Aakash Gandhi : Composer, Pianist, Keyboardist
Founder of 88KeysToEuphoria.com, Aakash Gandhi is a classically trained Indian pianist and composer from the United States. He received his MBA in Finance from the University of Central Florida. Despite a strong academic foundation, Aakash has always maintained a very keen interest in the musical arts. Soon after launching his YouTube channel, 88KeysToEuphoria, in January 2008 (www.youtube.com/88keystoeuphoria), he quickly became noticed for his acoustic blend of Western and Bollywood music, which ultimately landed him as YouTube's #1 Most Subscribed Independent Indian musician. (May 2014)
Some of his most-viewed tracksinclude Pani Da Rang (Acoustic Cover), Tum Hi Ho (Acoustic Cover), and Galliyan (Acoustic Cover).He also uses his YouTube channel as a creative platform to feature new musical talent by collaborating with various international artists, helping to ignite their musical career.
In addition to being appreciated for his music, Aakash has also received critical recognition for his music videos, most notably for “SuhaniRaat | ChaudhvinKa Chand (Acoustic Cover),” “AeDilHaiMushkil (Acoustic Cover),” and Billie Jean | Jiya Re (Mashup Cover), which was the official inaugural video for the opening of the YouTube Space Mumbai in 2015.” In May 2014 Aakash collaborated on a song with Sony Music to promote the worldwide release of Michael Jackson’s 2014 album – Escape.
While YouTube had proven its value to independent musicians in the West, very few Indian musicians had successfully exploited its offerings. Aakash has broken this trend to serve as a pioneer in the field of Indianacoustic music on YouTube, inspiring thousands of budding musicians to follow in his footsteps. Aakash has performed at majorinternational venues inToronto, Orlando, Hong Kong, Goa, South France, Dubai, and more; includingspecial performances at the 2014 and 2015 YouTube FanFest in Mumbai.
In addition to being a full-time performing and recording artist,he is also the Founder of 88KeysToEuphoria.com, the world’s first website dedicated to teaching people how to play Bollywood songs on the piano. With millions of people watching his videos and listening to his music, he has inspired a countlessnumber to bring music into their lives. Aakash created a companion website to his YouTube channel, 88KeysToEuphoria.com, where he personally instructs his students through video tutorials, further spreading the gift of music.
AAKASH GANDHI : EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HUNTSENDS
- Describe your YouTube journey in three words or more if you'd like?
Journey across the world
- What has been your inspiration?
My love for the creation of music itself is what inspired me.
- Which music video will always stay the closest to your heart?
If I could be so bold as to mention two - Kal Ho Na Ho (Piano Cover), which was my very first upload and is what started the entire journey, and Billie Jean | Jiya Re (Mashup Cover), which was an amazing experience and I collaborated with some amazing talent.The mashup was also very special because I was invited by YouTube to shoot the inaugural video for the opening of YouTube Space in Mumbai.
- Which budding YouTube artists have the best musical quality according to you?
She’s no longer a “budding” artist, but I love the work that Jonita Gandhi is putting out there. She’s a great friend and I’ve been fortunate to have her as an integral part of 88KeysToEuphoria’s Journey. She’s supremely gifted.
- If you had to choose only one place to live for the rest of your life, which state/country would it be?
Without a doubt I would like to spend my life in the US. It’s where I’m from and where my family is. Besides, I’m from “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Orlando, who would want to leave that?
- Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?
It’s hard for me to envision where I’d be in 5 years because I feel it’s that mysterious unpredictability that has led me on this musical journey. I’ve stopped planning for the future and try to take life one day at a time.
- If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
While I love what I’m doing right now, it’s those childhood memories when the most important thing on your mind was whether or not you’d get enough time to play with your friends. Only now, in retrospect, do you realize how amazing and valuable those years were.
- What lessons has your work life taught you?
Live to work and don’t work to live. After my MBA, I moved to Washington DC stuck in an office job from 9 to 5. Yeah the money was good and the city was lots of fun, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I realize I was spending half my days checking my YouTube stats and messages and less time on my day job. That’s when I made the decision to leave it all and come to Mumbai to pursue music full-time. I don’t regret it one bit. No risk no reward. We owe it to ourselves...
- When you meet God, what do you want to say to Him?
- A song that describes your current state of mind.
It would have to be “Musafir Hoon Yaaron” by the legendary trio of R.D. Burman, Gulzar, and Kishore Kumar. It’s a beautiful representation of how we are all on our own personal journeys. It’s definitely a mantra that’s guided me these past several years.
- What do you have to say about the Music Reality Shows on TV? Do you follow any of these shows?
I don’t get the chance to watch them much.
- What's exciting to you about the music industry?
I think it’s a very exciting time for independent musicians to stand up on their own and share their musical talents with the world. Through platforms like YouTube, gone are the days where you needed a lucky break with a major music label to help launch a career. All we could ever want as artists, is the opportunity to showcase ourselves to the world without any creative restrictions. Now every single person has that opportunity. That’s thrilling!
13. How do you think the music industry can improve?
I feel the Indian music industry is still dominated by Bollywood. While it would be great for the independent music scene to become mainstream once again, that probably won’t happen anytime soon. In the meantime, if the film industry could continue opening its doors to more varying genres and styles of music I feel it would pave the way for a lot more diverse talent to fill the mainstream markets.
14. What is your fitness regime?
Getting more fit was a Near Years resolution of mine. I lift weights about three times a week and mix in some cardio as well. Generally I try to eat healthy with a couple cheat meals thrown in during the week.
15. An artist with whom you would love to jam any day anytime other?
I’d love to be able to jam with Yanni, who’s music I’ve always looked up to.
- What makes your day?
Ending the day with a good book.
- High point of your life?
The day I got married.
- The last line of your autobiography would read…
...and that’s how music saved his life.
- "Behind every man's success, there's a woman." Would you agree?
That statement could not be more true in my case. The only reason I was able to make music a career was because of a woman, who is now married to me! It was her support and encouragement that gave me the courage to leave my home in the US and settle in Mumbai to pursue music. It was even her creative brilliance as a director that brought my music videos to life. I would not hesitate in giving her all the credit she deserves, because I know in the deepest parts of my heart that my career in music would not have happened if it were not for her unconditional love, support and sheer talent.