Clinton Cerejo started his career as a background scorer and also worked as a music producer and arranger. Though it took a while to get noticed, recent changes in the industry have made him a popular name in the music world.
I was passionate about music but I never intended to pursue it seriously since our family always emphasised on a good education. My mother was a professor and father an engineer, and before taking up music as a career, I was actually gearing up for an MBA degree. But I was very much into music and used to participate in a lot of festivals while in college.
Amar Haldipur, the father of a college friend Siddharth (from Band of Boys), noticed me and asked me to work with him on his film. It was a Marathi film called Mukta. I did an English number for it. After that, I started working on jingles and one thing led to another.
As Music Producer and Vocal Arranger
When I started my career, I did a lot of vocal arrangements. One day, AR Rahman heard some of my work in Mumbai and called me. The first song I arranged was actually for a Tamil film called Mudhalvan, followed by Taal, Thakshak and Swades. I also worked with him on South Indian films. After that, I worked with Shankar Mahadevan on films like Dil Chahta Hai and Kal Ho Naa Ho. Then, I was a music producer for Vishal Bhardwaj’s films like Omkara, Kaminey, Ishqiya and 7 Khoon Maaf. The profile of a music producer or arranger was not very well defined earlier but things are changing now.
It’s only in India that composers get more prominence than background scorers. If you look at Hollywood films, a background scorer is credited as ‘music composer’ because the background music takes a film forward. Background scoring is a very important role as it allows silence to speak with effective pauses. But with creative directors today, background scoring is becoming an important aspect in every film.
When I started out, I used to do a lot of jingles. That’s when I started singing. But when I started composing, singing took a back seat. But I have started getting offers to sing once again. I have sung for many films and a few of my hit songs are Kho jaane do from Vicky Donor and Hey ya! from Karthik Calling Karthik.
The music market is dominated by Bollywood. If you tune into any music channel or radio channel, all you get are filmy songs. You hardly ever listen to independent musicians’ songs. However, if you log in to YouTube, you will find some good stuff from independent musicians.
I am working on Vishal Bharadwaj’s next project Ek Thi Daayan, for which I am doing the background score.