The following article features a unique interview with an Indian singer -Anwesshaa, who is diving into the world of Indian music with her melody voice.
She is a singer with a distinctive voice and style influenced by India’s classical music and its culture. Here is a link to her YouTube videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYQ2cFNjmgyMdxynhyemoxg
“Anything done with complete involvement and passion takes the one doing the activity to a meditative state. Music as a tool to achieve such a state is powerful.
Uninterrupted Sadhana of Indian classical music can make our racing minds still. Something that chanting OM does to the body and mind. If that stillness, which remains undisturbed by external factors is spirituality, then of course this kind of music is a pathway.
According to me, it is one of the pathways. Even apparently insignificant things such as making tea, when done consistently with intensity, one is bound to be in the present. When the concept of past and future vanishes, one is always alive, present here and now.”
Anwesshaa is a star of the Indian music industry. Listen to Anwessha on Apple Music- https://music.apple.com/us/artist/anwesshaa/1057651397
At the tender age of 14, she made her debut in playback singing in Bollywood & has already made her presence felt in the commercial music arena in Tollywood, Bollywood, and south India.
This musical icon’s melodious and incredible voice has transcended the country’s borders, making her an identifiable figure in America, New Zealand, Bangladesh, and many other countries. She has won many prestigious awards and singing competitions in India.
Q-1. Anwesshaa, you have lent your voice to over 500 films, and you are getting better opportunities in Indian cinemas. In addition, are you considering your own independent identity in a professional setting?
Ans. I’m happy with the kind of music I’m being a part of in Indian cinema in so many languages. For people, my voice is my identity. But lately, a section of my audiences has started knowing me through the music I create, and to them, I’m not only the songs I record for other composers. My purpose behind playing diverse roles was to explore myself as an artist. The creation of an individual identity that is independent of the fame associated with movie songs happened resultantly. That was not a set target.
Q2. You are a songwriter. What is your background in this genre? Did you learn it or was it a gift from God?
Ans – I don’t have a songwriting background. I personally enjoy writing about romance but I’m open to trying all genres.
I never learned writing. No one can learn it. We can learn grammar, the rules of rhyming, etc. But literature and original thoughts need to come naturally. Language and grammar act as a medium of execution. Forget songs! I never thought of myself writing anything, to be frank. It was when I made some melodies and sang them to my parents, they told me to write lyrics on them otherwise they couldn’t become songs. On a skeptical note, I started to get my tunes married to decent poetry. And I haven’t stopped till now. Writing for albums gives me a lot of freedom whereas there are stories, characters, and filmmakers’ likings involved while writing movie songs. I’ve tried both and as a process, it is strangely both painful and pleasurable. After this discovery, neither I label myself and my abilities nor do I think the same about others. Life surprises us.
Q3. Is it truly necessary to have connections to gain access to the Bollywood music industry or regional cinemas if someone wishes to grow their career there?
Ans. 3. It is not necessary, but it definitely helps. Composers got to know about me initially through a television competition. That exposure was a baby step toward becoming an original singer. A music director needs to know me first to give me songs. Having said that, connections alone can’t be a criterion for getting work without talent as a prerequisite. If having just that can make or break careers, then it is unfortunate. And, we cannot escape corruption.
Q4. Your music career brought you many awards. Do you think receiving awards boosts your worth? In your opinion, what is the significance of an award in the life of an artist?
Ans. Awards don’t boost my worth. They boost my motivation level and they come with an added responsibility to work harder.
For an artist, they are the material reflections of one’s creative peaks. They add prestige to one’s profile and haters, if there are any, start taking you seriously. I feel blessed that I have been receiving many such honors from a tender age but it is sad that many incredible works go unnoticed by Award givers even after being acclaimed by the masses. Hence, for me, awards are losing their significance. It seems to be more of a business now.
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Q5. What genres of Indian music would you like to work in forever? Are you interested in adding your own creative flair to any new experiment in Indian music?
Ans. Indian film music has given me a lot and still doing so although it is not a genre in itself. It is a large platform where different styles come, fuse, and showcase themselves. I can divide them into different moods. My personal favorite is romance and further talking of subdivisions, I get attracted to dark romantic songs more. Coming to genres, I would love to work with Indian classical and semiclassical forms such as thumri, Dadra & ghazals. My double version composition Besabri & Swapno Michhil, inspired by Indian Raags got commercially and critically acclaimed. Raag music is a goldmine.
Q6. Can the Indian classical music tradition help cope in the era of increased global stress? What do you think about that, and how can Indian classical music be a technique for mental healing?
Q7. Would you support the view that Indian traditional music is a yogic or spiritual process? If yes, please add your value of thought.
Ans. Anything done with complete involvement and passion takes the one doing the activity to a meditative state. Music as a tool to achieve such a state is powerful. Uninterrupted Sadhana of Indian classical music can make our racing minds still. Something that chanting OM does to the body and mind. If that stillness, which remains undisturbed by external factors is spirituality, then of course this kind of music is a pathway. According to me, it is one of the pathways. Even apparently insignificant things such as making tea, when done consistently with intensity, one is bound to be in the present. When the concept of past and future vanishes, one is always alive, present here and now.
Q8. Are there any messages you want to share with your fans?
My message to listeners is that they must engage with whatever content they are consuming, whether audio or video. Talking of music specifically, disengaged kind of listening is increasing because of exposure to a variety of music on the internet. People have short attention spans and hence pieces of music and art that need some time to grow on us may suffer. My humble request to the audience is that kindly focus when you listen to a song and don’t treat it as a background sound you just pass by. Love, hate, do whatever but don’t be indifferent to content and its makers.
Q9. Please share with us your most proud moments.
- Meeting Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar.
- They are iconic, and I never thought that I meet them in person.
- • Working with Ismail Darbar and AR Rahman. Those are my dream come true moments. It is an honor to sing for them.
- • Meeting Abhishek Ray. I knew him through his music in “Paan Singh Tomar” & “Saheb Biwi Aur gangster”. I’ve been a part of his independent music also. He bought a barren hill and turned it into a forest which is known as Sitabani wildlife reserve now. I’m super proud to be associated with someone who, being in Showbiz, has such a sensitive side to himself. Most are busy extracting resources from the planet. Thankfully there are a few like him also, who want to give back to the earth what she originally had.
- Film (new productions) Music Director – Himesh Reshammiya
- Film (new productions) Music Director – Toshi-Sharib
- Malhar: Satish Chakravarthy
- Dhoop Chaaav: Amitabh Ranjan
- Several regional movies
Read more about India’s music here- https://journals-times.com/2022/07/18/there-is-a-need-for-indian-music-as-a-therapeutic-tool-in-the-mental-health-sector/: Anwesshaa-“India’s classical music is a powerful tool to promote a peaceful state of mind.”
Thumri is the most important “light classical” genre of North Indian Classical music. It is performed in many contexts, from the sphere of dance, to the vocal concert stage, to performance on instruments. The reason behind calling Thumri light classical are many and varied. One of the prime reasons is that the melodies are not always composed in a Raaga and the may break the rules in singing those that are. It has also been suggested that simpler talas and less weighty raagas are used for thumri.
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