Singing tunes of success

Singing tunes of success

Singing tunes of success
From singing with her father at music events to being the choice of Bollywood music composers, it could well be said that Jonita Gandhi has got on the train, baby! “Ha ha! Yes, that debut line of mine is quite unforgettable, isn’t it?” asks the Canadian singer of Indian origin.

She made her Bollywood debut in 2013 with the title track of Chennai Express, and Jonita confesses it was sheer good luck. “It was a case of being at the right place at the right time. I was supposed to visit India, and I let my friend, who used to work with (composers) Vishal-Shekhar, know about it. He asked me to meet up, but when I went there, it was disappointing because neither of them was present,” says Jonita. Quite unexpectedly, Vishal came to the studio and seeing Jonita there asked her to sing a bit for a song. That was THE song that gave her her first break, and Jonita hasn’t quite looked back after that.

She rightly credits her YouTube following for her current popularity. When just 21, Jonita had shot enough videos from the basement of her house in Canada belting out cover versions to have a dedicated band of followers giving her the encouragement she needed. “I have a lot to thank for – social media, YouTube the most. If I hadn’t made those videos, and they wouldn’t have reached out to so many by going viral, I think I would have been somewhere else altogether! The good thing was that when I stepped into India for playback, people already knew who I was, and if not, I could show them my work,” she adds.

Her second song was with A R Rahman – ‘Kahaan Hoon Main’ from the film Highway. And it’s a song closest to her heart. “Oh God! I was blown away by that song. It was so me trying to find where I am. That song resonated with my state of mind and it was beautifully shot. It is my favourite song, at least till date,” she says.

Since then, it has been one chartbuster after the other, with last year being especially big for her. ‘The Breakup Song’ (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil), ‘PINK Anthem’ (Pink), ‘Sau Tarah Ke’ (Dishoom) and ‘Gilehriyaan’ (Dangal) have given her a good mix of party and soulful numbers. This year too, her songs from Ok Jaanu and Meri Pyaari Bindu did well. “I am glad composers see me as versatile. With the kind of competition staring us in the face, it’s very difficult to ensure you keep ahead. Youhave to constantly think of innovating and giving more range to your voice,” she says.

The versatility of this crooner also spreads across languages. Jonita sings in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Kannada. “I have got really sweet composers on my songs and so we manage to put up great songs. I am amazed too!”

Right now, she is excited about one of her most interesting assignments. She has been signed on to sing for a Marathi movie along with her mentor – Sonu Nigam! The two will recreate the magic of the 60s with the song ‘Affoo Khuda’ from Jab Jab Phool Khile. The senior performer had introduced Jonita to the stage and to professional singing. “Performing on stage is a completely different ball game. It’s very challenging. You don’t have to be only a singer. You have to be an all-round performer to hit a chord with the audience.”

So, what’s in her kitty right now? Movies definitely, Jonita says, besides adding she would like to cut some singles now, reminiscent of her earlier YouTube days. “It’s my first love!” she quips.
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