Darshan Raval garnered fandom and prominence despite losing reality television show "India's Raw Star". The singer, who describes his initial tryst with fame as "complicated", says he is not trying to take someone's place in the music industry, but is on a journey to become 'Darshan Raval'.
"Handling fame was very complicated. When a small town boy comes in and gets success, it (handling fame) is very difficult," Raval, who comes from Ahmedabad, told IANS over phone.
"Then suddenly things changed. The initial one or two years were difficult. Everywhere I used to go, I used to get scratched and mobbed. But the love that one gets, is like a drug. It gets on to you. Then you want it, hope to get it and work hard to get it," added the 24-year-old singer.
His goal is clear to him.
"I have grown up listening to Arijit Singh, Sonu Nigam and Kishore Kumar. I keep on learning from different singers. I don't want to be somebody else. I want to be Darshan Raval. The entire process and journey is to become Darshan Raval," said Raval, who is also a songwriter and composer.
His musical story started in a gurukul, but he has no formal training in music.
"I was in third or fourth standard in a gurukul, and I used to be homesick. So, everybody had different activities, somebody had horse riding and somebody had swimming. And there was a huge room where music used to happen, and I used to go there, sit and listen to the music. It felt very powerful and very magical. That's how music entered my life."
There was a brief moment in his life when he got diverted from his path, and joined an engineering course. But his love for melodies brought him back.
"I always believed there are things written for me, and second 'aur kuch aata hi nahi tha' (didn't know anything apart from music). There was no other option."
For Raval, it all started with humming the songs he heard in school, and then going on to write some himself and putting his independent songs online -- and that's how "India's Raw Star" in 2014 happened.
"Someone contacted me after watching my independent songs on YouTube, and gave me information about the auditions. I uploaded my video and got selected, then gave many auditions and performed 'Meri pehli mohabbat' and got selected. That was my first independent song on television which got very popular," he said.
With over one million subscribers, he is not just a social media star, but an upcoming artiste who is a talented performer with a great stage presence.
After his stint in the reality show, Bollywood was his next stop. He has crooned songs like "Jab tum chaho", "Kheech meri photo", "Chogada", "Kamariya" and "Ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa laga". On the independent music front, he is known for "Ishq chada hai", "Tera zikr", "Baarish lete aana", "Do din" and "Bhula diya".
The 24-year-old feels his rise to success is a plot straight out of a movie.
"But at that point of time I had no clue. In fact, today also I am just walking on the road that I always wanted to. My mother's heart broke when I didn't win the reality show, but my father said that something big is waiting for me. And he was right."
The journey is still on as he is "meeting people, making music and doing lot of great stuff".
By Sugandha Rawal