New Delhi: Noted Indian singer Neeti Mohan says that uniqueness and freshness are two important qualities that she looks for in a singer, besides good singing.
Neeti is judging the third season of the ‘Smule Mirchi Cover Star’, a digital singing contest which aims to find fresh singing sensations. Excerpt from an IANSlife interview with the singer:
For many, a lot of their time in lockdown was spent in unwinding and relaxing. Does some time off help in a field like music?
Neeti: Yes, unwinding and relaxing was probably needed and necessary for all of us, and now that everyone has had almost nine months of relaxation, a lot of us have resumed work. In the field of music and the creative arts, it’s very important to be relaxed, and to be connected to your breath and your mind, to your body and soul.
It is a very creative process to be singing, you have to be so into the moment and feel the lyrics, to express that with a lot of feeling, gratitude and grace. Once you are relaxed, soothing tones starts emerging.
How did you stay connected to music during this time?
Neeti: I am connected to music all the time, be it waking up or going to sleep. I have to listen to classical music in the morning because that’s what sets my day. For the rest of it, I’m working on songs that I am recording or learning for my concerts. At night, I love listening to either ghazals or jazz music.
You’re judging the ‘Smule Mirchi Cover Star’ Season 3, what are your expectations from fresh talent? Apart from the virtues of good singing, what other qualities go in the making of a successful singer?
Neeti: Very happy to be judging ‘Smule Mirchi Cover Star’ Season 3. My expectations are really high from fresh talent. I’m looking for a lot of freshness, young voices that are going to enjoy themselves.
Apart from good singing, I’m looking for a lot of originality, technical training, and for someone who exhibits his or her own personality into the song being sung. Be it an old song from Lataji or a Sonu Nigam song, even an Arijit Singh song, I’d love to see how they feel about it, how they interpret it, and how they communicate it to us. When one becomes a professional, you need to be able to bring something unique, something only you bring. That is very important.
Compared to a few years ago, do you think it’s now easier for hidden talent to get noticed?
Neeti: Yes, I agree. Thanks to reality shows first of all, people like me and my sisters could get discovered and start our careers, and we could choose to be artistes and remaining artistes all our lives.
This is the digital era and everyone is running their own show from their living rooms. From the comfort of your homes, you can have your own YouTube channel, home studios. You can create record, shoot music videos on your own and put it out there, for people to notice you. Put your music out there, the world is listening.
How did you discover your own voice? what was it like initially?
Neeti: For me, I was drawn to music since I was a little girl, and I always found myself humming whatever I was listening to, learning the songs quickly and singing while I was in the shower or in a school/college competition.
It was a serious hobby for me to make songs, I used to write lyrics in my diary, I used to love learning semi-classical songs by Lata (Mangeshkar) ji. I remember learning them so clearly, that they shaped my childhood. They made me very serious and respectful towards music. When my parents discovered that I took interest in learning, performing and trying to be perfect, they put me on to training.