Best known for her tracks such as ‘Jugni’, ‘Baby Doll’ and ‘Chittiyan Kalliyan’, Kanika Kapoor took Bollywood by storm in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since.
The talented singer, who performs at Yas Mega Mela on October 31, which takes places at the du Arena on Yas Island, talks to Gulf News tabloid! about her upcoming gig and her years in Bollywood.
What can we expect from your concert in Abu Dhabi and how do you prepare for something so big?
For the last six months, we have been preparing for a new concert for the public and we are very excited to present it at Yas Mega Mela. It is going to be a mixture of the 80s, 90s and 00s. It will be a great mixture of my songs and a mash-up of the great songs from the last three decades.
How has your journey been in the Bollywood music scene and how difficult was it to crack the big league?
The journey overall was beautiful and positive. Yes, it has been a struggle initially as it is for anyone in any job and I have worked very hard and worked my best. I have had some great experiences working through this beautiful journey. There is a lot more in the bag and it is going to be unfolding very soon.
Which has been the most challenging song of your career?
The most challenging song for me was ‘Da Da Dasse’ from ‘Udta Punjab’ with Amit Trivedi ji. As easy as it may sound, it was a very difficult and dark song and had to be sung in a certain way as it represented the whole movie.
‘Baby Doll’ put you on the music map. Did you expect it to be such a big hit? How did the iconic chart topper happen?
When ‘Baby Doll’ was being created, I certainly didn’t think that it was going to such a big iconic chartbuster and a song that will then become [immortal], and it will be living with me for the rest of my life and generations to come. Yes, when the song came out and I started seeing the people, the nation going crazy over it, it was a great deal for me and I feel it was my luck and God looking after [me].
Do you ever question the lyrics of the songs that you are offered? ‘Chittiyan Kalaiyan’ was popular but it came under criticism for its racist undertones and propagating India’s obsession with fair skin? Your thoughts?
‘Chittiyan Kalaiyan’ was not made with the intention of putting anyone down. It was just a thought and it was a beautiful song too.
If you could analyse your own hits, which song is your favourite and which song would you want to re-do again?
Out of my own songs, my favourite is ‘Chittiyan Kaliyan’ because I love the melody, it does something to me even today when I sing it. No, I would never want to redo it.
What’s your current song — not necessarily sung by you — that’s playing in your head on a loop?
‘Lamberghini’ — it is a very cool song and I think it is very well put together.
What’s your idea of a perfect song and what do you think are your biggest strengths as a singer?
I wouldn’t say just one song, but songs like ‘Do Naina Ek Kahaani’ from the movie ‘Masoom’, ‘Ek Pyaar ka Naghma Hai’ are complete songs because they have so much emotion and melody. There is so much more to the song than what we hear. The strength of a singer is to emote a whole idea or a thought through a song and to be able to touch a person.
What is your advice to musicians out there?
My advice to musicians and myself is to practice more, to spend more time with ourselves, to do more breathing exercises, meditate and stay calm so that we can sing better and connect better.
How do you prepare before recording a song?
The best thing to do before you record a song is to just sleep — sleep for like 10 hours — and not speak and then just do some vocal and breathing practice.
Who’s the composer that you work with beautifully?
I loved my collaboration with Amit Trivedi. I love making music with all different music directors. Of course I have my favourites — Meet Brothers, we connect really well. I like working with so many other people, Pritam da would be someone I would love to work more with.
Whose music did you grow up listening to and what was your most memorable concert?
Growing up, the concerts that I watched the most was Anup Jalota ji and I loved the way he used to connect with the public and actually recite a story whilst he was singing. It had a huge impact on me and I think when I perform today, I do something very similar. So, that has had a huge impression on me since I was a child.
If you were to choose a song for the following occasions from your repertoire of hits or otherwise, what would it be…
- First date: ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ (‘Kabhi Kabhi’)
- First wedding dance: ‘Mehendi Hai Rachne Wali’ (‘Zubeidaa’)
- For your funeral: ‘Aane Wala Pal Jaane Wala Hai’
- For drive-along song on a road trip: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs
Don’t miss it!
Kanika Kapoor performs on October 31 at the Yas Mega Mela, which runs from October 31 to November 2 at du Arena, Yas Island. The event runs from 4-11pm on day one; from 2-11pm on the day two and from 2-10pm on day three. Tickets start at Dh20. VIP tickets are priced at Dh75. Kids under the age of 16 go free. Tickets are on sale now Yasmegamela.ae