On the occasion of Michael Jackson’s birthday, his die-hard fan Nikhil Gangavane resurrects his music career

When Michael Jackson was falsely accused in 2003, die-hard fan Nikhil Gangavane penned “The Michael Jackson Anthem” in…

When Michael Jackson was falsely accused in 2003, die-hard fan Nikhil Gangavane penned “The Michael Jackson Anthem” in defence of his idol, it was just his way of showing his unflinching belief in the idol. Soon, the lyrics went on to make the Michael Jackson Anthem, composed and sung by Gangavane and released in 2003. Because of its purpose and the name Michael Jackson attached to it, it had millions of downloads. He commercially released the Michael Jackson anthem on Michael Jackon’s death anniversary and has now launched his first fresh single “Back to You” on occasion of Michael Jackson’s 62nd birthday. He calls this as the resurrection of his musical career after an exile of almost 15 years.

Nikhil Gangavane has composed background scores for many documentaries, performed
Michael Jackson songs (singing and dancing) in many concerts and is a professional
photographer. He is also quite known for his exclusive memorabilia collections of Shammi
Kapoor and Michael Jackson due to his personal connections with them. His Michael Jackson Memorabilia collection is the biggest in India and his Shammi Kapoor memorabilia which consists of many autographed items is the biggest in the world giving him a spot in Limca Book of Records. We talked to him about his versatile career till now and his comeback plans.

What kept you away from music for 16 long years?

There were multiple issues some personal and some artistic. Though I was singing and dancing on Michael Jackson songs people tended to call me an impersonator which I wasn’t. I never tried to look like him except for appropriate costumes for appropriate performances like thriller or billie jean. I needed to get out of that public fixation about my MJ-like image and I needed to think freshly about my own original music.

Why this specific year for comeback… anything special about it?

Well there were many changes in my personal life, the isolation during covid crisis gave me a lot of time to reflect at a deeper level on myself. I realized that I am an artist first and then anything else. I needed to create and perform apart from the mundane routine work I have been doing these past 16 years. Also, a lot has changed in the music industry in these years, earlier we were at the mercy of music labels, now we are not!

Tell us about your future releases and especially about your first single “Back to You”

“Back to You” an electro-pop song about revenge. This song and many of my immediate
lined-up compositions were made 15 years back. I am re-working on them and releasing
them first before composing fresh new music. My mind will be more clearer and focused
with all my prior work being out. I am making it a point as not to change the arrangement or the sound of the songs to make them sound like songs of current times. I released The
Michael Jackson Anthem prior to Back to You, but I can’t call it a new release after its
download in millions back then. I launched it as my first commercial single to take it as a
good luck or best wishes from my idol.

What about your personal relations with the legendary Shammi Kapoor?

Well there is so much about it and yet not much to be told. It was like a father-son relation. Ialways called him Papaji and he always treated me like a son. He trusted me a lot. The strength of our relation lied in spirituality and technology, a common passion we shared. I miss him a lot. I shared almost everything with him and he always advised me rightly. The times I spent at his residence were always blissful and exciting. Such things can happen only for a divine reason else there was no apparent cause for me to be so personally related to him.

Tell us about your photography, we have heard you have exclusive pictures of Nana
Patekar, Mahesh Manjrekar, Shivaji Satam, Vikram Gokhle and more!

Photography was a hobby until I stopped music. I am an accidental “professional”
photographer. I was mainly submitting to international stock agencies and doing exclusive
assignments for some production houses in Bollywood. I always had an immense respect for Nana Patekar as a person and wished to meet him in my lifetime. It happened so that I
ended up to be the only photographer at an Asha Bhosle concert where he was on the stage too. My photography reached him, thanks to his son Malhar and rest was history. After I started working on Natasamrat my work reached more people and fortunately was
appreciated.

I still kind of submit for international stock photography where I have been one of the top
contributors from India. Apart from that I am a top contributor on Google Maps also where
my images have been viewed more than 45 million times.

Your last Michael Jackson performance was a tribute concert when he passed away in 2009, do you plan to restart MJ performances again?

Honestly I don’t know. Considering my age I am not sure if I have the stamina to pull off a
concert which is about singing and dancing on the stage without a break. I could have
managed it if I was in practice, but since I wasn’t it will be a hard thing to do. The event
management scene has also changed a lot so I don’t know how many people will be
interested in Michael Jackson performances that is less of showbiz and more of authentic
art.

Isn’t it true that your spiritual counselling and healing is the reason you could reach to many celebrities?

Well, yes and no. I reached some celebrities because of art and yes some for spiritual reasons. But these are like personal things and like an unsigned non-disclosure contract. I can’t talk a lot about this.

We wish you the best for your future projects and look forward to hear your original music.

Thank you. I hope I don’t fall short of expectations of people who have been appreciating
me and supporting me all over these years.

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