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Dancing to his own tunes: an interview with Abhinay Jayan

Ruchi Brahmbhatt

Dec 28, 2020

When the heart wants what it wants, it goes to any length to pursue it. Despite the inevitable obstacles along the way, the journey of following one’s passion is rewarding and worthwhile.

When Beyond 8 recently spoke to Abhinay Jayan this month, he couldn’t agree more. For this passionate musician and ‘ Creative Aficionado ’, as he likes to call himself, the climb to the top was certainly not a straight path! Born to two successful engineers from BITS Pilani, there was always a looming expectation to follow in their footsteps. But Abhinay had different plans for his own life. Like they often say, the greatest oak was once a little nut that held its ground. Excerpts from our interview:

Ruchi: Let us back up a little bit and go to where it all started.

Abhinay: As expected, I did take up Automobile Engineering as my Bachelor’s degree. But all along I knew something was amiss because my heart always belonged elsewhere: in the beat and rhythms of my music. Pursuing engineering was not bringing me the same enjoyment that making music did. I knew I had to change course immediately and go after what I was truly passionate about.

My father is a motivational speaker and has been encouraging people to follow their passions for a very long time. Luckily for me, it was rather easy to convince him about my intentions. However, it was a challenge to persuade my mother about the same.

As a parent, I am sure she had my best interests at heart when she wanted me to pursue engineering or medicine as a career. She believed these were the fields that led to greater possibilities of success. I suppose she equated following an unconventional passion like mine would mean that I would be a college drop-out, a tag that was considered ‘cool’ only overseas and not in our conservative society here. I am glad she came around eventually when I promised her that I would see my passion for completion and get my degree.

I completed my course in Music Technology at the University of Hertfordshire in London and it opened up a whole new world for me. As I am professionally trained in Hindustani classical music, I sing my compositions in Tamil. Today, I enjoy infusing my creativity into exciting projects such as music production, film background score, and advertisement jingles.

Ruchi: What would you advise a college student who is on the verge of choosing a career path?

Abhinay: Be aware of what you are choosing to do: think about whether you have a genuine interest in it or you are doing it under pressure. It is important to know whether you like to do it or you are choosing to do it under pressure. If I would have enjoyed pursuing automobile engineering I would have continued to do so.

I realized that when it comes to cars, I only enjoy the driving part and not the technicalities of how it’s manufactured. That’s when I decided that I am a misfit for Automobile Engineering, this is not something that I would enjoy working on. Also, I think that if you have the option of going to premier institutes to learn, and can afford it - please make the most of it!

It is not always easy to make inroads into the music industry - or any new industry for that matter - without the right connections. If you wish to make it big in your field, you need to work hard on your craft. Learn throughout and be aware of what you are best at. It is essential to understand what the audience likes and then work on yourself accordingly.

abhinay jayan 2
Ruchi: Why do you think that parents are still apprehensive about letting kids follow their passion?

Abhinay: Like I said, job security is a major factor that influences parents’ decision to let their children follow their dreams. I don’t blame them for it, because it is obvious that they do it with the best intentions.

Then there is the issue of generation gaps. Our parents were not accustomed to questioning their parents when they were our age and perhaps they still value conformance in the next generation as well. However, times are changing and there should be a fair scope for logical reasoning and honest conversations as well.

From a child’s perspective, I think I have been lucky when my parents have provided me with a reason behind whatever they say and that has helped me a lot. I believe reasoning helps a lot for kids to understand situations better.

Ruchi: How can students broach the topic of following their passion with their families?

Abhinay: Before pitching your career plans to your family, it is important to do your groundwork and answer important questions for yourself: do you want this badly enough to work hard and overcome all obstacles that come your way?

Following your passion may sound romantic on paper, but students must be aware of the discipline and commitment it takes to make it a viable career. As for parents, my appeal would be to allow your children to explore a variety of interests before helping them narrow down on the ones they are most passionate about.

I feel lucky to have been able to dabble with music and creativity early on in my career. Today, I enjoy doing what I love, every day feels like the best day of my life.

Follow Abhinay on his official website , Facebook , Instagram , YouTube , and Spotify . Are you inspired by Abhinay’s story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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