KAILASH KHER’s meteoric rise from a humble upbringing outside of New Delhi to being appointed a judge for the 2008-09 season of Indian Idol – all before the age of 30 - is nothing less than remarkable. It is also a testament to the strength and appeal of what is undeniably one of the most unique voices in Indian music today.
Despite numerous childhood years of classical Indian music training under the tutelage of nearly 10 different gurus, it was the traditional folk songs sung by his father that exerted the most influence on this young artist’s life. In 2001, after a series of unsuccessful forays in various family business ventures, Kailash left New Delhi for Mumbai, home to the highly competitive Bollywood film and music industry. Homeless and living on a train station platform in Mumbai, Kailash’ first recording was on an advertising jingle for a diamond company called "Nakshatra" for the equivalent of $100. Soon after the recording of a handful of jingles, the raw, earthy and soulful strength of his voice - often compared to the late Qawwali maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - caught the attention of every production house and film composer in Mumbai. By 2004, Kailash was catapulted into the spotlight having performed on some of the biggest hits of the India. Since 2001, his credits include over sixty different film soundtracks and nearly two hundred jingles.
Though the Bollywood playback world has proven rewarding, it is undoubtedly the Sufi-folk rock and funk musings of Kailash in collaboration with brothers Naresh and Paresh Kamath that provides the greatest form of satisfaction for Kailash. Naresh and Paresh – both fixtures of the Indian rock and jazz scene – were introduced to Kailash early on by Bollywood composers Salim & Sulaiman. Together they began a collaboration that resulted in the creation of a new band, Kailash Kher’s Kailasa. A combination of Kailash’s strong traditional folk sensibilities and lyrics that invoke Sufi-mystical dimensions, with Naresh and Paresh’s more modern rock, electronic and funk influences, Kailasa released two critically and commercially acclaimed albums in India (Kailasa and Jhommo Re) and toured worldwide to sold out audiences.
Never one to rest on their laurels, 2009 promises to be an entirely new adventure for Kailash Kher’s Kailasa with the upcoming release of re-recorded and remixed material and unreleased new material on the elite North American based world music label Cumbancha Records.