Aakriti Kakkar has carved a niche for herself in the industry with her melodious voice. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, she opens up about her early days in showbiz, her father quitting his business to support his dreams, and how she’s sure to stand out in the music industry. She also opened up about her bond with sisters Sukriti Kakkar and Prakriti Kakkar. Part:
You were recently the judge of Zee Bangla ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’. How was the experience? The feeling is always heavy. I also judged ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ on Zee Bangla seven years ago. And I realized that one of the major things that is still alive is an artist’s hunger to be the best. We live in an era where one needs to constantly innovate, and in reality shows, the hunger and passion to get better with every performance counts for a lot. Singing in front of a live/studio audience can be very exciting. Does it still give you goosebumps?
Trust me it does. On one hand, I was a judge, and on the other, I was contesting with Shaan as a professional team captain in the Pro Music League. I think that’s probably the real mark of an artist, when you get nervous even at the last minute. Sometimes that complete nervousness gives me a boost and motivates me to perform better.
Looking back, what has been your biggest gain from the music industry?
This is a creative industry, therefore, it is very important to stay grounded and not let fame mess with your head. I think the biggest way is to know where ambition turns into over-ambition. I haven’t worked with everyone on my bucket list, but the work I’ve done is great. I just want to take my time and discover new things, and keep learning to fly.
What is your creative process?
If I’m singing something that someone else has composed, I usually stick with it for a while so that I can absorb it and it becomes part of my system. I just can’t get on the mic and sing it within 30 minutes. Also, when I record or sing in the studio, I avoid watching the song. I sing it with my heart. It is very important to feel the song you sing.
What obstacles did you face when you decided to pursue a career in music?
I started at a time when there was no social media or reality shows. I wanted to move to Bollywood Mumbai and make my career; Initially, I wanted to be a pop star, because the indie-pop landscape really attracted me. I finished my schooling and 12th class exams and took a train to Bollywood Mumbai with my father. My dad had closed his business because he wanted to come and support my dreams. We used to call people from the yellow pages; Very few people answered and really wanted to help.
A few days later, Vishal-Shekhar called me to their studio and that meeting changed my life. After some time I also met Shankar Mahadevan. He has given me a lot of warmth and support. I still remember my father sitting in his studio when Shankarji instructed his receptionist to make a list of people I should contact. He gave me the numbers and asked him to give his recommendation. Singing on the mic is a completely different ball game as a professional playback singer; I didn’t know if I was good enough or not. I started doing many opening acts for big actors. So, I think being in the right place and at the right time really helped me.
What challenges are you still facing?
I think it’s so important to keep rediscovering yourself. I think the one thing that has really kept me alive is the live performances. Luckily, I’ve had many opportunities to be a live performer, so I guess it’s all about establishing a connection with the audience.
Do you think there is a shortage of female musicians in the music industry?
Yes, I tried composing but when you start thinking about the commercial or the ‘film’ side of it, it’s a very tiring process. I think if you are a singer, you have the potential to be a musician; This is something that Shankarji has always told me.
Many people have spoken about favoritism and music mafia in the industry. Have you ever faced such a thing? Yes, I have remade my song many times because I was not an artist of any particular label. Initially, it really bothered me. I had got a chance to be a part of that brigade but I did not choose. I might have been a big influence in terms of repertoire, songs, and releases per month, but that’s not how I was raised. I made a decision and I would like to stick to it. What advice do you give to your siblings Sukriti and Prakriti, who have become such wonderful singers? I really admire their passion and dedication, as the competition there is ruthless. I am so happy to see them sticking together. We have great love for each other. Both of them have done very well for themselves.
- Singer Akriti Kakar on music industry
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