CHENNAI: Remember that Vodafone ad with a classroom of kids that went something like ‘The little things you do for me, like nobody else makes me feel good...’ Well thanks to popular demand online, its maker New Zealander Michael McCleary decided to take the 45-second jingle and make a full length song version. And the same will be released along with several other jingles extended into whole tracks, on a first-of-its kind album, TV Dinners via Sony Music next month. We catch up with musician who’s worked with everybody from Vishal-Shekhar on David to AR Rahman on Pray For Me Brother. Oh and guess what? Michael or Mikey as most people in the industry like to call him, was born right here in Chennai.
Speaking of Chennai, here’s a Kollywood related question. We heard you did some composing for the Hindi remake of Pizza?
I did, I’ve composed the title track which is really crazy-high energy and heavy on the bass. And no, I didn’t watch the Tamil film, I have a hard enough time with my Hindi!
You’re based in Mumbai and you just released your third vintage Bollywood album. How do you do it without understanding the language?
I think it’s an advantage actually. If I pay too much attention to lyrics, then my approach to the music may become too predictable. Not knowing gives me the ability to come up with something surprising every time.
Fair enough. I know Pray Me Brother happened a long time ago, but what was working with Rahman like?
He worked very unusual hours. I remember he walked into the studio one day and said: ‘Alright, I’ll come back and we’ll discuss this at 4 am.’ But he’s genius and I loved working with him.
Love the Vodafone ad by the way.
That’s probably my favourite tune on the album. The other one I really love is the Titan song with Katrina Kaif in the ad... ‘I don’t know where we’re going but I like the direction’. We recently shot a video for the song version in Goa, and it was supposed to be a first person sort of experience about a crazy day...so I had a camera strapped to my forehead the whole time!
All the songs from jingles are English right?
Yes, in a way this is my independent English debut in India. And I think people are going to love it, because they already know all the songs!