As ‘bekcha’ (the name not capitalised at his request) was gearing up to take the stage for the first time during the GE Fest held at Chhaya Centre in Kathmandu in December 2021, he was nervous. There were nearly 500 people, most of whom were chanting his name. The stage was set, and despite being anxious, he stood there, with a guitar in hand, and sang his songs as most in the crowd sang along with him.
“It was shaking before that, but as I started singing and telling stories, I felt at home. The audience loved me and that helped a lot,” says bekcha.
A year on, a lot has changed for bekcha who has played shows in most parts of the country. His music is doing great on YouTube as it has touched the hearts of thousands of people. What started as a dream in his room over nine years ago has become a reality as he plans to release more songs in the coming year and play shows abroad.
“It’s taken time to get here,” he says. “But looking back, it has been a wonderful journey.”
Finding solace in music
Music has always been a solace for bekcha. Growing up, he listened to music by Narayan Gopal, Arun Thapa and Deepak Kharel. But, he rarely sang in front of people. A young bekcha would often sing alone sitting in his room or on the staircase where nobody could hear him.
As time passed, that changed. In his mid-teens, he started singing in school. He says the first Nepali song he sang in front of people was Yash Kumar’s Ma Aaphnai Aanganma Inar Banauchhu.
“For some odd reason, I always related myself to that song.”
Lyrics always intrigued bekcha. He wanted to understand what the person was singing, maybe that is the reason his lyrics are so deep and meaningful.
Even though he loved singing, he hated doing it publicly. He did not like standing in front of many people, but by the time he was in high school, he started doing it. It was around then that he posted his first video.
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran had announced a singing contest and wanting to participate in it, bekcha posted a video of him singing Sheeran’s song. He had hoped that once he put it out, views would come, but he got a reality check really fast.
“It’s like what VTEN said a while back, you sit and refresh the song and listen to it yourself to increase the views. I realised there were no shortcuts,” he says.
He posted other cover videos, but even those did not get the views he wanted. That discouraged bekcha for a while as he struggled as it was hard not to care about the art he had put on the internet.
It was around 2016 that things started to pick up for him.
“I was a huge Bipul Chhetri fan. I covered most of his songs, especially from the Syndicate album. Those videos did well,” he says. On the side, he also started to write his own songs, but they did not get views. Discouraged, he stopped doing music for almost two years.
“People, mostly extended family and friends told me how doing music was getting me nowhere and I should focus on getting a real job.”
Following that, bekcha created a lot of self-doubts and left Kathmandu for two years.
“It was important as I learnt a lot living away from family.”
Resilience and subsequent rise
But, he could not stay away from music for long. He returned and continued to sing covers. His reply to Yabesh Thapa’s Mayako Katha got him a lot of views. It was not bekcha’s original, but it was still something he could call his own and watching people share it and play it made him happy.
“The gaming community helped a lot. Mr Hyozu and Wang played it on their stream every day. That helped other songs get views too.”
He then wrote and recorded Last Day and Nabola Ma Sanga. These songs slowly started to get views. His YouTube also started to pick up. These songs were simple but relatable as they resonated with the experience of everyone.
“I write when I’m sad. Maybe that is why I don’t have many happy songs. These songs are inspired by the life of people near me. Maybe that is why people relate to it.”
His recent song Apthero Awastha is one of them. It talks about anxiety one faces due to the many incidents that happen in one’s life. The song has over a million views and if you read the comments, you can see how much it has helped people going through difficult times in their lives.
“Reading comments that my songs help people humbles me. It makes me happy that I’ve been able to help people. This keeps me going.”
Excited for future endeavours
The future excites bekcha as he is also nearing 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. He knows how much he has worked for this and how much he should continue working.
“Everything has happened very slowly and I think this will continue. I remember every step and won’t take anything for granted.”
He has recently been quite busy playing shows across the country. He is currently waiting to get to the studio to record the songs that have been in the pipeline for a few months.
“Waiting for everything to fall in place, hopefully, it’ll be out soon,” he says.