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Debutante singer Dhvani Bhanushali talks to Box Office India about her first Bollywood venture Ishtehaar from the film Welcome To New York alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Not many singers debut alongside a maestro. Dhvani Bhanushali says she is grateful for this golden opportunity. “I had never imagined making a debut with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The song has been picturised on Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh, and several other actors who have worked in the film. The experience was surreal at first, but then I just went with the flow,” she says.

On what it was like to work on a song with Khan, she recalls, “Actually, I recorded my portion of the song in India and he recorded his portion in Pakistan and sent it to us. As soon as I listened to his voice on the headphones, I got goose bumps. On the first day of my recording, I was very nervous and they had to postpone the recording session to the next day. He is a legend and I am only 19 years old, a little thing in front of him. It was overwhelming for me at first. But finally I did it.”

The talented singer started her career at a very young age. “I started my musical journey singing in a choir. I was just thirteen then. And when I turned 16, I decided to get formal training. It’s been three years now and I am still learning,” says Bhanushali.

The rising talent is already very popular in the digital space and has a strong fan following on YouTube. “I think it is very important because nowadays, all of us, from all age groups, are on social media. In fact, people use social media to extract information that they are looking for. You get all kinds of stuff on digital platforms. You might as well put your music out there. It has a wider reach than most mediums and it also helps connect people to your music,” she believes.

On discovering her calling at such a tender age, she remarks, “I had never thought I would take up this career. When I was younger, I was very studious and always thought of going abroad. But I went to Himesh (Reshammiya) sir’s place once and everyone there was singing something or the other. In the end, they all asked me to sing. After I finished singing, Himesh sir said I had a good voice and could become a playback singer. We worked together for six months and he made a song for me, which is going to release soon.”

Bhanushali says live shows give her a very different kind of high. “I feel that live shows are better than studio recordings because an artiste can connect with the audience. When you are on stage singing for your audience, you are singing your story to them. It is magical for a singer to resonate with people sitting right in front of them. It is a great high for me and I love live shows.”

Singing from the heart injects spontaneity and freshness to her work, she says, adding, “I do not really think about improvising the song or trying to make it sound different from the original track. I sing it a few times and add whatever I have learnt from my mentors. I do not sit down and work on the song, patch by patch, and decide how to sing a certain portion. Music is something you feel from within. I just sing it the way I prefer. I sing from my heart.”

The young singer says she will stick with Bollywood for a while before she starts exploring music beyond that. “Right now, I have just started to venture into Bollywood with my first project. I would like to work on projects for a few more years before I release an independent album. I think every singer in Bollywood is extremely versatile in their own way. Every singer wants to explore music in different ways, and at some point, I will want to come up with my own music,” she reveals.

She says she doesn’t have one artiste she looks up to and is inspired by many. “I listen to a lot of artistes and I pick up things from everyone. They are very different from each other, each one is different in their approach from the others, and that’s what inspires me to blend it all and then add something on my own.”

On being asked for her wish list of actresses she would like to lend her voice to, she gushes, “I would want to sing for Alia Bhatt. Also Kareena Kapoor; I am a huge Kareena fan.”

How about future projects? “Right now, it is Ishtehaar. There is one more song from the film Welcome To New York that will release soon.”

By line: Box Office India

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