Readers Write In #165: Beating lockdown blues through Bollywood Music

Posted on May 2, 2020

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(by Raghav Ravichandran)

This period of lockdown is a great time for people to rekindle lost hobbies, get back to doing something they wanted to do or just use this time to slow down and just use this time to strengthen  the bond with family or friends which was lost for some reason or the other earlier on. This is also a great  time to catch-up with people who have similar passion and interests as mine and get them to speak about it.

I personally have been listening to Bollywood songs and can guess the name of the singers of most songs just by listening to the tune (A trait that amazes many of my friends and family members). And it was indeed a pleasure to come across someone with similar passion and interest for Bollywood and its songs. I got to know more about this person and the joint passion that we share for more than two years now.

I have also followed music reality shows like Indian Idol, SaReGaMaPa, Rising Star, The Voice etc and truly believe the voice of the person I am going to introduce to you all is a cut above those voices. She has the qualities to become a playback singer in various languages as her voices is a pleasant amalgamation of getting the right emotions/feel along with superb pitch control.

As there is social distancing and I couldn’t meet this aspiring artist in person, we decided to put our common passion- Bollywood Music in a nice and fun way which would be interactive. The idea came up after we decided that we would do a Podcast on sharing our memories of Bollywood music, but that’s yet to materialize but we have got something for all of you that hopefully you all would enjoy!

She is someone who describes herself as a beer seller/marketer in the morning and singer in the evening. Her soul resides in music and through this  fun Q&A she is going to speak her heart out to the world how music has shaped her, evolved her and about  her journey in following her passion!

Before we get into the conversation, I would like the readers to listen to this scintillating mashup from a really close friend and an aspiring singer, Aishwarya Verma who was kind enough to pour her heart out in making this collaborative experience possible.

Without wasting further time, here’s presenting both of us discussing everything Bollywood and Bollywood songs and also how music can really play an integral part in beating lockdown blues:

Raghav: Who has been your inspiration for you to become a singer?

Aishwarya: My Mother. She is an incredible singer, I have grown up listening to her singing all the popular and classical songs of Asha BhonsleJi, Lata Ji, Geeta Dutt Ji. And then my interest grew when I started to listening to her favourites from the 90s on our cassette player. Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan also became inspirations!

Raghav: Which artists have played an integral part in you wanting to become a professional singer?

Aishwarya: Lata Ji, Asha Ji, Geeta Dutt, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Vishal-Shekhar, Salim-Suleiman, AR Rahman.

Raghav: What kind of songs do you generally listen to? Or is that mood dependent?

Aishwarya: I know generally people listen to songs based on their mood, but my playlist is never like that. Whatever state of mood I am in I can listen to any song I love (whether it’s a peppy number, sad number, or a romantic track). I can listen to Lag JaGale, Kamli and TadapTadap at the same frame of time.

Raghav: Can you take the readers through your creative process? What goes behind creating songs (even guitar covers)?

Aishwarya: I do not follow any process as such. I honestly get constantly inspired by so many budding artists out there on Youtube, Instagram for my covers. I just pick up my guitar, start singing the song which is my favourite these days and try to sing it in my way, and whatever may be the output, I just post it. And then I leave the feedback to the viewers.

Raghav: You always say that music gives you extreme joy and happiness- could you elaborate on that?

Aishwarya: Music resides in my soul. Music is one thing that elevates my mind, and makes me stay cheerful throughout the day.

Raghav: How important do you think is choosing the right singers for a tune? As there have been cases where a better singer could have elevated the song to an all new level. 

Aishwarya: Actually, I really don’t have an opinion on this. I need to have the ears of a composer to think that way. All our biggest composers of the industry choose the best they can for their songs. So, it depends on them whether the tunes go well with that particular singer’s voice. Personally, I believe, if the singer is able to feel the emotions of the song, then he/she is the perfect voice for that song.

Raghav: Personally, who do you think has been a bigger influence for you as a singer- Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle or Alka Yagnik? Or there any other singers?

Aishwarya: All three of them, also Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan and Sonu Nigam.

Raghav: How important is to have uniqueness in your style of singing? As there are many upcoming singers who try to sound similar to their idols, which is not helping them.

Aishwarya: You can get inspired from your idols, but always maintain the originality of your voice and style. Even the biggest singers and musicians suggest the same to all the budding artists out there.

Raghav: Your take on the evolution of Bollywood Music over the years…

Aishwarya: I think Bollywood music has evolved in a very beautiful way. All kinds of improvisations, electronic music, usage of all instruments in technological way has really given us amazing songs. But we can never forget our roots, the late 60s and 70s music which has given us a strong foundation to enhance today’s music.

Raghav: In such times of distress with COVID-19, how important a role do you think Music plays? 

Aishwarya: I think any kind of performing art, be it-music, dance, painting, acting – I believe are the true stressbusters. The initiative of Sangeet Setu, Sonu Nigam live, budding musicians going live, “Team Naach” who teach dance online, Mostly sane continuing to stay at her best, etc. are all helping the people at home to utilize and pursue their somewhere hidden passion and interests.

Raghav: Let’s move on to personal favourites- Your favourite female playback singer and male playback singer and reasons for that?

Aishwarya: That is very difficult to answer actually, because the list is very huge. Though all the names mentioned above are my idols and out of them, the ones I look up to the most are Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal without any doubts.

“Maine unkegaanon ko jeeyahai har pal”, like I have this habit to listen to one song for almost 50 times and most of the songs are theirs only.

Raghav: Who have been the pillars of support from you in your musical journey so far? As you aspire to become a playback singer someday.

Aishwarya: I would firstly say my mother, who herself is an amazing singer. As I earlier said, she is the one who made me listen to the best music and developed that passion and kept pushing me to work very hard towards my music.

Apart from her, I guess all the artists out there posting their live covers, guitar covers, websites like Youtube, Instagram music pages, have all been a very important part of my musical journey, and in some or the other way have taught me some new style of music.

Raghav: ‘Masakali 2.0’ has created quite a stir on social media. Your thoughts on why TanishkBagchi’s recreations get so much love?

Aishwarya: I would say, this is not the first time that a legendary song got recreated. It probably created a stir as it was noticed by Mr. AR Rahman, which was a big thing. I personally am not against remakes, if they are made in a unique manner, but my point would be that the original composer should be well aware of the composition being remade, and also it should be made with his consent of happiness as it was his/her creation.

Raghav: Apart from ‘Dilbar’ and ‘AankhMarey’, all his recreations personally I feel have been pointless and have disrespected the original song. Any particular songs or ‘recreation’that’s caught your attention?

Aishwarya: We can’t deny that Tanishk Bagchi is actually very popular now with his songs in today’s time. If you look at few of his original compositions – Kanha from Shubh Mangal Savdhan, Sweety Tera Drama from Bareilly Ki Barfi are really good.

Raghav: In this time of social distancing and lockdown, anything you would like to say musically to everyone reading this?

Aishwarya: I would just want the viewers to listen to this beautiful AR Rahman melody, which I have attempted in my style

Raghav: Before signing off, could you please share few cover versions of yours? Maybe, your favourites?

Aishwarya: I would just request everyone to visit my Instagram music page (Instagram.com/aish_rhythm) where I try recreating the beautiful Hindi melodies.