Shreya Ghoshal artistry
Shreya Ghoshal influences
One of Ghoshal’s earliest musical memories is listening to her mother, Sarmistha Ghoshal, singing classical Bengali songs at clubs. As a very young child, she was introduced to music by her mother, whom she refers as her first “guru”. She states that her mother is her best critic.
Ghoshal has acknowledged K S Chitra, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Ilaiyaraaja and Mukesh as her inspirations. She has also named Jagjit Singh as her inspiration to perform songs in the genre of Ghazal.
Shreya Ghoshal voice
Ghoshal has performed songs with a lower vocal range. However, Metro Times calls her voice a “sweet and smokey soprano”. Her voice has been described as “sweet” with “slight huskiness”. In an interview, Ghoshal noted that her voice has transformed from the “girlish tenor” of the earlier days to a more matured texture. Her voice is characterized in the media for being most suitable for higher-pitched renditions, although some critics have said that her voice tends to screech when she reaches a higher note of scale. Similarly, in the book Confession of a Coward – an Indian Adventure, it was stated that Ghoshal’s high-pitched vocals are interesting and impressive, but “certainly take some time getting used to it”. Ghoshal has voiced against correcting pitch with Auto-Tune. About her singing and rehearsing style, she has said, “I have a special way of writing the lyrics when it is dictated to me. No matter what the language of the song, even if it is Bengali, I write it in Hindi. I have certain notations and markings to indicate the way it should be pronounced. I feel the Devanagari script is the closest to the phonetics of the language. English letters are not very good for that purpose. Moreover, I listen carefully and try to grasp as much as possible when the lyrics are read to me”.
What makes Ghoshal remarkable among her contemporaries, according to The Indian Express is, the “serenity in her voice” and the “enviable range”. Further complimenting her versatile vocal range, they noted: “The honey-dipped inflection of (her voice), which once put in the recording studio, can turn into naughty, sensuous, serious, sad, comic and pure classical, depending on the requirement of the job”. Naming her as the “most versatile singer of this generation”, India West remarked the smoothness of her voice when flowing from “lower registers to higher notes”. According to The Times of India, Ghoshal maintains the “touch of versatility” with her music by singing different style of songs from classical to pure commercial music. In 2003, Ghoshal admitted that she modulates her voice well, hence “none of the music directors have yet been able to label me”.
Ghoshal took vocal lessons and did workshops with Kalyanji Virji Shah, where she learnt the technique about “throw of voice, straight notes, vibratos”. She considers classical music training as an asset in playback since it “keeps one’s voice fit and fresh”. Music director Shekhar Ravjiani praised Ghoshal for her singing versatility. According to Sonu Nigam, the best quality about Ghoshal is that the expressions come perfectly along with mannerisms. Music director and singer M. Jayachandran praised Ghoshal by saying, “It is amazing how she writes down the lyrics in Hindi and then gives her signature nuanced expressions to Malayalam words”. During her interviews, Ghoshal mentioned, “I cannot sing double meaning songs or the songs which have vulgar lyrics”.
Shreya Ghoshal popularity
Ghoshal’s work has been praised by music directors Ankit Tiwari, Jeet Gannguli, Ghoshal’s contemporary singers Papon, Palak Muchhal, Sukhwinder Singh, Bombay Jayashri, Javed Ali, Neha Kakkar, Richa Sharma, singers Ghulam Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Asrar, A cappella band Penn Masala, film actress Dia Mirza, cricketer MS Dhoni. Film makers Vishal Bharadwaj, Karan Johar, and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, have picked Ghoshal as the best female singer from the generation. Canadian singer Nesdi Jones, UK singer Roma Sagar, British Indian singer Tripet Garielle, Ananya Nanda, mentioned Ghoshal as their inspiration.
Usha Uthup named her among the “voice for the future”. Veteran singers Vani Jairam and Manna Dey has praised her musical abilities. Senior singers Alka Yagnik, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, Hemlata, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Kumar Sanu, also picked Ghoshal as the best female singer from the generation. Sonu Nigam mentioned Ghoshal as his favourite singer: “If there’ll be best all-time singers, Shreya will surely be included among them”. Asjad Nazir, the editor of Eastern Eye called her undisputed queen of playback singing.