Now a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Mahat first learned to play traditional Himalayan folk music, called lok geet, in the countryside, "but I was always interested in American country music," he says. Mahat says there are many similarities between Appalachian and Himalayan music. He listened to artists such as John Denver, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Presley as a child, and fell in love with the feeling in their songs. "When I was a kid, I was interested in listening to music and songs from other countries," he says. He didn't speak English at the time, and couldn't understand what the lyrics meant, but, he says, "I understood the music because that is in my mind. It's the same kind of thing we do in the mountains, the same kind of songs."