V Play Music is an initiative by Virender Kumar, a well-known guitar player, lyricist, music producer, and member of the award-winning band Sankraman.
He began his career by covering songs on Youtube. His current profile includes collaborations with artists like Badshah, Gurdas Maan, Hargun Kaur, Nikhita Gandhi, Aastha Gill, Anusha Mani, Arjun Kanungo, and he has shared stage with / performed alongside Arijit Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, B Praak, Sukriti & Prakriti Kakar and Hardy Sandhu among other musical artists. So far, he has performed in more than 15 countries including Australia, Switzerland, Hungary, UAE, Singapore, and Turkey.
What is your story?
Well, I came from a non-musical family background, I had the hobby of listening to music since my childhood. Never realized I had a habit of grooving over Punjabi music as my family used to have cassettes of Diler Mehndi, Hansraaj Hasns, Gurdas Man Ji’s debut albums and I grew up listening to them in my house. Though I belonged to non-musical family, in my house music was all over the place just for listening purposes and to have a good happy atmosphere in the house.
Maybe it was then when I picked up things and never realized it. By the time I was in 10th standard, I was very fond of listening to rap music. One day my maternal uncle (Mama Ji) noticed that. When I went to his house on the occasion of rakhi with my mom, he encouraged me a lot and bought me my first ever acoustic guitar in 2012. That was late 2012 so I started learning guitar at an institute in 2013. I was highly appreciated by my teacher there and he used me as an example for other students to motivate them. I’m glad that I had an extremely knowledgeable and amazing teacher that everyone dreams for. After 1 year he offered me that he can get me some gigs with people he knows but for that, I need to buy an electric guitar. ( I swear I didn’t even know how cool this instrument is and how to even play with electric guitar techniques ).
So I bought my first electric guitar and processor. It was an Indian-made guitar called HMI Revolution and Boss’s ME-25 was my first processor. My uncle helped me buy the guitar. He supported me a lot. Then after a couple of month’s practice, I started gigging with people my teacher connected me with. The guys used to do some devotional programs in Delhi. So I started from there. I had to suffer a lot of bullying there as people were not so nice. But out of 10, 2-3 folks I found good so I slowly found people I was able to get with. Made not so much but some musician friends. Then I started performing at local gigs in clubs and small outlets.
One day one of my friends who was in a band called Sankraman told me they are looking for a guitar player would you like to join us? I said of course let’s do it. So I joined them and after quite some time we found out Badshah is looking for a band and auditions are happening in Delhi. We guys decided to try our luck. We simply prepared some of his songs and gave the audition. And we got selected. We all were so happy and since then we are playing with Badshah. On the side, I was also active on YouTube and other social media platforms. I kept pushing my music there too. Luckily 2-3 videos got viral on Instagram and a lot of guitar community pages reposted them. I got countless numbers of followers just after that. And YouTube also started to grow with the passage of time. I decided that I think now I can release my debut solo album it’s a good time for that. But never really got the time I was seeking because of my schedule and work always got me occupied. Then in 2020 world got shut down everyone was in lockdown. That was exactly the time I was looking for. Didn’t really have much to do at home.
So I finished my album in 2020 and on 17th April 2021 I released my first debut album Guitar on Vocals. So yeah I’m quite happy that I did it. Working on my second album and I’m also releasing my new single ‘A Place In My Dreams’ on 25th June 2022. Came from nothing and doing what I really love. I’m so happy and feel so grateful for everything that I got in life and I’m so optimistic about all the things I’m about to receive.
What got you into music?
I would say the atmosphere I had in my house. Nobody was a musician however everyone was into listening to music and I always had music playing in my house. Maybe from there, something might have inspired me. I was fascinated by instruments and learning to play something always inspired me the most.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
As of now, Andy James is one of my favorite guitar players from UK. If I ever get the chance to collaborate with him. That would be the best collaboration for me.
Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Well, I have performed in so many venues and so many countries too. That’s USA, Australia, Europe, Dubai, Thailand, and Singapore. To name a few. Talking about favorite venues so Dubai Expo, Dubai Global Village, and Infinite Energy Arena, Atlanta are my favorite venues. If I have to choose one that would be Global Village Dubai. I don’t have any least favorite venues and it’s a joy to perform anywhere. I just love to see people listening to the music we are performing. For upcoming shows, I might be performing in Mumbai with Badshah & Nikhita Gandhi on 1st July 2022.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I think that’s definitely a consideration of the artist’s comfort and better time management overall for the gig. We catch early flights to be on time for the soundcheck and because of that we usually don’t get proper food intake on time and we also do not get proper sleep. Sometimes things get delayed on soundcheck and because of that, we do not even get proper time to get ready for the show after soundcheck. Ultimately it’s the artist that people come to see on shows. But sometimes due to poor management of everything artist is so tired of the pressure to have a HIT show. Let’s just be honest, an artist always wants his show to be a hit. But when the artist hasn’t had his meals on time and is sleepless for hours. Then how come you expect the artist to give his/her 100%?
If we can find a solution for that, especially in our Indian music industry. Then I think a lot more shows would be a hit and most importantly artists would be more than happy to perform for people extra time as well. With this gig life, it’s hard to have a proper routine of sleep and food intake. And it should be fixed.
Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?
Yes, I usually do some push-ups and normal exercises just to have proper blood flowing in my arms so that I can perform my solos without any problem. It’s important to have proper blood flow in your body when you’re playing blazing fast solos live. So that’s the only thing I do. Regarding nervousness, I usually don’t feel anxious or nervous now so I do not have anything to worry about it.
What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving in the next five to 10 years?
Next five to 10 years I want at least 5-6 more albums to be out of V Play Music. I want to see myself performing as an independent artist at the world’s biggest festivals like Download etc. I’m working on my Live Setup as well where I’ll have Drums, Rhythm Guitar, Bass Guitar, and maybe a keyboard!! And lastly, I also want to see myself keep doing what I love even after 10-20-30 years.
Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician.
People come to you who listen to your music and give you great compliments and it feels so good. I love performing in front of thousands of people. You get to meet awesome new musicians and sometimes great human beings too. These are some of the things I love about being a musician. I get to see new places all over the world and I travel so much. Of course, there are a lot more than these things that if I will start talking it would take more than a day. My least favorite would be sometimes we don’t get proper sleep and food intake on time that’s the only complaint I have.