From singing bhajans at temples when she was three-and-a-half-years old to doing musical concerts across the globe today, pop singer SHIVANGI SHARMA has come a long way. In an exclusive interview with CINE BLITZ, the singer talks about her childhood, singing journey, remixes, collaborating with international cricketer DJ Bravo for a music video, and how she has used social media to her benefit instead of getting distracted by that.
Tell me about your song Party Party with DJ Bravo.
Bravo and I have been friends for 6-7 years. I liked his song Chamiya (2019) when he shared it with me. Bravo suggested that we should collaborate. But unfortunately, because of covid, we couldn’t collaborate for two years.
I feel that my music should be relatable to people. It should have some message along with entertainment. Although the song was initially about girls, I wanted Bravo to give out an important message through that song. It comes before the hook line of the song.
I recorded the song early in 2022. Then I was traveling abroad for events. Bravo had come to India to play in the IPL but I was in the US. So, I sent him the song that I had recorded. He liked the song. So, we coordinated and I came back to India to be present at his recording.
Later on, we shot the song in the UK at Queen’s Palace. It’s a lavish video. It is probably the boldest song of my career. It is about a powerful girl. It might be released around Christmas 2022.
And what about the other upcoming song Same Old Lies?
I created the hook line of Same Old Lies when I was going through some emotional turmoil in my life. It’s about one guy cheating on two women at the same time. The women are serious about him. He is telling his wife and girlfriend the same old lies.
Tumhi Dekho Na song from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is my favorite song. I wanted to shoot a song like that. Luckily, I was in the US during the fall, so everything just fell into place. I strongly believe in the law of attraction. If you envision something strongly, it surely happens. We shot at Times Square.
Let’s go back to your beginning. How did your journey as a singer start?
I always wanted to become a singer. But in my family, I was not allowed to sing anything other than Bhajans. The film songs were not allowed at all. The only singing memory I have from childhood is that when we used to go to our grandparents’ house, I would sing at temples on Tuesdays. I was three and a half years old when I received my first earnings which were 20 rupees. So, in that one month at our grandparents, I’d earn 200-250 rupees.
The moment I’d sing filmy songs, my mother would scold me. So, whenever I would get frustrated, I’d go on the roof at night and sing. Sometimes, my mother would catch me and beat me up [chuckles]. Now that I have achieved something in life, my mother is very proud of me.
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But I think I was destined to become a singer. I was not a trained classical singer so I did not have the confidence that I could sing. I started learning when I started performing on stage. Then I found a teacher to get trained in singing. I remember when my teacher Alpana Ghosh told me, “Sa lagao.” I did not have any idea what that meant. The things singers learn at the age of 3-4, I started learning at 19-20.
I would like to urge the parents to get their children trained if they want to become singers. There are so many things that one can learn very well in childhood. Your throat can adapt to variations at that age. I am originally from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. I am from Tansen Nagari but I was not classically trained. Can you believe that [chuckles]?
You must have faced a lot of rejections because you were not a trained singer.
Yes, a lot. I used to go for the playback recordings. Some days were good, and some were not. Nobody rejects you out loud to your face. But you have to be prepared for that. Your competition is extreme. Destiny plays a part in your success. And Public Relations (PR) also play a big part in recognition.
Which was your breakthrough song(s)?
My friend and actor-director Aslam Khan listened to one of my recorded songs. He suggested that I get into singing at events. I haven’t done any reality show or an album, so it was difficult to break through. Luckily, we found a financer within 4-5 months and Aslam made sure that I got 50 percent of the total earnings from each show. We had a contract in place.
My first album Sexy Saiyaan was released in 2012. It was launched by director Anees Bazmee, Ishq Bector, and others. I got a lot of recognition after that song.
Earlier in your career, you have done covers of popular songs. Does it help singers to get discovered? Any flipside to that?
There are pluses and minuses, obviously. I did quite a few covers early on. A lot of people thought that I have sung the original song Yaar Naa Miley from Kick (2014). My cover was very close to the original. But the covers are accepted on music audio streaming apps. They can only exist on YouTube. But I always believe that if you cannot uplift a song, then don’t remix it. I also take a keen interest and effort in composition. I have composed a few songs. I have the clarity and honesty to keep the song above anyone else. If I see that someone else can do a better job in singing my song, I don’t mind them singing it while I compose it.
What is your take on the use of social media? Is it a boon or bane for you?
For me, social media has been a boon. I was an anti-social person. One of my friends made my social media account. She told me to come on social media and that it might help me get discovered more. Everything happens for a reason. Today, I have received so much love from social media. In my case, the majority of my social media experience has been lovely. Some of my fans have been my followers for 7-8 years.
I think it’s up to an individual what they feed themselves from social media. I don’t follow any stupid people or indulge in negativity. You should be following people who are inspiring and could be guiding you in some way or the other way. I watch/listen to podcasts than watching some stupid content. You have to feed positivity to your mind, then only your outcome will be positive.
I would like to tell people to use it in an appropriate way. I have survived because of social media. I haven’t done any reality TV shows. I completely focused on social media. I have lived a beautiful life. Of course, there were hurdles but I never take negativity to social media. I focus on what good can I create even from my bad experiences.