Every year, India produces more than a thousand movies coupled with a huge number of songs. For every movie made, four to five songs can easily be found. Today, we have a million singers pan genres in India, out of which a handful of them can be found making a mark in Bollywood.
The Batch of 2019, brings to you the Bollywood musicians who debuted in the first half of this year.
We start the series of Bollywood debutants, with Kamakshi Rai, a singer, songwriter and actor. She made her singing debut on India’s first English music talent hunt, The Stage, Season 1.
Kamakshi made her Bollywood debut with the release of ‘Tere Liye’ and ‘Dreamtime’ from the movie Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota.
Getting to know Kamakshi
Kamakshi’s mother, Gitanjali Rai is a renowned singer of ghazals and devotional music herself. When asked on her musical influence, she didn’t bat an eye to say,
“I came from my mother’s womb, singing. When my mother conceived me, she would put the speaker on her belly and I would kick. I think I was always made to sing.”
Mumbai based Kamakshi’s musical journey started early in life. From Hindi classical music to Eagles and Elton John, would always be playing in her house in Pune. Her parents have both been major influences in creating an ecosystem where she could delve into varying musical genres.
“My mom would always be singing something. To find my mom at home was the easiest. I just had to follow the tune,” says Kamakshi.
After her stint at The Stage, Kamakshi was exposed to an array of shows from corporate sessions to local gigs. In every opportunity, all she wanted to do was sing.
At one point, she was signed under a record label where her music never released.
“There was a sense of perennial struggle. I was doing my MBA then, and all I did was write music and handed everything over. It was so depressing because it never saw the light of day.”
When Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, happened to her, it was more than how fate would have liked it. Owing to her previous work experience in advertisements, the music composer for Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, Karan Kulkarni, was familiar with Kamakshi’s work.
After a trial, Kamakshi was asked by Karan to sing for the movie. After she sang, ‘Tere Liye,’ Vasan Bala, the director himself wanted Kamakshi to sing the other one called, ‘Dreamtime.’ There is a fine contradiction in the vocals of ‘Tere Liye’ and ‘Dreamtime.’
When asked if she always wanted to become a playback singer, she says,
“I never thought of it like that. I wanted to work in Bollywood because it is a really good school of credibility. It is a medium to reach maximum people and build a connect and express myself as an artist.”
Kamakshi also feels that Indie musicians and Bollywood music have finally come to a conjunction. Her contemporary singers, with their own singing style, have been making a mark in the industry and she believes that Bollywood is more receptive to variant genres than before.
“Prateek Kuhad and Jasleen Royal have entered the market seamlessly. A chance for equal opportunity exists these days. I believe I would like to be optimistic about the evolving music industry since I have just entered this space,” opines Kamakshi on entering Bollywood this year.
Trying to see the glass half full, Kamakshi also feels that it is best not to rest on the laurels one collects. The sense of security that comes from one accolade may shift, thus, she likes to assure herself by making sure she doesn’t settle at all. Kamakshi agrees that she is too new in the industry, but she vouches for her originality.
“I have enjoyed doing musical theatre and live music, but I am looking forward to working on more Bollywood projects.”
Kamakshi has already bagged a few songs this year, all are under production. She says she is excited to be a part of each one of them. Although she does not want to count the number of songs she sings, she would challenge herself to see how much quality she can bring to the table.
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