In the history of excuses for not turning in an assignment on time, Sushant KC’s has got to be one of the most excusable. Early in 2021, Sushant performed for the first time in more than a year at a sold-out show at the biggest outdoor venue in Nepal. He is pursuing his bachelor’s in Songwriting and Producing Music, and had Berklee Online CEO Debbie Cavalier as his instructor for Music Theory 101 this past semester. Needless to say, she gave him a rare extension on his assignment, and a big congratulations.
“The energy interchange with the audience is what I live for,” says Sushant KC. “I was filled with immense joy after the event.”
Fortunately, the concert took place when Nepal was out of lockdown for COVID-19, but currently, much of South Asia is experiencing a major uptick in cases due to the spread of variants. Sushant KC is still able to keep working and stay positive.
“The times we live in demands us to stay safe and avoid crowded places, which is fine and for the better,” he says. “I utilize my time making new music and planning the things I need to do to excel in my music career. Other than that, I think we all realize the importance of life and our existence more. We have time for ourselves and our family.”
Sushant KC is a self-taught musician from Kathmandu, and studying at Berklee Online has been his first formal music training. After finishing his A-levels in school (a test for students ages 16 and over), he began writing music at home and learning guitar. After recording his first album, he knew he wanted to pursue music professionally, though he knew he’d face hardships.
“In Nepal, every parent wants their child to be either a doctor, engineer, lawyer, businessman or woman, or at most, an athlete, but no one wants their young ones to be a musician,” he says. “The value of art and artists is less. It is not a prestigious job as per the social system.”
He says that his parents are supportive of his career path, but that it is culturally rare. The cultural concern is that it is hard for musicians to sustain themselves in Nepal pursuing solely music. With this in mind, Sushant KC decided to enroll in business school in Sydney, Australia.
“Financial stability is important, but that is what is interesting about musicians and artists is we don’t care about all that and we want to do what we love,” says Sushant KC. “In the past few years, it has been proven that music or art can actually yield good financial returns as the whole world is adapting to independent artistry.”
Sushant KC is an excellent example of this. His YouTube videos have millions of views, and he says that the royalties actually sustained him through business school.
“I didn’t have to work a single day when I was in Sydney studying business, just because I had my royalties coming from YouTube and other streaming platforms,” he says. “But people won’t believe it here, which is what I want to change.”
While he was studying business, he started looking into music schools to pursue what he was passionate about, and what was paying his bills.
“Berklee was the first school I applied to and fortunately I got in,” he says. “I realized learning in one of the best music schools would be the best path for me to hone my skills and to become a professional musician.”
In addition to his classes, Sushant KC is currently working on a project called Tuborg Open (an initiative organized by the liquor brand Tuborg). The project has him collaborating with David Guetta and Nepalese rapper Uniq Poet on. He is also working on his next album.
“Trends, fashion, and almost everything just arrives here, when it’s old for the Western world,” he says. “We are a conservative society and not open to many changes, but I think it is high time for everyone to realize that you only enjoy life when you do things that make you happy.”
Photo courtesy of Lord of the Drinks