“When I first started playing in a One Man Band in 2016, I was seeking new challenges and approaches to playing the instruments. I didn’t know then that it would become my livelihood.”
Music resonates with everyone, whether humming the tunes or singing off-key notes. It is something that picks us up and makes us feel good. However, for Gladson, the church music resonated the most and motivated him to become a musician. He inherited his love for music from his father, who played the guitar and keyboard skillfully and his mother, who had a stunning voice.
As he grew, he found his musical inclinations and would practise playing musical instruments. His parents were amazed at how quickly he could grasp the musical notes and beats. In his early twenties, Gladson was diagnosed with pleural effusion which caused a loss of 60% lung capacity. He was confined to bed for more than a year. It was his passion for music that pushed him to come out of depression and become a musician.
The determination to become a unique musician made him start “One Man Project”. After that, there was no turning as Gladson continued playing different musical instruments and creating music and beats. Let’s get candid with Gladson and learn more about his music journey and how he became a One-man band.
1. What sparked your initial fascination with music and how did you manage to learn so many instruments at such a young age?
I was introduced to the music world through the church. The beautiful melodies of church music and the harmonious voices of the choir resonated with me. I would eagerly listen to them not just on Sundays, but sometimes even twice a week. Music was deeply ingrained in my family as well. My father, who had been involved in ministry since his early twenties, was musically inclined and played the guitar and keyboard skillfully. My mother, on the other hand, possessed a stunning voice that complemented my father’s talents perfectly.
I grew up surrounded by music. In addition to the church activities, my family would sing songs before sleeping. It helped me discover my musical inclinations. Along with finding my musical inclinations, I would routinely play with a musical instrument or experiment with different utensils like spoons and forks to create drum-like sounds. It fascinated me that I could create something so musical. It wouldn’t take me long to learn a new rhythm or tune. Looking back in wonder, I realised I was simply exploring sounds and enjoyed creating music.
2. Balancing 14 instruments simultaneously is remarkable! How did you develop the skill to play multiple instruments together, and what challenges did you face during this learning process?
Due to my curious nature and love for music, I learned multiple instruments. Before I started playing them simultaneously, I played the instruments individually. Playing spontaneously and in pressure situations on the stage helped me enhance my musical skills. During my college assignment, I decided to play two instruments at once when I didn’t feel motivated to perform the songs of Bob Dylan. My professor suggested Billy Joel; he had played harmonica and piano simultaneously. There was no turning back after that. I borrowed a friend’s guitar and bought a harmonica stand. Without practice, I had performed spontaneously in front of my class.
My classmate’s reaction fueled my determination to create songs and play them. With each practice session, my skills grew. My passion for music also deepened. My mother pointed out one day when she had overheard my performance that my legs were free; I decided to experiment and used a compass box as a bass drum sound for my right foot and my youngest brother’s toy tambourine for the left. To my surprise, it worked like magic! Now, I could play four instruments- a guitar or ukulele with a harmonica on a stand and two random objects for drum sounds on my feet.
When I first started playing in a One Man Band in 2016, I was seeking new challenges and approaches to playing the instruments. I didn’t know then that it would become my livelihood. I faced numerous challenges, from designing my first contraption to selecting the right songs and microphones for the best performance. I had to remain physically and mentally strong and ensure that I played all the instruments together, but also to keep them intact and functional.
3. Being India’s first and only One Man Band, what kind of response have you received from audiences locally and globally?
I wear sunglasses often, so people find it hard to believe anyone can control the instruments manually. They would pinch me to confirm if it’s real. The greatest compliment I have ever received was that I inspired them to persevere and never give up.
4. You mentioned wanting to be a drummer and a motorcyclist initially. How do these passions, if at all, influence your music and performances today?
Right now, I desire to be a Pastor, a drummer, and a racer. I am grateful to have experienced some aspects of these passions. I believe that God has planned something better for me. This perspective heavily influences my music and performances. It fuels my determination to improve my skills and spread joy through my art. It inspires me to write more uplifting music and spread positivity.
I have various plans in the pipeline. First and Foremost, I will upgrade and increase the number of my instruments. I also want to improve the sound and visual quality. Additionally, I want to make music more accessible to people, and I have been writing some music. Most of all, I am excited about collaborations and new opportunities.
Read More Inspiring Stories:
- Mukta Singh: Breaking Stereotypes Of Modeling At The Age Of 58
- Meet 68-Year-Old Doctor-Model Who Is An Inspiration To Many
- Mission Milk: Helping Underprivileged Children In Times Of Hardship
- Echoes: A Cafe That Converses Without Any Language
- Lt. Cdr Bijay Nair’s Story Is About Not Quitting & Dreaming Again