Shardul Pandey: I welcome you Priyanka at SANGKRIT.net, please tell our netizens about yourself.
Priyanka Bhattacharya: My hometown is Banaras. I’m from a middle class Bengali family. I started singing when I was 6 years old. My parents have always been supportive of my career choice, as they were also into music, though not professionally. My father, Sri Atanu Kumar Bhattacharya plays tabla and he initiated me into music. I then started learning classical music from respected Pandit Devashish Dey. My first big moment was when I won the prestigious AIR Vocal Music Competition when I was in 12th standard. In the meanwhile, I completed the six-year course of Hindustani Classical Vocal music (Prabhakar) from Prayag Sangeet Samiti. Then I got into Banaras Hindu University for my Bachelors in Music from the renowned Faculty of Performing Arts. During my graduation days, one day I got a call from Gajendra Singh, the creator of the famous music reality show, ‘SaReGaMaPa’ on Zee TV for ‘Challenge 2005’ edition of the show. My parents were really thrilled about that. I was very nervous during the entire process of audition… but eventually got selected in Adesh Srivastav’s gharana. I came to Mumbai for the first time… it was like a dream… I had mixed feelings because this was the first time I had stepped out of my hometown all by myself. But unfortunately, my grandmother expired at that time and I had to quit the show midway. For a brief moment, I was really down.
But after two years I came to Mumbai and joined Gajendra Singh’s music academy… and learnt from the best in the business. Then I returned to Banaras to complete my Masters degree in Music, and was awarded the University Gold Medal. My parents insisted that I should pursue music academically. But I wanted to pursue playback singing… I fought with my family and finally convinced all them to let me come to Mumbai and try my luck at least once. They gave me one month to prove to them that I could do something meaningful in Mumbai, or else I would have to go back. I had heard all kinds of scary stories about how it takes years for a singer to get their first major break, or a hit song. I was apprehensive.. yet I had no option but to try. During my initial days, I used to stay in Vashi with my cousin brother and sister-in-law. I used to travel from Vashi to Andheri everyday by local train for meetings and just to visit the studios, to know people, make contacts. One day, I came across a book called ‘Music-master’ at a magazine stall and I bought it. It had the contacts of people from the music industry. I started mailing my songs to music directors, sound recordists, etc. I would have mailed around fifty people but only three or four of them replied. I went to meet them and got two projects: one was under the Yashraj banner; a film called, ‘The Return of Jagdish Chandra Basu’… for this project, I sang with Shaan and Sunidhi Chouhan; and the second song was for the film ‘Mausam’. Later, I got a jingle for ‘Ganesh Kavach’… and on the basis of these three songs, I could convince my parents to let me shift to Mumbai permanently. I have sung in almost eighty movies (South to Hindi dubbed), a number of jingles like Venkey’s, Swasti fresh chakki atta, Bumchums etc., for TV serials like, Ganga ki dheej’, theme songs, and background vocals for films like ‘Cocktail’ and ‘Houseful 2. I have worked with a few of the most famous music directors of our time, like Pritam, Jeet Ganguly, Ram Sampath and others, and I have learned a lot from each one of them. I have sung for an upcoming movie being directed by Vivek Sharma (director of Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Bhootnath’ ). And recently I sang in MTV Coke Studio with Ram Sampath and Sona Mahapatra. The experience was truly gratifying. Just a few days back, my album released on all the major online music portals… it’s called “The Dark Lounge”, and by the grace of the Almighty, it’s already topping the charts. I also do a unique musical storytelling show, travelling across the country with renowned lyricist and writer, Neelesh Misra.
There’s just one assurance that I would like to give to all my well-wishers and my fans… that no matter what, I will continue to work hard. I believe in dreams and desire. I had a dream, over a period of time, it became my heartfelt desire and today I’m here, and I believe it’s just only the beginning of a lifelong journey
Shardul Pandey: Music industry is competitive but people are listening to your music. So what do you think, why have you succeeded in a field where so many others have failed ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: I won’t say that others have failed, every artist has his/her own specialty and struggling is something which every artist has faced and even I am not an exception, But yes I would absolutely like to share with you that why I succeeded and why people are listening to my music, My recent release “THE DARK LOUNGE” which has shown a tremendous response and It’s world-class music is being appreciated by wide range of listeners from across the world, I have given my best to this album not only on singing part but lyrics, composition and music as well, this album is of very high-end production quality and we have made it keeping the taste of Indian and abroad listeners in mind, In short it has been made from the audience point of view and I think I have been able to give justice to the expectations of my audience.
Shardul Pandey: Yes struggling is something that every artist has faced and it is also a simplistic perspective. Success and failure can mean many different things.
Every new idea is a copy of a copy of a copy. What do you think? Likewise you compose most of your own music; so from where do you draw ideas, inspiration or intuition from when you write songs ? How much you like this process and when you get completely satisfied with output ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: I won’t say every idea is a copy of a copy, but an inspiration of an inspiration. Listening to tune creates a different chain of ideas differently in every mind. So in a way there’s always a piece of originality in a composition, even if it’s a result of an inspiration. When i reach a point where i realize that adding or subtracting anything to any of my composition can reduce its desired effect, i consider it complete…basically true artist always create something new…i believe in creating rather getting inspired.
Shardul Pandey: What is something you learned recently about singing, and what are you learning about now? According to you, what are cushy and hard parts of singing ? What is your foremost experience as an artist ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: I think I’m learning everyday. Each day I learn some thing new about music,profession and art. regular riyaz helps me keep myself prepared for all the challenges. It gives confidence… The audience can’t be fooled these days, a singer cannot get away by taking the easier routes. One has to be prepared for every type of singing style now a days. I think this is the most important thing I have learned in these years and I would suggest everyone to do right riyaz daily under the guidance of your ustad (guruji’s)
Shardul Pandey: So would you like to briefly explain your sound and your new album ‘The Dark Lounge’ to people who have not yet heard your music ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: Dark Lounge is a totally new brand of music I’ve done till now. It’s world music gives it a universal appeal to the audience. I think this gives this album the cutting edge, because of which people are liking it so much. It has music for all ages, all kinds of taste. If you have not heard it, I would definitely suggest you listen to it once. I’m sure that’ll be enough to get you addicted to it.
Shardul Pandey: Yes of-course “The Dark Lounge’ gives a universal appeal. I am listening to it and I highly recommend it to our readers here.
What do you think is your strength as a performer ? Any new plans for an international tour on your horizon?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: As an artist I think the urge in me to always learn, experiment and 100% input are my strengths. Basically I m classically trained which gives me strength and power as a performer. I’ve got offers for international tours, but I already have many work related commitments which I can’t abandon. As soon as i get a little free from my schedules and recordings, I’d definitely plan out an international tour
Shardul Pandey: What makes your endeavors unique? What advice would you give to newbie musicians?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: I think what gives uniqueness to my endeavors is the dedication of the entire team I work with. Here I’d like to thank God for always making me surrounded with great people, not just great artists/professional but great from heart. They have loved their work, and together as a team we have successfully made such music.
I would advice all the young musicians in fact all those who want to pursue a dream that they should never lose hope, the tunnel might be long but there’s always light at the end of it.
Shardul Pandey: Do you have any ultimate goal ? Success can mean many different things so what does success mean to you and how would you like to be remembered ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: I have not made any such goals, my dream was to become a successful singer, which I’m enjoying a bit right now. I want to sing and record my songs more and more. I’m looking forward to continue this work consistently in the coming future, and let’s see where it takes me.
Shardul Pandey: Do you own a domain name? Likewise Internet is distributed in to domain names. You must have one like priyankabhattacharya.co as that would indeed be accommodating your fan-following independently to make some value for you. Weblog with integrated social networks to regularly keep on blogging about little things of life works wonderfully in show business. What do you think ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: As of now, it gets a little hectic for me balancing both work and interacting with my fans through social networking websites, so soon I’ll be launching my official website www.priyankabhattacharya.com
Shardul Pandey: What is your ultimate message for netizens ?
Priyanka Bhattacharya: I have only one message for my audiences and that it is: “thank you so sooo soooo much for liking my songs, my voice.
No matter how hard you work, how much you practice, if the audience doesn’t like it, it’s all a waste.
And seeing so much love and appreciation from my listeners makes me elated and grateful for their love…keep listening to my songs.”