Shreya Ghoshal’s sensational voice has always added something distinct to her songs, leaving her fans listening to them on a loop. Komal Sharma chats up the Queen of Melody, and discusses her upcoming projects and association with T-Series’ Mixtape, a platform where she can sing exactly as she wants
First, let’s talk about T-Series’ Mixtape. Tell us how this collaboration happened.
The Mixtape concept came to me from T-Series. I instantly said ‘yes’ because I found the concept very interesting. There was this whole opportunity for me to rediscover songs I have already sung as I could give them a completely new colour and also perform them in a new way. I had to choose from 100 songs, which was a little difficult. But one song that immediately came to everyone’s mind, from T-Series’ team and Abhijit (Vaghani), was Sunn raha hai na tu. I immediately agreed as the song released in 2013, in the film Aashiqui 2, and wherever I go, I am asked to sing that song!
Then we thought of similar songs in terms of lyrics, scales and tune, and I found Rozana from Naam Shabana. It was an underdog and not really in the spotlight. So I thought these songs should be clubbed. We had so much fun jamming on them with the support of musicians and their superb arrangements. Singing for a movie is a little restricting because the songs are based on situations. But, here, you don’t have to restrict yourself. I am quite happy with how it has turned out.
Do you think this could be a great platform for newcomers as well?
Yes, I guess. I have been watching the other songs that are coming out and songs which have already been sung, and they have been given a fresh sound by new talent, who make them sound like new songs. I think it is a great platform to show off your vocal techniques. In fact, a lot of credit goes to Abhijit Vaghani for coming up with this idea, where you create a new song from existing one.
Sometimes, it is difficult to match up to the original or create a new tune out of it as the song already exists in people’s minds. But adding a new voice completely changes the identity of the song. The only challenge for newcomers is matching up to a great voice like Sonu Nigam or Arijit Singh. Still, it’s about giving a new voice and new flavours to a song without being compared with each other.
You do multiple projects at the same time. How you do you manage to switch moods seamlessly and instantly?
I think it is just the way a person is. Also, music is like acting, and an actor has to cry when there is a sad moment and be happy when there is cherished scene. The actor may take some time to get into the character but it’s not as if he or she stays in that same mood the entire day. I enjoy hopping from one thing to another and I get bored doing the same thing over and over again. I like the variation in my life. I keep trying to sing different genres all the time. I am doing independent projects as well. I want to keep introducing new elements in my life, from time to time, so that I feel energised. It keeps me motivated to do different things.
How would you describe your evolution as an artiste and the transition in your voice?
I think the journey has been fascinating. I entered the field as a teenager and I had no clue to what the right way was to go about things. All I knew was music and that I should continue doing it. I am where I am because I am true to my work and didn’t do anything to sell work. I did just one thing – to learn and sing from the heart. I have to be honest to my profession, family and friends. That’s all that matters at the end of the day. If there’s one thing this journey has taught me it’s that you have to put on blinkers and focus on what you have to do in life, you have to get your priorities in order, act from your heart and never work half-heartedly.
What are your comments on the music scene today and what changes have you seen over the years?
I feel there are both good and bad types of music. There are so many digital mediums now and music is listened to in ways that are very different from earlier. Music is now listened to through apps and other applications. But I also think that it gives musicians a certain freedom and they can use the digital medium to showcase their talent. Let’s see where this takes us and how music is affected by it.
Independent music is flourishing and that’s great. Also, we are chasing hit songs. So even we don’t have any idea that ganna hit hai ya hit banaya gaya. So I think good songs are sometimes hidden, so this should not be done.
What are your thoughts on the technology used nowadays to enhance a singer’s voice in the studio?
It’s a phase where mediocrity pops up. Many people cannot tell an auto tune. It’s wrong to say that everybody is insensitive to good music. That’s completely wrong because people who listen to music can tell the difference. It’s okay if we use those technologies because we have various songs which call for such things. But when you have to sing an emotional song, you need to be original. You cannot fool people as they will figure it out whether it’s original or an auto-tune voice. If you are talented, you will shine; there are no shortcuts.
Can you tell us about your current and future projects?
I am excited about the independent song that I have done. I never thought I would be doing a full-fledged song and be part of something that is completely your own baby. The song Dhadkane azad hain will be out soon. I just released the teaser. It’s on my channel and on all my social media. Then I sang Hans mat pagle, a cute romantic song from Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. The combination of Sonuji (Nigam) and myself is always loved. The other song is Do dilon ke from Partition: 1947. It is a song which has been written so beautifully that it’s beyond description. And working with AR Rahman was also a great experience.