Ricky Kej was born on 5 August, 1981 in North Carolina, USA. He is an Indian Composer, Music Producer, and Conservationist. Despite being an Indian Composer, he has also composed music to western beats. He won the Grammy Award for his album Winds of Samsara; this album was a collaboration with South African flutist Wouter Kellerman. Ricky Kej moved to Bangalore when he was eight. He went to school at the Bishop Cotton Boy’s School, and subsequently, he earned his Dentistry degree from Oxford Dental College in Bangalore. He didn’t pursue a career in Dentistry and opted for Music instead. While attending university, Ricky joined a progressive rock band. He says this band gave him a basic knowledge and exposure to music.
In an interview, Ricky’s mother Pammi, said that Ricky’s artistic genes were inherited from his grandfather, Janaki Das. His grandfather was an Actor, Olympic Cyclist, and a Freedom Fighter. Ricky started his music career as a keyboardist. His music journey started from a Bengaluru-based progressive rock band called Angel Dust. With two years of experience in this band, Ricky set up his own studio called Revolution and became a full-time composer in 2003. Ricky gradually went to create music for over 3000 jingles and even scored a few Kannada movies. Ricky can compose in multiple genres. He uses his Indian roots as inspiration to compose his music. His composition is mainly based on Hindustani Classical with a little Carnatichere and there. Ricky is a self-taught musician.
He first studied classical music at the age of 24. Ricky went on to release 13 of his studio albums, most of which were released in the U.S. but not in his motherland India. Ricky has noted that this was on account of the poor music-buying ethos in India and the dominance of Bollywood music in the country. During that period Ricky composed music for Kannada films such as Accident in 2008, Venkata in Sankata in 2009, and Crazy Kutumba in 2010. In an interview, Ricky said that in early stages of his music career he found composing music for Kannada films very frustrating, but continued to do so as a factor of validation for his significance as a composer in India. Ricky has clarified that composing music for the Kannada film Accident, directed by Ramesh Arvind was not a chance encounter He had worked very hard for it and was offered a lot of freedom by
during the process.
He has indicated that working with Ramesh Aravind was a very enjoyable experience. Ricky won the One Show-Advertising award for his Jingle for TreesforRee.org in 2008. Ricky won Adfest Asia Award-Advertising for his Jingle for Seventy mm Movie Rentals in 2009. Ricky has won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, a ZMR Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, a ZMR Award for Album of the Year, a South African Music Award for his work Winds of Samsara in 2015. He has also won a Global Music Awards World Music-India, an International Acoustic Music Award for Best Open or Acoustic Open genre for his work on Samsara from Shanti Samsara in 2016.