New musical sensation

budding talent

New musical sensation

The hit song Pareshaan from Ishaaqzade, Daru Desi from Cocktail and Aga Bai from Aiyya have a common voice. That of 22-year-old Shalmali Kholgade — the newest singer on the block to have scored a hat trick of hits on debut.

Looking back at her early days, she reminisces, “I come from quite a musical family. Every other person in my family can either sing or sing really well. My mother taught Indian classical for almost 12 years. So I had the added bonus of being tutored at home.

Though I must admit, I didn’t pay as much attention. My brother, who is eight years older than me, was more drawn towards western pop, rock, country bands, like Queen, Michael Jackson and Phil Collins.

As a result, I ended up listening to and singing English songs as well. Up until the 10th standard, I knew I would either act, dance, sing or paint for life. Then by the 12th, I wanted to act or sing. By the time I finished three years of college, I was certain I wanted to sing.”

What hit the spot for her was the day of the finals of solo singing at Malhar, when she sang Desperado by the Eagles — “I had one accompanist on the guitar. I remember how fulfilling it was to hit that last note.

I held it long enough to just hold on to that moment as long as I could. When I opened my eyes and walked off the stage, I didn’t even wait to hear the results, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she says.

One week after she had sent two vocal demos to the LA Music Academy where she had applied to do a course in Vocal Performance, she got a call from her friend Anjo John, who used to then work with Amit Trivedi, and who also was on the lookout for a fresh voice.

“I had no option but to send my LA Music Academy demos to Amit Trivedi. I expected nothing to come of it, given that they were English songs. But to my surprise, I got a call on the same day from Amit, asking if I could come to the studio.

I landed at his studio that night and he made me sing the hook line of Pareshaan with some dummy lyrics and the day after that, we began recording the song. Throughout the waiting period, before the song released, I was told every now and then by Amit that Pareshaan is going to be a hit, but I just thought he was being nice to me because I was new to Bollywood.

But to my surprise, the song was so well received on the first day itself. In days, the song got so many hits on YouTube and I began getting so many likes on Facebook. It was all so overwhelming,” she says.

For someone who never intended to become a Bollywood playback singer, she is all set to stay put. “I must say, I have met the most wonderful people in the industry who have supported and encouraged me through all this time. I consider myself very lucky for the opportunities presented to me by these people and the fruitful outcomes of the songs I’ve sung so far,” says the youngster, who is open to trying different kinds of songs.

She also intends to slowly diversify her vocal portfolio and do different kinds of music, apart from Bollywood. Sunidhi Chauhan and Arijit Singh are the favourites of this singer who also plays the guitar and is a trained Kathak dancer.

She is also working on her solo album that self admittedly has no deadline and which she will release only once she is completely satisfied with it. All her current dreams are of performing to a huge audience on stage and she wants to work with big productions and create a spectacle for the audience. Here is wishing this new talent the very best.

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