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homegrown

Musicianeur (Musician + Entrepreneur) Nikhil Uzgare, also lovingly called Uzi by friends & fellow musicians considers Dubai his second home when he moved way back in 2003. Nik started singing since his early school days but took it seriously in his college days at Wilson College Mumbai in 1993, where he discovered his love for songwriting and composition.

He grew up listening to Nat King Cole, Jim Reeves, Ventures, Nana Mouskouri, Harry Bela Fonte ⁠— thanks to his dad's taste in music. His taste slowly graduated to rock being surrounded by musically-inclined friends in College Hostel. Although he admits to loving all kinds of music regardless of the genre, rock remains to be at the top of his list. Confessing candidly: "I don't understand or fancy jazz music."

All images are supplied and owned by @nikhiluzgare73. Use without permission is prohibited.

homegrown

His two-decade background in the events industry has given him a clear advantage in the Dubai music scene ⁠— and a very timely one. During the booming years of Dubai, Uzi, or Nik to his Arab friends ⁠— who end up calling him Nakheel ⁠— saw the need for an organized live music scene.

Thus, Rock Nation was born.

"There were some wonderful promoters back in 2003 like Adham Ghanem & Mike Fillon who organized festivals like 'The Assembly' & 'Turbulence'. I was keen on taking the concept indoors to intimate venues. Did our first [event] under the Rock Nation banner in July 2008 feat. Juliana Down & Moonshine at a small bar called TOUCH at 4 Point Sheraton - Bur Dubai. It was packed. Saw the potential. Bands were dying to showcase. Had Good Fryday, Nervecell, Universal Rogue, Borrison Ivy, Point of View and many other bands who showcased from 2008 to 2009 at the small but hectic venue.

...make our presence felt strongly online.

Graduated and moved to a bigger venue, which went on to be Dubai's iconic live venue 'The Music Room'. Was very involved in setting it up and revamping it in terms of curation, programming, sound, light & AV to make it a venue a to reckon with. There has been no looking back since then. Today more than 100 gigs in our kitty and associations with practically every live venue in town. Rock Nation is a brand that pioneered the homegrown live scene from 2008 onwards. We continue to partner with some of the best brands in the industry like Shure, Sennheiser, Rage, Yamaha, TDK and work with some of the best event properties as entertainment partners. The next step is to make our presence felt strongly online.

How is it like playing front-act for Guns and Roses?

Took Point of View a whole decade of missing opening slots for big bands to get this wonderful opportunity to finally play a gig alongside the biggest band in the history of rock n roll. Not to forget the biggest gig ever in the world: Guns 'N' Roses' Not In This Lifetime Reunion Tour. We pretty much could go on record and say that we had paid our dues and it could not get bigger than this for us on the local front.

Please tell us about Point of View

Formed in 2005. Were shortlisted to play in the battle to be in the opening slot for Iron Maiden in 2006. Numerous line-up changes with me & Kiran Tauro (Drums) being pretty much the only guys who have stayed. I'd say we found a more permanent line up in 2010 with Royden Mascarenhas (Guitars) & Murtaza Jafar (Guitars). The band has since then released a debut album 'Revolutionize The Revolutionary' that sold more than 3,000 copies and also got a public & official acknowledgment from Ron Bumblefoot Thal (Ex Guns N Roses, Asia, Sons Of Apollo) with whom we later toured extensively. POV has played alongside some other fantastic acts such as Faithless, Lake Of Tears, Hoobastank & of course Guns N Roses. The band was also a shortlisted act for a slot at Wacken Open Air but could not make it. The band has toured India & the Middle East extensively and played many headlining slots of major music festivals. The band also won the Timeout Award for Best Act in ME in 2013. We have played more than a hundred gigs over 15 years and continue to tour and gig actively. Album 2 is en route as well.

Follow Point of View (POV):

homegrown

Nikhil Uzgare (Vocals || Composer || Lyrics) - 2005 • Kiran Tauro (Drums) - 2006 • Royden Mascarenhas (Guitars || Composer) - 2010 • Anshuman Bhattacharya (Bass) - 2015 • Arsh Sharma (Guitars || Composer) - 2015 • Barry Kassab (Sound Engineer) - 2015 • Abhijeet Padhi (Session Drums) - 2018 • The band has had the opportunity to have some lovely humans as band members who have been a part of the band's beautiful journey since 2006. Would like to acknowledge and thank the following (Nigel Dsouza / Arun Patroa / Siddiq Mohammed / Nalin Samat / Chiradeep Lahiri / Fabian Martin / Shakeel Haque / Johan Dsouza / Jon Watson / Nabeel Chishti)

Please tell us about your keen interest in Bollywood music

Being born and brought up in India, specifically Mumbai, closes all your escape routes from Bollywood music. Have by default been exposed to Bollywood movies & music since childhood. I wouldn't call myself a hardcore Bollywood buff though. I choose my films and music carefully. I had a small brush with Bollywood back in the day but it did not work out as the industry demanded a particular type of music which was more consumer-based. Today the scene has changed. The independent music scene has opened up and exploded and Bollywood has absorbed a lot of new styles. This also meant that people like me who didn't have a market back in the '90s suddenly have a market now. I got my first film track in 2015 with a stellar film called 'Irada'. It was written and composed by the legendary Neeraj Shridhar of 'Bombay Vikings' and the track trended well. It was touted as the first Progressive Rock Track for Bollywood, which is allergic to heavy breakdowns and guitar solos. I continue working and composing music for Bollywood initiatives but I still have a long way to go. Waiting for the fat lady to sing (smiles).

Please tell us about 'Mother Earth.'
What inspired you to write it?

I had written this song back in 2010 and have played it with Point Of View as a hard rock composition. The fact that it had an infectious tune and lyrics that completely fit the current situation we are in, I planned on a softer release to a more commercial audience. The video concept was impromptu and it worked out well. The song is available on all streaming and download platforms. You can watch the song on my Youtube channel nikuzi.

What advice can you tell aspiring singers/musicians?

Learn a music software. Start creating music from home. Work on your digital presence consciously. Be self-driven. Don't get stuck in an era. Be open to listen to all kinds of music. Be humble. Be innovative. Be inspired. Think out of the box. Be a marketing person. Do away with the contracted musician mindset. Support other musicians.

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