I t was around 10 p.m. when singer Shreya Ghoshal finally became free for an interview. Despite her long hours of work, the singer sounded absolutely relaxed. And for a change Shreya wasn’t busy singing, she was shooting for some new promos. With ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and the track ‘Mashallah’ hitting the charts, the singer is quite pleased with her work. Shreya says she is looking forward to her tour in the south. No sooner had she floored the nation with her ‘ eesshhh tsk tsk tsk ’ in ‘Devdas’ , Shreya Ghoshal became the most sought-after singer in the industry. The National Award winner is sought after in regional languages as well.
What keeps you busy other than singing?
Music, TV shows and more singing. When I am not recording I will be doing live shows or be home catching up on shows which I regularly follow. I also love watching the latest seasons of English shows. But there will always be some music around me. I love the idea of waking up to a song. It could be any song.
Have you seen any changes in the industry since you began your career?
A lot has changed and it is for the good. The quality of music has improved and the industry is seeing a lot of new talent. What is amazing is the importance which regional music is being given. It proves that music knows no boundaries.
Talking of regional music, how comfortable are you singing in languages other than Hindi and Bengali?
I learnt to sing in Bengali, then went on to sing in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati and every possible Indian language. My first Telugu song was for music director Mani Sharma in the Gunasekhar-directed Okkadu.
The film was produced by M.S. Raju and was released in 2003. The first song was ‘Nuvvemmaya Chesavo Kaani’ and the song became quite a rage. In fact I sang for the Tamil industry even before I started singing in Hindi. During my ‘Sa re ga ma pa’ days as a contestant I was practising in the long corridors of the Mahalakshmi studios and Karthik Raja heard me. I was a kid and my voice was yet to mature then, so he would make me sing alaaps for his compositions. Regional work excites me as the industry is less commercial.
How do you manage to sing in regional languages without understanding the meaning?
Yes, in the beginning I used to think understanding the lyrics is better to emote. But music director Illayaraja sir corrected me when I was singing for him. He said, ‘Go as the song goes. If you want to understand and emote as you sing, you will only spoil the flavour and kill the innocence of the musical experience for the listeners.’
Are you pro-regional music?
Totally. Like I said earlier regional work excites me and that’s because of the folk music which one hardly get to hear. That’s the sound people are waiting to listen to in reality.
How would you compare the yesteryear music with the music of today?
Music to me is always good. A lot has changed since the 60s. That was the time when any music was rarely mediocre and the change has been gradual. That was the time when people were patient and waited in excitement for a new song or a new composition. The present industry is hard-pressed for time. There is a constant demand for music and the industry has to make supply possible. While that’s leaving many musicians confused, there are others who are able to impress the audience. One thing is for sure, synthetic music of today cannot match the rustic classical music. Music has to feel the influence of time.
Is there any one place where you can do without music?
I need my music even when I am taking a shower.
Any regret of not singing a song which you enjoy listening to?
If I like a song then I like it in totality and wouldn’t think I can do better justice to it.
What do you prefer? A live performance or a studio recording?
Live performance. A studio is like a meditation room where music is created. And a live performance is the place where the creation of the studio is taken ahead. I love both.
PRABALIKA M. BORAH
Go as the song goes. If you want to emote as you sing, you will only spoil the flavour and kill the innocence of the musical experience for the listeners
thehindu.com – August 21, 2012