Aki Kumar | Bollywood Blues, Gratitude, Humility, and Band Dynamics

Bollywood blues artist Aki Kumar sees gratitude and humility as key to managing his music career and life.  He returns to the podcast to discuss in greater depth creative challenges, band dynamics, and channeling your passion for music.

Episode Highlights

We start by discussing his cameo in the Salonch promo video and go on to talk about:

  • The San Jose blues scene and its influence on Aki’s career
  • His love for the musicians he plays with
  • Effectively managing band conflict
  • Writing music in Hindi and the integration of Ska
  • Privilege and humility
  • The drivers that keep Aki passionate about music
  • How creativity feeds more creativity
  • Making time for songwriting and the challenges therein

3 Key Points

  1. Practice humility. High flying moments are frequently followed by stumbles. Keep going.
  2. Stretch yourself. Experiment with your music by mixing genres, languages, politics, etc.
  3.  Gratitude is key.  Remember that being on a stage with an appreciative audience is a privilege.

Shareable Quotes

“Once you have that musical bond, it makes music-making easy. Everyone is speaking the same language; maybe with a slightly different accent, but the same language.” – Aki Kumar on creating strong band dynamics.

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BONUS CONTENT (Follow-up Q&A with Aki)

Robonzo: If you were starting your music journey over from the beginning, what would you do differently? 

Aki: I’d practice a lot more instead of playing video games.

Robonzo: What’s your number one way of dealing with the voices of self doubt? 

Aki: I try to have a balanced approach. Self-doubt can be a good thing when it’s based in introspection and an honest understanding of my abilities/inabilities. I use it, at times, to temper my actions/plans, i.e. as a voice of “reason” or to address any areas of growth. Self-doubt can be crippling when it’s based on my insecurities. I try to recognize those instances and motivates myself by visualizing “success scenarios” in my mind. Self-doubt is sometimes just the result of a lack of familiarity with a new situation/direction. In those cases, I seek advice and insight from trusted peers.

Robonzo: What has helped you most in building community around your music and art?

Aki: A genuine love for my music/art, empathy for others and constantly trying to keep my ego in check!


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