This is voice behind our much-loved party anthems like Saturday Saturday and love songs like Khuda Ya khair. Singer Akriti Kakkar takes us through her musical journey so far and talks about her future projects.
The journey so far…
I started off with music when I was around four-and-a-half years old (thanks to my parents for identifying the talent). The benchmark then used to be Sa Re Ga Ma Pa for all singers. I won the final for children’s special. But, none of those roads led to Bollywood. However, the competitions then gave my family and me a reason and motivation to come to Mumbai, and give it a shot for playback singing. We reached Mumbai after receiving my board exam results, and it wasn’t as easy as expected. Financially and morally, it was challenging as could be. I was doing opening acts for big artistes so that was a big relief where I could directly speak to a few receptive ones from them. After relentlessly calling music composers, finally Vishal and Shekhar were the ones who gave me my debut song in Dus namely Chham Se. After that, I got to work with Himesh Reshammiya, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Pritam Da.
Why more of the peppy numbers?
Oh well, that’s something that’s not a matter of choice! I’m honestly someone who doesn’t like to even go to clubs to party (she laughs). I love exploring all genres. While Saturday Saturday, Marjaani have happened to me, so has an Abhi Abhi from Jism 2 & Khuda Ya Khair from Billu. So, touchwood, I have been able to sing right from typically commercial Bollywood types to a slow rock Johnny Gaddar to Iski Uski.
What’s in the pipeline?
2018 has already seen a lot of my own renditions of my favourite tracks on my YouTube channel. It’s a conscious effort I’m making to put out content and songs of my own that I know my listeners and fans constantly demand from me. So, that’s where my focus is going to be. Meanwhile, on television, there are a few interesting opportunities lined up and also there are international concert tours lined up. And I will be performing in as well as hosting Gaana music festival in San Francisco on May 19 and 20.
I’ve grown up watching and admiring Madhuri Dixit ji! I’d be so honoured to sing for her character in a movie. I’m a huge fan of Rekha ji as well; it’ll be amazing to just watch her face and my voice. That’ll be like a dream come true. When it comes to composers, I’m a huge fan of Rahman sir, Illaiya Raja sir, Vishal Bhardwaj. Hope I check them all off on my bucket list!
My favourite singer is and will always be Lata ji and Kishore Da! They’re such legends, just hearing them one learns so much! Also, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saab’s music really inspires me. On the international scenario, I love John Mayer, Norah Jones, Ed Sheeran, Adele and many more.
Singer, dancer and what else?
I won’t call myself a good dancer; I’m just about okay at it! I manage to groove around onstage while I’m performing just for the sheer thrill I get playing live on stage for audiences. There’s no greater joy for me. The only other few things that make my world go round are ‘mad honest pure’ love, family, travel and food!
Was it always music?
Since the time I knew that our life needs an aim, it was music. I knew nothing else and come to think of it. I knew music is all I wanted to do.