He is one person who perfectly fits in the proverb, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. For he, with his hard work and passion for music, has managed to create a niche for himself today. However, this journey, spanning around 17 years, has not been a bed of roses for Mannoj S Kumar, the lead singer of Jashnn The Band. He has had his share of ups and downs. But Mannoj always had one aim: to bring happiness in the lives of people through his motivational songs. And he, along with his band, is still doing so. “Our motivation is the audience whose hunger for music is never-ending,” feels Mannoj.
“I was inclined towards music since childhood. Over the years, the love and passion for music only increased and gave way to writing. First, it was poetry where I used to write for various newspapers and magazines under the name of Life. Then I thought of giving these lyrics to bands and approached a number of them in India and abroad. Though I was appreciated by each of them, when it came to composing and releasing them, no one took the lead,” says Mannoj.
He even approached Pakistan-based Jal band as he felt the voice of Atif Aslam, who had joined the band and had released a song, Aadat, suited his lyrics perfectly. “I kept requesting them for three years minus success. Though they never refused my offer like others, they never said yes to it either,” shares Mannoj. By this time, Atif had parted ways with Jal. So Mannoj tried his luck once again and touched base with Atif’s brother, Shahbaz. “Shahbaz bhai told me to send him a recording of the tune in which I wanted Atif to sing. So I sung, though in a raw tone, and sent it. In no time, I received a revert from stating why was I waiting for someone to sing these lyrics when I sang them so well. He told me to not waste time and get in front of the microphone,” he recalls.
The idea clicked and his encouraging words gave me immense confidence. And though not a trained singer, Mannoj wielded the microphone for the first time. “But I never wanted to be a singer or a playback singer. It was here that my friend and our former band manager Ankur Agarwal suggested I have a band of my own. This was around 17 years back,” shares Mannoj. So, off was Mannoj to get the right set of people for his band.
Mannoj was soon joined by guitarist Atul Rana (not with the band now) and the duo performed at a number of events under the name Jashnn – A Beat of Celebration which was formed formally on December 26, 2006. “Life to the band came when lead guitarist Manish (also not with the group now) and Monu Kumar (drummer/ keyboard) joined us. Another important member of our band is guitarist Sonu Singh whose knowledge of music has helped us reach where we are today. We released our signature song, Main Jee Raha Jashnn Mein after our debut song, Hindustan Meri Jaan. Jashnn The Band’s first video track, Main Zinda Hoon was released in October 2014 and was highly appreciated by one and all,” he puts in.
“When I met Mannoj, I got so impressed with his lyrics and his passion for music that I promised him to be with him forever,” says Monu who used to play drums at small-time events like jagrans before joining hands with Jashnn The Band. On the reason why the two are inseparable, he adds, “We know are strong and weak points. Over the years, we have developed a mutual admiration and understanding so much so that we do not need to say anything to each other. I love arranging music and Mannoj wants the best out of his lyrics so when these two combine, the result is without doubt, the best.”
Mannoj says he has always wanted his lyrics and songs to inspire people. “I choose to not sing Bollywood songs as I need to be different as most of the others are singing these compositions. I feel my heart and soul should get reflected in what I am doing. Life is not only about earning money but to reach out to the people in the manner which you know is the best. The main aim of the band’s journey has been to inspire people. We want to touch the hearts of people. Recently, after the Kerala problem, we made a song, Thaam Lo Inn Haathon Ko. During the period when Anna Hazare was at the centrestage, I had sung O bande jaag… which was released internationally by a Singapore-based music company and was a big success,” he adds.
However, there was one person who had immensely appreciated their work during the initial years though they did not get to meet him in person. Then, he left for New Zealand. “There was no way that we could connect with him. This was one of the most disappointing phases of my life as Lucky (Ali) sir has forever been my inspiration. If I sing today, it is because of him and for him. For me, he is one and all. His leaving left a void in my life but I kept at it. And then one day, my prayers were answered. I got a friend request from him on FB and got to know he is back. This was a big, big surprise and I was on cloud nine,” says Mannoj.
Time passed and the band did a number of shows across the country. And then one day, they got an invite to attend an event organised by Mrs Menaka Gandhi at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi. “It was Lucky sir who had sent that invitation as he wanted to meet us. So, finally I met him in 2014 though I know him for the last so many years. There he told me that let us do something together and what you are doing is great. At that time, our song, Main Zinda Hoon, had released. He was happy with our work. Still awaiting the time when I’ll get an opportunity to work with him,” says Mannoj.
Jashnn The Band has just released Kyun Na Khuda by Zee Music Company and got a great response. Around Diwali, the band shall be releasing another song, Dil Bhar Aayega.