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“This is the time for independent music”

Singer and live performer Bhanu Pratap Singh talks to Titas Chowdhury about his musical journey, which started with a reality show, and the highlights of his career. 

Singer-performer Bhanu Pratap Singh is carving a niche for himself in the music industry, slowly but very steadily. Taking us back to his early days, he contemplates, “I started my journey long ago. I am from a Rajput family in Jaipur. My father was a police officer and he wanted me to be either that, a doctor or an engineer. But I always wanted to become a singer. When my father did not allow that, I left my family to make a mark for myself with my music.”

Singh first grabbed the limelight with the music reality show Indian Idol. Talking about his journey after the show, he says, “After Indian Idol, I got the opportunity to perform in the second season of Coke Studio @ MTV. Back then, the show was very fresh and new in India. Mr Ehsaan (Noorani) and Mr Loy (Mendonsa) gave me the chance to perform on that platform. I was the first singer from a reality show to perform there.”

Shedding light on how that appearance happened, he says, “Ehsaan and Loy got to know about me thanks to a very close friend of mine. Their manager Shirin, a very close friend now, called me up and offered me a chance to sing before them. They liked my voice. That is how I bagged the song Zamana kharab hai.”

The singer says that with a break as huge as Coke Studio, his life changed. “I was the lead singer of the song. It was a very big platform for me. It was a major turning point in my life that changed my life completely. It also changed me as an artiste.”

His next big break came in the form of Chitta ve from the Shahid Kapoor starrer Udta Punjab. “I sang for Amit Trivedi in the film Udta Punjab. With Chitta ve, he tried my voice in a different way. It is all about opportunities and working with composers who make you try different genres of music,” he states. Speaking further about Trivedi, he adds, “Amit believes in me and my voice a lot. He is an amazing person, and I am glad I got the chance to record for him, many times, even after Udta Punjab. He appreciates my voice and that is a huge high.”

Singh says that Sonu Nigam has been his biggest source of inspiration. “Sonu Nigam is an idol for so many people out here, and I am one of them. He inspired me in terms of his voice and his performance style. He is amazing. I am glad I got the chance to spend some time with him on Indian Idol. The moments I spent with him will always be etched in my memory.”

Talking about the music scene in India, Singh remarks, “Times are changing. Composers are giving newcomers a chance. It is all about talent. If you can convince people of your talent, you can bag big opportunities. The music industry has opened up.” He adds, “This is an exciting time as it is the time for independent music. It is the latest trend in the market.”

Singh feels that social media is a boon for artistes today and his absence from it affected his Sufi video single Saanware. He points out, “When I joined the industry in 2008-2009, it was not a time for singles, but I still released one. It did not receive a wide market. I tried my best to blend a good story with good music. The thing is, I was not on social media. Hence, I could not showcase myself in the right way. That was the reason Saanware did not get a good audience. I was not aware of the power of social media.”

Known for his unique renditions of popular Mohammad Rafi numbers like Yeh dil tum bin and Din dhal jaaye, the singer remarks, “I am very thirsty for projects and to bring my voice out in the right way, so that people continue to love me. I am yet to display my versatility, and variation in voice. But I am very thankful to Ehsaan, Loy and Amit, who brought my voice out in different capacities.”

Commenting on his future endeavours, he says, “I am waiting for the right time to announce my projects. It is too early to say anything, because it so often happens that your songs get removed from films at the very last moment. I have already sung for many composers for a couple of big films. I am coming out with a single too.” 

 

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