N. Longleng who was an alumni of the famed Parikrama and Berklee School of Music has been in the music industry for more than a decade and is at the cusp of another milestone as he prepares to soon release “Holy Fire”, one of his original recordings.
His breakthrough came with the release of his 3EPs. Prior to this he had also produced quite a number of songs for different artists including originals, covers, tracks among others.
Longleng, is a proud native of Phungcham village in Northeast India’s state of Ukhrul district, Manipur – the abode of the world renowned Shirui Lily (Kashong Timrawon). “Ever since discovering his calling, there’s no looking back for this Pop Music listener turned Gospel Metal singer.”
Currently based in the national capital, his daily activities centers around performing back-to-back roles as Music Educator -cum- video editor in Dwarka Community Church.
The Late Ozias Khamrang, his music teacher Sonam Sherpa and his mentor Benhur Khamrang, he says are the best thing to have happened for his undying and ever hungry to learn and pursue musician career.
He sat down with Ukhrul Times to share his up and close personal musical journey in an exclusive interview.
UT: Good to see you rocking in your passionate field.
N. Longleng (NL): First of all, thank you for having me here. I feel so blessed and grateful for this opportunity. Thank you for your time, your act of kindness and for your service, continue to keep up the good work.
UT: You have had already released your first few originals recording. Why don’t you share the background that went into the making of your first dream project which finally hit the rock scene.
NL: Indeed, I’ve already released my 3 EPs – Don’t be afraid, Wounded Soul & Waves of Grace. And yes, Holy Fire is soon to be released, please stay tuned for that.
For sure, it didn’t ‘hit the gospel rock scene’ but I’m glad I could make it this far.
UT: What is your relation to lyrics? Is there any message you want to get through?
NL: My lyrics are based on my stories, Christian lifestyle, and Humanity. I just want to give hope, love, and inspiration and bring a smile to someone’s life, be it just one or two people, that’s my desire.
UT: How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
NL: My music style is based on Christian Metal – Full of Guitar riff, solos and instrumentals.
UT: What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?
NL: I have loved music since my high school but never thought of making this as a profession, thinking of all the limitation, hardships, and challenges. But there’s always an inner voice and instinct telling me, ‘if someone can make it, why not me’. I decided to go for formal music education, after attending Parikrama School of Music, Delhi, that’s when I took things seriously to opt for music as my career. I might not make it to the top, but there’s lots of happiness and satisfaction when we do things that we love the most.
UT: Like any other struggling musicians, you must have also encountered hardships along the journey. What say?
NL: Yes, I did face a lot of hardship and challenges during my journey. Financial hardship and time management was the biggest struggle. I worked the late- night shift from Monday to Friday to support my family and myself financially, while pursuing my Master’s Degree and at the same time attending my Music class, which was hard, it was not easy. But by the grace of God, I have overcome the hurdles.
UT: What is the best part of being a musician?
NL: There’s nothing more joy, than doing what you love every day. As much as I enjoy playing music, I love sharing and imparting my little knowledge and experience that I’ve learned. Bringing a smile to someone’s face and encouragement, that’s my desire.
UT: What inspires you?
NL: The life of the musicians has many ups and downs. As for me, however, I learned it the hard way and there is no going back. From listening to new music to collaborating with friends, and from going out for a brisk walk or traveling and watching someone play… the list would go on, pet came the guitarist, a dull moment never sets in and time spent at my home studio equally drives me to go for more.
UT: Any important projects that you are currently involved with?
NL: Yes, recently VG MUSIC GOLD LABEL, Chicago Il, contacted me regarding some project and distribution, hoping that it will turn out good. Keeping my finger crossed!
UT: Music is not just a piece of musical instrument to be strummed and played around but it goes far beyond the realm of average imagination requiring deep level connection with the prevailing socio-economy and political realities. What’s your take on this?
NL: Music is an infinite subject- having different interpretations from person to person perspective. It is one of the cultural and common languages where all human societies understand and feel. Though I’m not a political scientist, I strongly believe that Music has lots to offer for a better tomorrow.
UT: You are not only adept with musical instruments but quite a versatile singer, your deep gush and high pitch vcal signature would be your biggest takeaways?
NL: Thank you for the kind words, though I don’t consider myself a vocalist. I would like to recommend a proper warmup of at least 10 to 15 minutes just before every session.
UT: How important is vocal training for a singer? What should be the right age or time for vocal training?
NL: With proper training, an individual can execute more techniques efficiently. However, there’re some born with a natural gift of voice I would still encourage them to go for training to achieves maximum
productivity with minimum effort. For vocal training, I would suggest children to start singing between the ages of 7 to 9 and it’s never too late for an adult to start learning.
UT: Music runs deep in most of Northeasterners blood, and is not just confined to professional elites of the industry. In the given scenario, how would you synergize that into building a more robust music empire in the region which boasts of tourism potentials?
NL: Well, according to my understanding, to start with, our local support and encouragement are highly required. And as an artist one has to be open-minded, eager to learn from each other, and ready to accept critics and feedback in an optimistic approach.
Formal Music education is something I would also urge and encourage in our society for those who have an interest in Music. Some may disagree but that’s my experience that has helped me today to pursue my passion. Therefore, when every individual is nurtured and trained they will naturally flourish and excel.
UT: Tell us more about your childhood days.
NL: I grew up in Dimapur, Nagaland. After my dad passed away I came to Ukhrul to stay with my
grandparents. I completed my High School at Ukhrul Public School. This is where I started taking keen interest in music. I looked up to Amei Ozias those days and he is still my inspiration, I wish he is still with us today!
UT: Who influenced you in music?
NL: I grew up listening to Pop music-Westlife, Boyzone, etc. But gradually my taste of music diverted slowly. Linkin Park was the band that diverted and fascinated my interest in music, it inspired me to the heavier side of the genre- Nu Metal, Progressive metal, Thrash metal, Metalcore, etc. Metallica, Pantera and Megadeth are some of my playlist right now. I also listened to lots of guitar instrumentals from Joe Satriani, Steve vai, Bucket head, etc. I also want to thank Amei Benhur Khamrang for being such a wonderful mentor.
UT: How supportive are your parents and siblings? Any regrets, if any. And had you not taken up music what would have been your ultimate choice?
NL: My Families and friends have been very supportive to date and I’m so blessed for their prayers and encouragement. While I was doing my Master in Arts, I was also pursuing Music education from Parikrama School of Music, Delhi. After I completed my Masters, I was about to continue for the Ph.D. degree but I decided to pursue Music as my full-time profession. And I don’t regret my decision.
UT: Many leading International band members are from high academic and professional background. Could we not apply the same trend here while exploring the nitty gritty of this never -ending vast expanse of musical world?
NL: The music industry in our society needs an upgrade in every possible way to reach higher – and I’m not only talking about shaping or sharpening the individual skills but the system as a whole – The management system via Managers, Promoters, Marketing, Event organizer, Producers, Sound engineers, Labels.
I do hope and pray that someday we will rise like the other nations and go global.
UT: How long have been around in this industry?
NL: I’m a late bloomer in the music profession and that’s exactly due to the ‘fear of the unknown’ sense of insecurity. But I believe that it’s never too late to start anything or learn anything in life. Therefore, I just wanted to shout out to everyone, if you have dreams keep them alive.
UT: Are you party to any music band in particular? How does it come about?
NL: I’m a solo artist at present. I had a band in the past but due to some professional and personal reasons, we parted ways.
UT: What best describes your music preference or taste?
NL: I prefer rock genres- Metal, Progressive metal, Metalcore, Thrash metal, Christian rock, Rap metal, Nu metal, etc. But I do listen to every type of music- different styles, regions, language, and even different instruments.
UT: What’s the national capital music scene today? Do you face any pressing problem adjusting with the mainstream pulse?
NL: Well, I feel that the younger generations in our nation are more into Pop Culture, R&B, EDM, and other Digital Music and of course the Bollywood songs. And that’s some of the main reasons, why much great rock band in India remains underrated or unheard of.
But I do believe that someday the Rock genre will revive and become mainstream once again.
UT: You studied music among some of the leading international and national music colleges including Berklee College of Music, College London – India, and Parikrama school of music. How helpful and practical were those music courses in your professional career?
NL: Attending Music Class at Parikrama School of Music, Delhi was an eye-opener. Sir Sonam Sherpa who was my teacher inspired me and gave me the courage to pick up music as a career. I completed my Guitar Grades from Trinity College.
I also did my Certification ‘The Arts of Music Production’ from Berklee to enhance my production skills.
Personally, for me, those courses and educations have tremendously helped me understand music much deeper and it also validates my skill and level which has helped in my career.
UT: The music scene of Ukhrul has undergone a massive facelift in the last few years offering them platforms to showcase their talent. The good news is that many up and coming musicians have started coming out with their originals. Don’t you think grooming them for a larger audience would be an added edge for them to stay relevant and climb the musical career?
NL: Yes, you are right, within this couple of years, we have seen huge improvements and growth
in terms of music in our community. This is exciting and finally happening even in our society. I would also like to recommend sustaining as a musician for the longer term, there’s a need for exposure to other communities and regions. Let’s not be the ‘frog in the well’.
Organizing a “Live Concert” “tour and events” will be a great boost to promote the artist, which will create much more prospects in the future. I would say that we people are very talented despite all the limitations and difficulties in us. Precisely because of these we could make this far. God speed to all our fellow brothers and sisters.
UT: Your view on music production studio quality of Ukhrul.
NL: It’s gradually getting better each year no doubt; however, I still feel that we’re still behind the game. I would like to recommend the studios in Ukhrul not to be worried too much about the gears or the equipment but most importantly upgrading our skill set of handling the sound more efficiently and get more creative with what we have. Let’s try learning from every available resource and try to get better and better with every opportunity we have. Let’s also not compare our work too much with the others which might disappoint us sometimes but instead let’s try to focus, improve and enhance ourselves each day.
UT: Any particular North East band that is doing well at the national level.
NL: There are many good and talented bands in our North East region, and here are some of the bands I can think of right now ie. Soulmate, Alobo Naga, Girish and the Chronicles, Avora Records, Polar Lights, Magdalene, and Boomarang, etc.
UT: What were the places that you have performed? How good or bad were the audience?
NL: It’s been a while I haven’t performed but I still remember one of the shows in Manipur- it was a concert for a cause. The crowds were trying to climb up on the stage forcefully despite the restriction – those act of wildness adds energy during the performance.
UT: What’s your message for the upcoming musicians?
NL: Never stop learning, never give up, and keep your dreams alive. It’s never too late to start anything. Follow you heart and God bless.
N. Longleng did his formal education in Music/certificates. To his credit, he did his “Master’s degree and completed Grade 8 guitar from Trinity College London. Fired with the passion to learn more along the journey he went on to complete certification on ‘The Arts of Music Production’ from Berklee College of Music. Certificate of Guitar System Beginners to Advanced – Udemy Online Course and Music Production Masterclass – Alison Institute Online Course.
Music production is also part of his passion and interest- Recording, Mixing & Mastering, to be more precise.
Believing that he still has a long way to go and much more to learn, for N. Longleng, every day is a new learning experience, and his recent Online Learning platform called ‘Bedrock Muzic’ which allows him to connect with different students across the nation says it all.
Feel free to reach out for any queries or suggestions related to his music. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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