59 - Nitin Sawhney on the power of letting go

Nordic Leaders

Dec 21 2022 • 47 mins

"Music attracts luck" - Nitin Sawhney

In this episode we have a warm and uplifting chat with Nitin Sawhney, musician, producer and composer, known around the world for his  albums, film scores, DJ skills, and collaborations with Paul McCartney, Sting, Jeff Beck, Ellie Golding,  Annie Lennox, Will Young, Bob Geldof, Andy Serkis, Mira Nair, Anushka Shankar, Nora Jones, Herby Hancock and David Gilmore.

In a wide ranging conversation on music, intuition, collaboration, leadership and learning, Nitin references Beethoven, Pythagoras, Johannes Kepler, Einstein, Michelangelo and Nelson Mandela. This episode is fascinating, packed with positivity and downright good fun. We were thrilled to have such a lovely chap on our show, thank you Nitin! Below some tasters:

Changing your attitude to change your fortunes

  • When I let go and stopped fighting, and stopped being angry and frustrated, and instead looked at what I could do to positively to change things, then everything shifted.
  • And it shifted really fast. Within a matter of weeks, I got a new record deal and went from playing to 100 people at the Jazz Cafe, to filling the Royal Albert Hall and playing to 5,000 people, and then touring with Sting.
  • It was a change of attitude. I focused on what I could positively do rather than what I could retain from the past. I just went what can I do? What are the things that I'm capable of? What are the things that I could do to change my situation? What do I have control of?


  • If you follow your intuition, the universe has a habit of taking care of you.
  • You have to train your intuition and work on it to the point where you feel able to trust it.
  • The more you follow your intuition, the more you end up in a place where you are able to be a medium for possibility.


  • John Coltrane said that improvisation was like a bird that you catch in the air … that lends itself to the idea of discovering rather than creating music; it's what Michelangelo famously said, that the statues were hidden in the stone.
  • Listening is a prerequisite of finding a collaborative voice with anyone.
  • It comes through discovering each other's thoughts and processes and of what goals we might have, or whether we want to just simply explore a possibility rather than focus on the specific goal. So, it's just kind it's about seeing how people want to work and being open to that.

Leadership and learning

  • You can always learn. There is always something that you can find. And so, the idea that you are thinking of leadership in the fluid way in your interactions, I think is also really important.
  • Anyone can be a leader at any time. I've spent my whole life playing the guitar, but I might meet a guitarist who's actually only played for a short time, but they could teach me something. It's very important that you can give way to them and allow them to lead a situation so that you can learn from it.

And here is a link to artists, musicians, composers, who have worked with Nitin talking about  how he has enabled them to be more than what they imagined themselves to be. To go a little bit further. To let go. Nitin Sawhney