Saturday, June 22, 2024

‘I started getting more work when I stopped thinking about the success’

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In an exclusive chat with The Pioneer, singer Pawni A. Pandey, the voice behind some blockbusters like Laila Main Laila and Sweety Tera Drama, spoke about her journey from being a contestant to a jury member in the recent season of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs, the remix culture, and the number game.

Tejal Sinha

inger Pawni A. Pandey began her musical journey as a contestant on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs, where she secured the fifth position. But bringing a twist to her career, she made her Bollywood debut with the song Laila Main Laila from the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Raees.

Pawni has been the voice behind some blockbusters, including Sweety Tera Drama from Bareily ki Barfi, Bewafa Beauty from Blackmail, and most recently Akdi Pakdi from Liger.

From being a contestant to being a jury member in the same show, for the Akdi Pakdi singer, the journey has been more of a “roller coaster” ride. “Even when I was in SaReGaMaPa Li’l Champs, I always wanted to be a playback singer, but I never thought of getting such big hits, such big songs, and a few of the most loved songs of our country.”

Looking at her journey from being on the stage as a contestant to sitting on the chair as a jury member, it’s definitely filled with a lot of memories. And every journey has its own challenges. It was the same for Pawni, who said the memories just flashed back to her when she sat in the chair. She said, “It was an honour, but it also came with some responsibilities, because I had to guide the new talent there, and it was my responsibility to guide them in the best way I could.”

     “My inspiration since childhood has been Sunidhi Chauhan; she was my inspiration to become a singer and performer. I saw her performance once in Jaipur when I was 9 years old; that was the time when I decided, “I don’t know what this work is called, but I want to grow up and do what she is doing right now,” said the young singer adding, “All of the songs that I have sung have been special to me in their own way. But if I have to really choose one, it is definitely Laila Main Laila because it gave me the recognition that I always wanted to have. But, if you ask me what song is special to me, it is my Indie song Nazdeekiyaan because it was a very fun song and I also got to write it. I wrote it in a very different manner. The song’s concept and execution were very different, very modern, and very experimental; the music, the production, and the entire package of the song were all very experimental. There was a lot of new energy.”

     However, according to Pawni she enjoys all genres. It’s always said that you should never think of success when you work hard for something. And, with her, she said, “I started getting more shows and work when I stopped thinking about the success and thinking very hard about making it big in my life. I genuinely started enjoying my work, and I started doing it for the love of it and not just to become successful and famous. It was also around this time that I got Laila Main Laila.”

    For her debut song to be a blockbuster, she credited composer Ram Sampath and said, “He recreated it in such a way that he has maintained so many original elements of the song. The original vibe of the song, he did not play around much with the production, with the orchestration, he definitely made the production sound new to us, but he did not make many changes, so that helped me a lot as a singer to maintain the essence of the original song because it becomes easier for me if my production is similar to what I heard as a child.”

    Talking about the remixing and recreating culture, many Indian music composers, singers, and other musicians shared that they were disheartened to see some classics being recreated in a poor manner. To this, she said, “Making a remix in itself means that the song is or was a hit. If you truly want a remix to work, you must respect the original work that has already been done on the song and maintain and retain the essence of the original song, in my opinion. If you lose the original song’s essence, people start feeling disconnected from the original song. It’s as if you have a habit of listening to music in a specific way.”

    Making a mark in an industry that already has some amazing established artists is not an easy job. And, like any outsider, Pawni had her own struggles too. However, she revealed that the challenges never go away but change, as she asserted, “Challenges are there for everybody, be it an outsider or from the industry. The biggest challenge for me was to get to the music directors, get their time, and convince them to try out my voice. I still face certain challenges even after singing many songs in the industry and giving many hits also, but the challenges have changed now; they are different. Now the challenge is that I have to do something new every time and get better at my own work. I have to keep giving better music to my audiences.”

    To end the conversation on a lighter note, Pawni stated, “I believe that the focus from the creative aspect is fading away. The artistic aspect is not being given due credit. Everything is related to the numbers: the number of streams, number of views, comments, likes, et cetera. The judging parameters of a project have come down to a numbers game. I believe and feel that it’s an art, and it should be treated like that. Not everything should come down to the number game. There are certain things that are outstandingly amazing but don’t have a huge number of views. I believe audiences should become more aware and avoid falling prey to the number game.”

     She will soon release her single Katra Katra, from her Indie record label called Blue Karma Music, composed and produced by Abhilek Lal and written and sung by her.

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