New Delhi based popular playback singer Vidhi Sharma performed for Khazana festival in Mumbai in aid of cancer patients. Excerpts from the interview...
Is music hereditary or your personal choice?
- Music has been a gift of life. It has been both a hereditary as well as a personal choice.
When did you decide to become a professional singer?
- Music came very naturally to me as I was born with musical sounds around me. My father would play the harmonium and sing, it used to touch my heart in a big way. Children my age would usually mumble words but I would sing at the tender age of two and a half, three years. Since I come from an educational family, music was never supposed to be pursued professionally.
A couple of incidents happening by chance changed my life decision. I decided on becoming a professional singer only after completing my education - Masters in Psychology from Delhi University. Then came a contest - "Sing with A R Rahman" by Fever FM 104, I ended up being a finalist, and recorded at Rahman Sir's studio in front of him. On the flight back to Delhi, I had made up my mind to take up singing professionally.
What are the qualities necessary to become a brilliant singer?
- Professional training in music is the first and foremost rule. A singer has to be professionally trained even if the music training is for a few weeks or months or years. To understand the capability of one's voice and selecting music style accordingly makes for a great singer. One should not try to imitate others but develop one's own style of singing.
One should be very observant - learning from fellow artists and seniors and imbibing them in one's performances and renditions goes a long way in becoming a great artist. Confidence, perseverance, patience and a heart filled with love and warmth make the artist a legend. The journey of becoming a brilliant singer is endless and is a journey of self-realisation!
Which are the films that you have sung for and which particular song is close to your heart?
- I have sung in films like Paan Singh Tomar, Dum Maaro Dum, Listen Amaya, Rabba Main Kya Karoon, Bunkar and A Strange Smile (short films on YouTube), etc. The title song of Rabba Main Kya Karoon is closest to my heart as it was a fan moment for me to sing for my most favourite music director duo - Salim- Sulaiman for this film. The composition is suited my voice the best and it has a Sufi flavour that is closest to the kind of music I personally work on.
Your experience in singing for the Khazana fest in Mumbai?
- Singing in Khazana is a milestone memory in my career. A dream of singing at Khazana was being harboured since the past 8 years. The kind of warmth and welcome I got from the entire team, especially the graciousness and humility of the legends Padmashri Anup Jalota ji and Padmashri Pankaj Udhas ji was so touching. Also, sharing the stage with these legends and some of the finest playback singers of our country was thrilling and I am extremely honoured to be a part of Khazana.
What makes Khazana even more special is that music is for a cause - all the proceedings from this two-day ghazal extravaganza are used for the treatment of Thalassemic children and cancer patients. With no artists charging a professional fee, it creates a sense of responsibility for us to give back the love and warmth that we receive from our esteemed audience by serving our society. It was indeed, special and a huge honour to be part of the biggest ghazal festival for a cause.
A most memorable experience in your life?
- When I won the title of Bhakti Ki Awaaz on Zee TV and was awarded the title by Padamshri Anup Jalota ji, Padmashri Jagjit Singh ji and Padmashri Kailash Kher. A single episode talent hunt that did NOT have audience voting, I got selected in top four only through these judges' verdict, with amazing talents across the country as my competitors, thereby ultimately WINNING the title! The feeling still gives me goosebumps.
Any unusual experience while performing?
- My ‘Bhor Bhayi Ambe Maa Aarti’ has gone viral and has more than 5 million views. Once at a concert in India, I had to sing the aarti seven times for my audience on demand! It was unusual and really heart-warming as well!
What concerns you the most while singing, the lyrics, music, melody or the emotion?
- For me, lyrics are of utmost importance. Music has no meaning if there are no lyrics. Lyrics add emotion, have a hidden melody in the rhyme in which they are written and subsequently, the music is decided. Lyrics decide the rendition, the vocal delivery of the words, the emotion, modulation on certain words. It becomes a medium of communication and reaches the heart of the listener ultimately!