High on musical notes

Rising star

After featuring in numerous Bollywood movies and some singing stints, singer and actress Monica Dogra recently came up with her solo album ‘Spit’. The nine track album is a collaboration of music producers like Robot Koch (Germany), Prash Mistry (UK) and Gaurav Raina a.k.a. Grain (India) a Delhi-based producer, among others. In a conversation with Metrolife, the Dhobi Ghat actress, who started writing music through slam poetry in smoky NYC bars, talks more about the project, her music and acting stint.

Excerpts:

Tell us more about your album ‘Spit’. Why is it called so?

While writing this album, I realised the word ‘spit’ kept coming up in my writing.  For me it’s a provocative word, it makes people think... sometimes of negative things... but sometimes of beautiful things — like how we kiss, how we taste, how we ingest.  I remembered that I began writing music by virtue of open mics.  In those days, I wouldn’t think, I’d just step up to a mic and spit.  I wouldn’t censor myself.  I wanted to be that brave with this record.   

How did you come up with this project?

I just wanted to write a solo album.  I’ve written with so many people over the years.  It was now time for me to connect back to myself.
 
What is music to you?

Everything, God.

What do you prefer — singing or acting?

I get this question so often that it confuses me.  I don’t know why people think that they ought to be separated and chosen from.  In fact, as far back as language goes, there is historical documentation that performance art is completely intertwined.  It is important to study acting if you are a singer, and study singing if you are an actor.... as well as body movement... dance. 

Any actor you want to lend your voice to?

Not really!

How was the experience of working with Himesh Reshamiya in Terra Suroor?

Himesh was always very kind to me.  He didn’t have to, but he took the time to ask me about my art, about my music.  He’s really a nice person and extremely hard working.  He is formulaic and rigidly precise.  I have never worked in a massively viable film such as this, and I went into it with a completely open mind.  I learned a lot.  I also got the chance to share screen space with Shekhar Kapur, who I had written some music with in the past.  We would swap stories and poetic anecdotes.  Undoubtedly, it was an incredible opportunity.  I’m happy I did it.  

Tell us about your role in the movie.

I play a criminal justice lawyer.  That’s all I can really say right now.

How easy or difficult it is to make a mark in the singing and acting industry in India?

I think with some hard work and perseverance, anyone, anywhere, can do anything.  Just never take no for an answer.  

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in life?

Everyone is just trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got... it’s best to
hold on to love and let go of the rest.

Your inspiration?

Life and all of its bends, twists, and surprises.

What next?
I plan on going home to visit my family soon.  That’s what’s next!

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