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The year of the unusual voice

Smooth is passe in Bollywood. If you are whiskey-voiced, folksy, edgy, off-beat, you stand a better chance. TOI-Crest has some hot tips for you.


The days when you were welcomed with open arms by the industry because you could do bloody good imitations of Saigal, Lata, Kishore, Rafi songs are loooooong gone. Composer Pritam says that if you can mimic an established voice, keep it a secret. "If I want a voice like Sonu, Shaan or KK, I will call them to sing, " he says.


Everyone wants something hat kein a singing voice. "They stress on your own style. And they want variety - much like a Gujarati thali that has different sabzis, chawal, roti, papad, achaar, sweet..., " says singer Javed Ali whose Nagada nagadaand Jashne baharagot him a huge fan following. And if you do have a boringly usual voice, develop a distinct style or fresh tonal quality.


Smart software can take care of a whole lot of voice issues. So if your voice is emotive and different enough to appeal to the new-wave of composers, that is enough - flaws can be fixed digitally. "Singing in 'sur' is no longer the primary criteria. Software can handle that. . . what a computer cannot create is the feel, " says Pritam.


There is a new Bollywood singer born almost every day. It is hard to keep track of the names. "Producers have become much more receptive to fresh talent and fresh perspective, " says Pritam who has given a whole lot of new voices a break. Reality shows are throwing up new potential singing stars every day.


The turnover of voices is so frantic that it leaves few with a chance to establish their names. "You hear one new song and song style one day, another voice and style the next. There is no time to expose and establish your voice, " says young singer and composer Harshit Saxena. Nobody has the time to give a failed voice another chance.


A lot of talented youngsters have come, given a huge hit and then not been heard in films. But their singing career is not over yet. Music shows and filmi nites keep it alive. "Stage shows are a big help for such singers, " says singer Javed Ali. "Competition makes things tough for us - because you've to keep reinventing yourself to keep yourself in public memory, " says Kshitij Tarey whose Tose naina lagein Anwaris still a favourite on radio.


Reader's opinion (1)

Prashant ShrivastavaSep 27th, 2011 at 15:42 PM

Music has gone computerized. Like once remixes, even old tunes are being accepted in new package. And singers instead of being a soul of song, have become just another instrument. Like singers, even songs don't last a week. People still want cool and sensible melodious songs but they are denied!

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