he had clear artistic as well as directorial vision for every single detail. It was his idea to do an Indian take on the classic ‘Dirty Dancing’. Showcasing the dance form without losing the grip on storytelling was a major feat accomplished in this video. Much props to you, Prody.:-)

7. What are your upcoming projects?

I’m currently working on two Bollywood projects. Doing the choreography for one movie and in the second one, I’ll be producing and singing two songs and will be debuting as an actor as well. :-)
With my dance company, I’m preparing the team for the 2009 San Francisco Salsa Congress. I’ve also recently launched “Tiranga Productions” partnering with my friend Kamal Shah from the east coast, with the primary focus of investing in Bollywood projects.

Few other details about me:
My website – www.gijujohn.com


My videos page – www.gijujohn.com/videos
Direct youtube links:
YouTube Preview Image (Dhoondun Tujhe)
YouTube Preview Image (Dil Ko Kiya)
YouTube Preview Image (Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya)
Lyrics page: http://gijujohn.com/Song-Lyrics.html (with English translation)
Facebook musician page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/GIJU/133229957073

9 Responses
 
very inspiring... where can we the buy the cd from? all the best. gary liam November 5, 2009 at 1:57 am
 
 
dl ko kiya video is so beautiful and romantic. thanx for featuring it. how come we don't see this on MTV?? sherry November 5, 2009 at 2:12 am
 
 
The video "Dil Ko Kiya" is nicely done. Good job, Giju!! Director, Sandeep Mohan has done a wonderful job too. Giju, Best Wishes in all your future endeavors!! S R November 5, 2009 at 5:36 am
 
 
Although the salsa dance has been evolving in its difficulty and dancers have become way more advanced over the last few years, most of this advancement comes in form of improved execution and increased complexity of the dances. Quite rarely does one see true innovation and sheer creativity similar to Giju's. He's been able to seamlessly combine such seemingly distant cultures and art forms as Indian and Latin, and he's just getting started. I can't wait to see the continuation of his story. Dima Yepishin November 6, 2009 at 2:59 am
 
 
I love "rang rangeeli yeh duniya" - it's pretty catchy tune. saroj yadav November 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm
 
 
you can buy Giju's music tracks from www.cdbaby.com/giju1 thnx Beyond Dreamz Staff BD November 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm
 
 
dedication + perfection = GJ....hats off to you.go ahead ..bindaas anwar November 7, 2009 at 10:52 am
 
 
Giju is the next star in the making ...loads of wishes to the Salsa maniac Bobo November 25, 2009 at 6:05 am
 
 
giju , you are great creative guy. make yourself known into wider world.  world is your oyster. niki February 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm
 
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