Sydney boy Tushar Apte strikes it big with Chris Brown song
So you’ve heard the Chris Brown single ‘Zero’. You’ve enjoyed its nu-disco vibes, loved Breezy’s sensational moves, and perhaps mulled over its possible inspiration from Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
Well, here’s something else about this number that will wow you.
It is produced by Tushar Apte, of Sydney’s own Indian community – composer, songwriter, producer and pianist par excellence.
From a Sydney boy with big dreams to the man behind Chris Brown’s hit single, which has had over 25 million hits on YouTube, 30-year-old Tushar’s journey has been incredible.
Born in Newcastle to high achieving parents, being musical comes naturally to Tushar, who learnt to play the piano at a very young age.
“It feels like I’ve been involved in music for as long as I can remember,” he tells Indian Link, and adds laughingly, “Except for a gap between Year 2 and Year 6 when I thought I could become a professional basketball player like my hero Michael Jordan!”
Tushar went to Homebush Boys’ High School and excelled at the performing arts, taking part in many different recitals, concerts and eisteddfods.
But the one moment that stands out from these high school performances, was the time he played at the Sydney Opera House.
“I got to play the concert grand piano at the Opera House which I remember being totally in awe of,” he recalls.
Tushar’s mum Minoti Apte is an award-winning scientist who was named the NSW Woman of the Year for 2015. But she is equally well-known in the community for her own love of the performing arts. When she produced the mega hit Marathi musical Durga Zhali Gauri for the Marathi Associationof Sydney a few years ago, Tushar, then 19, took on a stage role. What initially felt like an event he was being dragged into by mum, quickly turned into a fun experience.
“I think as someone who works behind the scenes now as a producer and composer, the one element of music I miss is performing,” says Tushar, ruefully.
Tushar’s parents have been an inspiration and solid support system for his offbeat and challenging path of pursuing his passion as an occupation. He talks about them with much fondness.
“Mum is a classical dancer, mainly trained in the Kathak style and Dad is a vocalist, I think fair to say one of the most well-known Indian vocalists in Sydney.”
With so much talent at home there is little surprise that a deep passion has turned into a flourishing career.
Moving to Los Angeles five years ago seemed like a natural career progression. It did not faze him that he did not have a single contact in the music business. Tushar had grown up on a healthy diet of mainly American music, and so he felt he could tackle head on whatever the industry threw at him.
He found work as a musician in many capacities – as a ‘gigging’ keyboard/piano player, a film/TV composer, a pop songwriter, and composer/arranger.
“The opportunities here are certainly unimaginable in Australia!” says Tushar.
Today he has to his credit songs that he has written for X-Factor finalists from Australia, the UK, and US as well as superstars including Adam Levine and Chris Brown.
His most recent success has come as producer and co-writer of Chris Brown’s latest worldwide single ‘Zero’ which is the lead song featured on his album Royalty. Performed to a funky retro beat, ‘Zero’ is Brown’s rebuke of a girl who turned him down, but now stalks him on his Instagram.
Gave a hundred percent, but all I got from you, zero…
Zero, that’s how many f**** I give.
The song has been incredibly successful having hit #8 on US radio.
Would Tushar describe himself as “successful”?
Showing a maturity well beyond his age, Tushar replies, “While material components of success are important, there are two factors that define success for me. One is knowing that being able to make music professionally is a privilege that very few are able to claim, and I’ve been able to do that. The second is that I want to inspire other kids in the Indian community to give their craziest ideas a real shot, not through talk necessarily, but through action. There’s so much talent in our community. Most of them might not feel they are able to make a life out of what they’re really passionate about, particularly creative talents. I think our generation has just started to break that old mould, and I hope the next generation will be even more fearless.”
So what’s next? In five years’ time Tushar sees himself continuing to work with the biggest and best artists in the world, developing the next generation of artists and scoring his first studio film or big cable TV show – he just recently finished composition work on a major network show for NBC.
Looks like there’s simply no stopping this Sydney boy.