Super talented singers like Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal are not being heard in Bollywood films so often? Have the singers, who were such an integral part of the film industry for more than two decades or so, become choosy about their work? Or aren’t they being offered good projects?
The melody queen of Bollywood Shreya laments that she’s not getting the right kind of songs these days. “I am getting a mix of great and mediocre songs. A song needs to be exciting enough to be great and heard. The day I record an exceptional song, I know that when it’s out, it will make a mark. I am singing a lot of songs but I know a lot of them will fizzle out because they are not great music or the film isn’t that great.
There are too many combinations for a song to work,” she says adding that music labels support certain kind of songs and films.
Fun creating own music
Shreya recently launched her single — Dhadkane Azad Hain, composed by Deepak Pandit and written by Manoj Muntashir. The song’s video has been directed by Parasher Baruah. This is for the first time that Shreya has sung, produced and featured in a music video.
She says, “This is my first attempt in creating independent music, which is free of any film or music label. It’s purely for my fans, so they can have access to it on my YouTube channel. It was fun creating my own music.”
Shreya, who has given several hits like Silsila Ye Chahat Ka, Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai, Foolishq, Mohe Rang Do Laal, among others, however, is not the first singer to venture into independent music. Her contemporaries including Shaan, Sonu and Sunidhi have all ventured into indie music.
Ask Shreya why she felt the need to make indie music and she says, “There’s always this point in life when you think, ‘What’s next?’ All these years, I have been doing film music predominantly, be it Hindi or other languages, and I get a lot of joy doing different kinds of music. But when you are doing film music, you have that one kind of storyline and attachments with the film, so sometimes you cannot do the kind of music you want to do. I want to do music without worrying about anything else and it’s that independence that I want to enjoy. So, I think this is the right time to do and I will do more such music in the future.”
Why go independent
Lately, Bollywood has been churning out similar kind of music. One either gets to hear remakes, slow tracks or party numbers. The talented singer says that creative dissatisfaction was also one of the reasons for her to foray into independent music.
“Those making film songs have certain kind of fears or insecurities so they keep making blockbuster tracks, songs that will get a billion hits in a certain number of days or a party rocker which will draw the audience to the theatre. But there is no real support to the belief that music should be more driven by passion and not numbers and commercial success. Not too many amazing songs are happening and even if they are making an amazing song, it’s mostly for a film, which again needs to be promoted well so that the song reaches a larger audience. Luck here plays a very big role because singers have to get those kind of songs. But I think things will change.”
Shreya believes that the era of indie pop should return and playback singers should also try their hand at creating indie music. “The music they create are their own expressions and shows who you are. Also, those who follow Indian films know about playback singers. Abroad there’s no concept of playback singing and it sounds bizarre to them. For them, an artist is an artist,” she adds.
Create something extraordinary
Bollywood today is flooded with singers. This sometimes leaves the listeners perplexed because they lose track of the number of singers making their debut every now and then.
But Shreya says that the emerging talent shouldn’t be a problem. “As long as singers have a unique identity or a distinct voice, it’s absolutely fine. If you have good talent, it should be promoted. But that’s not happening. Often, the voices sound repetitive, monotonous and not so great. We are making music very casually. The songs they sing are aggressively promoted because of which they run for two weeks and then die out.”
For singers to survive, they need to make a mark. “Even a blockbuster song is a combination of a great voice, composition, meaningful lyrics and some production values. The heart is missing and this is not a very healthy atmosphere. I am saying this in spite of the fact that I, myself, have sung songs which I am not very proud of. At the end of the day, we need to create something extraordinary and new, which will reach the heart of the people.”
She says that even though she knows that she is not singing a great song she still tries to enjoy the process so that it shows in the song.