He has done it all. From singing eternal classics to being the corporate affairs director at Nestlé Bangladesh, Naquib Khan is an all-rounder. In fact, he is a true "jack of all trades." Timeless hit songs like "Mon Shudhu Mon Chuyeche", "Mukhorito Jibon" and "Hridoy Kadamatir" are only three of the masterpieces.
The iconic frontman and keyboardist of the all-time classic pop-rock band, Renaissance, is also the current vice-president of Bangladesh Sangeet Parishad.
The veteran musician recently sat down with The Business Standard to discuss the keys to unlocking a bright future for the music industry.
Naquib started off with a deep sigh, "To speak frankly, the music industry right now is not in a good state. The industry was doing really good earlier. We had scores of good albums and songs as proof of that. But unfortunately, we failed to follow up with the good practices we had before. Consequently, music became quite limited and if you look at the industry closely, it is perishing."
In a sense, Naquib's words do not fall far from the truth. In the 1990s and the early 2000s, the industry was booming with creativity. By 2010, things began to change. Artists saw a fall in revenue and original content, thanks to piracy. But does Naquib see any ray of hope for the future of the music industry?
"The up and coming musicians we have in this country are very talented. In fact, they are pretty advanced when it comes to digital music platforms. We have to make good use of them, and I believe that can be done. It is high time we use technology to our advantage, rather than misusing it."
The music industry as a whole is evolving and it is changing with time. Earlier, cassettes dominated the industry, which later transitioned into compact discs (CDs); with digital music streaming platforms being the current trend. Such changes are taking place constantly both in the Bangladeshi and the global music scene.
"I always welcome new technology, and fact is no matter what you do, you have to accept and adapt such changes. But by adapting to new technology, we are also faced with piracy and copyright issues. If we do not tackle these issues, adapting to new technology would not make a difference."
There are many digital music streaming platforms now, and everyone is working hard from every end in the industry to tackle infringement issues," Naquib said.
But if so, why are we unable to create more classics songs which live on through generations, from grandparents to their grandchildren?
"Bangla songs have two essential cores – the melody and lyrical value. For me, if you disregard any one of them, the song loses its value. What I am trying to say is, many musicians these days overlook these essentials by emphasising more on technology. Their dependency on technology prevents them from nurturing the creativity within themselves, which is a negative aspect through and through."
He added, "Bangalis are quite simple by nature and that is why simplicity is necessary. But in order to be creative, we overdo a lot of things and that is why the classics we used to listen to in our days is a difficult call for this generation. If you want your songs to survive for generations, you have to keep these basic elements intact."
Not all hope is lost for the current music industry. According to Naquib Khan, the industry does not fall short of talent, but nurturing and being dependant on one's own skillset is what will make the current and upcoming musicians stand out.
"I am very positive when it comes to the industry. Music is evolving and changing with time. We still have good musicians in our country and hopefully they will lead us towards something good."