'I loved being in the spotlight'

'I loved being in the spotlight'

Rising star

'I loved being in the spotlight'

Amrapali Shinde may be just 20 but she displays a rare maturity and earnestness, especially when it comes to music. From having sung Basava’s ‘Vachanas’ in folk rock at the age of 15 to appearing in the first season of ‘The Voice India’ to opening for Arijit Singh, Amrapali has done it all.

Having recently performed at Windsor Pub, she talks to Rajitha Menon about the past, present and future.

When did you realise that you wanted to be a singer?
I belong to a very artistic family. Everyone was always associated with one art or the other but never professionally. I started singing at the age of five and entertained guests. I gave my first stage performance at 13 and realised this was my calling. I just loved being in the spotlight.

How would you describe your music?
Soulful. I have a deep voice and people tend to think that it is suited for fast numbers. But this voice gives  soulful melodies a different feel.

Have you faced any challenges in this field?
I think this field is one that requires a lot of patience. I had to drop out of college because I had attendance issues while performing in ‘The Voice’. But that is nothing compared to the struggles some people faced.

So what's your backup plan?
A lot of people ask me this. I don't have a backup plan because the minute you have that, music becomes an option. I have to make music work 100 percent because that's my only plan.

Is it difficult to be an artiste in today's times?
In some ways, today’s generation has it easy but otherwise, yes. Social media plays a big role and one can you anything one wants. But you have to be the whole package — you should know singing, performing, marketing and so on. And money is a big factor these days.

Who is your inspiration?
Adele. My music is similar to hers and I can relate to the person she is too. I also look up to Nikhil D’Souza in Bollywood.

Is it difficult for an outsider to get a footing in Bollywood?
Definitely but it's a combination of many factors like luck, networking and how different you are. I have been going to Mumbai around 3-4 times per year since 2014 to source contacts. I know people who made it big in a few months as well as those who have been struggling for years.

What are some of the crazy reactions you have got?
Once after a performance, a guy came up to me and asked me to marry him. I pointed out my parents sitting in the audience and he actually went and spoke to them for two hours, trying to convince them to let him marry me.

Another time a lady came up to me after I opened for Arijit Singh and said that my voice gave her goosebumps. So touched was she that she kept crying during the performance.

Future plans?
I have never learnt music formally. I can sing complex stuff but unless my basics are rock solid, I will find it difficult to carve my place in the industry. I have applied to some music schools in Europe. I want to perfect myself and then move to Mumbai.