‘India needs pop stars’

Debarati Palit
Thursday, 6 July 2017

Singer Nandini Deb talks about her debut playback song and how she wants to concentrate on independent music

After having shared stage with well-known singers in the Indian film industry including Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Sukhwinder Singh, Udit Narayan, and Kunal Ganjawala, singer Nandini Deb is making her debut as a playback singer with Munna Michael. The singer has lent her voice to Beparwah, which is the finale song of the film. Nandini says that because it’s the finale track, the audience will see Tiger Shroff dance like never before. “We are paying tribute to Michael Jackson through the song. It’s a lengthy dance track and the sound is a blend of modern and western music,” says Nandini.

Creating independent music
Though Nandini is trying to create a niche for herself in playback singing, she is also concentrating on making independent music. “I am working on a mash-up of A R Rahman songs which is not exactly a cover. We have recreated the entire song with a different music, giving it a more modern contemporary sound. We are also trying to bring a unique style of video on television. It should be a visual treat for the audience apart from the music,” says the singer who is working on Bengali songs back home in Kolkata.

She adds that creating independent music gives huge scope to an artist. “It helps you create your own brand and style. Bollywood has a certain way of working which you have to follow while doing playback singing but that doesn’t happen while making independent music,” she says.
Nandini isn’t happy the way cover songs are created here. “Even if it’s a cover, I don’t like the way it’s treated. The motto is to make it sound different without losing the essence,” she says.

Bring pop culture back
Her aim, she says, is to make pop music popular in India. “I love pop music. India needs pop stars. Some 10-12 years ago, there was no scope for pop music because it was washed out. I believe that artists have to be a little more daring. Our duty is to give the audience what we want,” she says, adding, “I love the stage and want to create music that I can perform on stage and the audience can dance to it.” The huge internet market gives singers a lot of scope to display their talent, she believes.

Making big internationally
The singer, who has received the Kalakar Award, for being the youngest performing artist from Pandit Ravi Shankar feels that we need to take our music to the international stage. “There’s a perception that Indian classical music singers cannot sing any other genre just like rappers cannot do anything apart from rapping. But Indian artists have the capability to make it global. We just need to create stuff which the global audience can hear. We need to step up our own boundaries,” she says.

Fan of semi classical
Not many know that Nandini is the great grand daughter of Captain Manorama Devi, the veteran thumri singer. The singer says that more than classical, she is into semi-classical music. “I have learnt semi-classical and like the genre. My great grand mother, on the other hand, had learnt hard core classical. My passion is trying different genres because I want to create lot of music,” she says. She is a big fan of Sunidhi Chauhan who too holds a masters degree in semi-classical music. “Look at Sunidhi, she sings both western and Indian classical,” exclaims Nandini.

Big battle ahead
Despite having no godfather in the industry, Nandini started her journey in Bollywood. “It’s difficult, but I guess, it’s going to be tougher in the future. I think the real battle starts now after my debut. I have worked really hard to get a break in Bollywood,” she tells us. “I belong to a middle-class family from Kolkata but I had the support of my parents.

The morals I got from my parents have helped me survive,” she adds, as she speaks of the difference between the her home city and Mumbai. “The complete work culture between Kolkata and Mumbai is so different. Mumbai is fast and attentive. I am so blessed to be in Mumbai. I have become who I am today because of Mumbai. The people here have helped me to grow,” she says.

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