Mikey McCleary

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Mikey McCleary
Mikey McCleary.jpg
Mikey McCleary
Background information
Born (1969-01-08) 8 January 1969 (age 50)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
OriginAuckland, New Zealand
Occupation(s)Songwriter, composer, performer, producer, director
Years active1993–present

Michael "Mikey" McCleary is an Indian-born New Zealand songwriter, composer, performer, producer and director living in Mumbai, India since 2007.[1] He has worked on a large number of advertisements such as for brands like Levi's, Coca-Cola, Vodafone etc. and films such as Waiting, Margarita with a straw, Shaitan, Shanghai, David, Bombay Velvet, Nautanki Saala, Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Shaandaar etc.

Besides his prolific work on soundtracks for ad-films, background scores and songs for Bollywood films, he is also well known for his re-interpretations of old Bollywood songs under the stage name of The Bartender, most notably Khoya Khoya Chand and Hawa Hawai from Shaitan, Neend Na Mujhko Aaye and Eena Meena Deeka from Shaandaar,[2] Fifi from Bombay Velvet, O Lal Meri / Mast Kalandar from David and Dhak Dhak from Nautanki Saala.[3][4] He has also released a one-of-its-kind album of full-length versions of some of his most popular advertisement jingles called TV Dinners.[5]

Personal life[edit]

McCleary is a New Zealander who was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He lived and worked in London, England for nearly fifteen years and is currently based primarily in Mumbai, India. He studied Composition and Orchestration at the Wellington Conservatorium of Music and at Victoria University of Wellington, then worked as a music producer in London at the Trident Studios among other places.[6] He is married to writer and actor Diksha Basu.[7]

Career in India[edit]

McCleary began his career in the Indian industry with a collaboration with Lucky Ali. He was responsible for the music behind the album Sunoh and all subsequent Lucky Ali albums and he has also worked regularly with A. R. Rahman.[8] He is the talent behind some of the most successful and recognisable tracks for India's biggest advertising campaigns including Vodafone, Coca-Cola, Levi's, Titan, Garnier, Lakme, Reliance, Canon, Sony, Pond's, Cadbury Dairy Milk and countless more.[9]

In addition to advertising, McCleary continues to make his mark in Bollywood. He composed & produced all the tracks and background music for the recently released film Waiting. In 2015 he won the Best Composer Award for the Film Margarita with a Straw at the Asian Film Awards.[10] He also created the critically acclaimed background score for Dibakar Banerjee's 2012 political thriller Shanghai as well as contributing music for several other films including Shaitan, Kahaani, Love Sex aur Dhokha, Shaandaar, Bombay Velvet and Chennai Express.[11] He composed the background score and a few tracks for Bejoy Nambiar's second film, David and then turned into a full-fledged Bollywood music director for Rohan Sippy's 2013 film, Nautanki Saala.[12] He also created the background score and one track for the 2014 film, Shaadi Ke Side Effects.[13]

TV Dinners[edit]

TV Dinners was McCleary's debut album of English songs.[14] The album consists of songs that Mccleary composed and wrote for major TV advertising brands like Vodafone, Levi's, Audi, Titan and Lakmé. He has extended these 45-second jingles into full songs by adding new composition and lyrics so that instead of sounding like jingles, they sound like tracks from various artists that were placed in TV ad films. Featuring his own vocals on half the album, it also features the singers Anushka Manchanda, Shalmali Kholgade, Monica Dogra and Mauli Dave. Five music videos directed by him have been released for tracks from this album.[15]

The Bartender[edit]

Going by the stage name of The Bartender, McCleary has three albums released, Classic Bollywood: Shaken not Stirred (2011), B Seventy (2013) and Classic Bollywood With A Twist (2014). The first album re-invents Bollywood songs from the '50s and '60s in a jazzy, seductive style and includes hit songs such as Khoya Khoya Chand (featured in Bejoy Nambiar's film Shaitan) and Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho from the Coca-Cola advertisement directed by Dibakar Banerjee.[16]

The second album, B Seventy, was created in honour of Amitabh Bachchan and was released as a dedication to him on his 70th birthday. It features revamped versions of his most iconic hit film songs, combining reggae, cabaret and motown while staying true to the original soul of the songs.[17]

The third album, Classic Bollywood with a Twist, was launched by Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh. In this album, McCleary has chosen some of the most loved songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s and reinterpreted them with jazzy, seductive and mischievous flare using various genres and a predominantly live band feel. McCleary has been quoted saying, 'A beautiful song is like a beautiful woman. The musical arrangements are like the clothes that she wears. The music recordings, much like clothes, may appear old and outdated to the younger generation, but the beauty of the song composition and lyrics are eternal. My goal is to give that beautiful song new clothes that suit and enhance her beauty for all to see afresh and enjoy. I personally also still love listening to the old recordings.'

The Bartender as an artist includes Suman Sridhar, Shalmali Kholgade, Shibani Dandekar, Rachel Varghese, Saba Azad and Mauli Dave on vocals, Vinay Lobo on guitar, Aditya Ashok on drums, Anand Bhagat on percussions, Ramon Ibrahim on keyboards, Rhys D'Souza on saxophone, Kishore Sodha on trumpet and Mikey McCleary on bass. It has in the past also included Anushka Manchanda, Monica Dogra and Sagarika Mukherjee on vocals, Merlin D'Souza on keyboards, and Warren Mendonsa on guitar.[18]

Notable performances[edit]

  • Amitabh Bachchan's 70th Birthday Celebrations
  • Book Launch for Abu Jani – Sandeep Khosla's book, India Fantastique
  • Blue Frog, Mumbai


Music albums[edit]

Artist Position Album
Lucky Ali Music Composer
A. R. Rahman Co-Producer
The Bartender Music Composer and producer
  • Classic Bollywood: Shaken not Stirred
The Bartender Music Composer and producer
  • B Seventy
The Bartender Music Composer and producer
  • Classic Bollywood with a Twist
Mikey McCleary Music Composer and producer


Film Position Track
It's a Wonderful Afterlife Song composer
  • Hai Mar Jawaan
Love Sex aur Dhokha Arranger
  • LSD Remix
  • Can't Hold it any Longer
  • Tu Gandi
Shaitan Music Revamped and Produced
  • Khoya Khoya Chand
  • Hawa Hawai
Shanghai Background score composer
Kahaani Arranger
  • Piya tu Kaahe Rootha re
Nautanki Saala
  • Dhak Dhak
  • Mera mann Kehne Laga
  • Tu Hi Tu
  • Draamebaaz
  • Dil Ki… Toh Lag Gayi
  • So Gaya yeh Jahan
  • Saadi Galli Aaja (unplugged)
Chennai Express
  • Song Composer
  • Titli – Drum & Bass Remix
Shaadi Ke Side Effects
  • Ahista Ahista
Angry Young Man
  • Song Composer
  • Ek Wajah Do
Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi
  • Song composer
  • Chop Chop
  • Song composer
  • Gimme Pizza!
Bombay Velvet
  • Songs revamped and Produced
  • Mohobbat Buri Bimari
  • Fifi
Margarita with a Straw
  • Foreign Balamwa
  • Choone Chali Aasman
  • I Need a Man
  • Music revamped and Produced
  • Tu Hai Toh Main Hoon
  • Zara Zara
  • Got My Eyes On You
  • Waiting For you
  • "Nashe Si Chadh Gayi"
  • "Ude Dil Befikre"
  • "Je T'aime"
  • "You & Me"
  • "Labon Ka Karobaar"
  • "Khulke Dulke"
  • "Love Is a Dare" (Instrumental)
  • "Nashe Si Chadh Gayi" (Remix)
Blackmail (2018 film) Background score composer along with Parth Parekh.


  1. ^ "Mikey McCleary's musical moves". Mid-day.com. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt groove to Eena Meena Deeka in Shaandaar". hidustantimes.com. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20130718094237/http://indianmusictalks.com/apr2013/interview.html. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Meet music maverick Mikey McCleary – Times of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  5. ^ Sonam Savlani (10 June 2014). "Now Playing: Mikey McCleary's The Bartender". elle.in. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  6. ^ Joshi, Tushar (10 November 2009). "Lucky Ali's bro-in-law makes B-Town debut as music director". Mid-day.com. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  7. ^ Surekha Kadapa-Bose (10 May 2015). "Hearing it anew". deccanherald.com. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. ^ Bhatti, Sharin (20 July 2011). "Gora who spices up filmi songs". Mid-day.com. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  9. ^ "I'm not trying to be a popstar: Mikey McCleary – Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Mikey McCleary gets Best Composer award for 'Margarita, With a Straw' at Asian Film Awards". radioandmusic.com. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  11. ^ "'Shanghai' music rooted in Indian street music: Composer". Realbollywood.com. 10 June 2012. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  12. ^ "Mikey Mccleary: The man behind music of Nautanki Saala, 'Khoya Khoya Chand' remix". bollywodhungama.com. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Farhan has a unique voice: Mikey McCleary". Deccanchronicle.com. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  14. ^ Sonali Shenoy (25 June 2014). "Mikey and the Jingle Factory". Newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Mikey McCleary debuts his new album 'TV Dinners'". Musicunplugged.in. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  16. ^ "The original song has to be respected, honoured and understood". Starblockbuster. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Mikey McCleary's B Seventy". Indian Express. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  18. ^ "'My sound is still not typically Indian'". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 25 February 2015.

18) http://kamlashow.com/2015/04/16/podcast-mikey-mccleary-on-creating-music-for-bollywood/

External links[edit]