The Mumbai-based artist has been among few jazz vocalists synonymous with revival of RnB, Soul and Jazz into the live circuits and bringing it back to the playlist of today’s youth in the country. When she is not seen regaling the audiences as a part of the finest Jazz, RnB and Soul outfits in the country — in the capacity of both collaborator and soloist — she’s pursuing her passion for music education which has found a permanent home in the ‘School of Voice’.
What would you be doing today if not for this interview?
Finishing my next song and getting my kitchen remodeled. Both have turned out to be very similar activities.
If you were to introduce your music and genre to someone unaware of your music, how would you?
40% POP, 60% Soul, Sung from the Gut, Produced like Gold.
Tell us something about your latest video single ‘Run‘.
Stylistically ‘Run‘ is about me going back to my core as a Soul Pop singer. Those were my first musical instincts and Dhruv Ghanekar helped me find a sound that would reflect my core style but also encompass all that I am.
We’ve used a lot of bold colours and symbolism in the video because RUN is about gathering all parts of yourself and owning yourself fully. Self-love comes from full acceptance of ourselves and we all have the right to live with that kind of joy, freedom and personal strength.
One artist you’d like to collaborate with, but you know it’s not the right time now.
I’d love to sing a song with Victor Wooten someday. His music is a spiritual experience for me and this is something I dream of being part of even if for one single moment.
According to you, what does it take to earn the acclaimed badge of “Established Artist”?
Established artists have at least these three things in common. They have a strong reputation within the industry. Their art keeps them financially healthy and abundant. And most importantly, they have a clear point of view in their art and this wields a particular emotional power over new and old audiences.
Your Highlight performance till date and why so?
I think my greatest honour was to play alongside John Mclaughlin, 4th Dimension. The day we got that booking I couldn’t stop freaking out. We got a slot to perform just before him. There were pure legends playing on that day. And of course John McLaughlin, Etienne Mpabbe, Ranjit Barot, Gary Husband. It was unbelievable to be part of that.
An artist’s Best Friend is?
An artist’s best friend is curiosity. Curiosity is a sign of openness and enthusiasm and intelligence. It’s the only way we get better and stay interesting.
What was the first ever instrument?
Voice was my first instrument. I never got into any other. The voice is an extremely complex instrument and, in fact, for the last 10 years, I have been studying the biomechanics of the voice and how that can be leveraged to get better vocal skills. It’s something I teach singers and actors as well now.
How has your place of origin been an influence on your music?
I grew up in Delhi singing in choirs. This was perfect for me because I was born with vibrato in my voice and many Indian classical teachers would discourage that. Choir became the best place for me to find an appropriate use for my natural abilities.
I had an overwhelming amount of support from my family. In school too, there was a standing instruction that I was allowed to practice singing all day if I wanted – as long as I didn’t let my grades suffer. The French Embassy gave me tremendous support after school and I was able to start performing internationally because of that. I clocked in non-stop practice hours and stage time because of this and it formed the correct foundation for me to grow as a singer.
How are the psychological rewards in this career you have chosen?
From the very beginning there is the joy of connection. You feel bonded to the audience and to your band. Music gives us a vast sense of self, an emotional outlet and also a spiritual connection to sound.
Therefore, I have come to believe that when we build a career we have to stop looking for psychological and emotional rewards. A neutral stance helps us navigate an industry which has varied people and also handle ups and downs in our career. Artists who are too psychologically dependent on career tend to suffer a lot.
Music, live performance, song creation, video creation – these are purely emotional. But Career work needs to be as neutral as possible for the sake of our sanity and health.
If we speak to you again exactly this date 5 years from now, How different are all the above answers going to be?
My work highlights should have changed and my kitchen would be superbly beautiful too 🙂
If we speak to you again exactly this date 5 years from now, your answer to which question would remain unchanged?
I know that I would still believe in the same core traits of a true artist and what it means to be established in the arts
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