Singer Sharon Prabhakar had sealed her status as the original pop star of Hindi non-film music long before the term Indi-pop was coined to describe artistes like Alisha Chinai, Baba Sehgal and Daler Mehndi.
At the height of the disco era, she was part of a hit audio compilation called Chal Disco Chal (1980), as well as a familiar voice on many of Bappi Lahiri’s film compositions.
Since then, although many of her contemporaries (Lahiri included) continue to be actively involved in the music scene, Prabhakar hasn’t been seen on stage in a very long time. That’s what makes her comeback gig tonight (May 8) special.
Ask her what took her so long to return and she says, “I really don’t know why it happened. I just got caught up with so many other things. I was developing businesses and properties, so music took a back seat.”
But now she couldn’t be more thrilled about the concert. “It was my daughter Shazahn’s (Padamsee) idea. We were sitting at home one day when she said that we really need to do this. She suggested that we sing as well as donate. The rest followed very quickly. She got on the phone and arranged everything,” says Sharon, who is donating the proceeds from the concert to The Akanksha Foundation, an NGO that works for the education of underprivileged children.
The performance, titled An All Star Evening with Sharon Prabhakar And Friends, will see her jam with noted singer-musicians such as Lesle Lewis, Joe Alvares and Zarir Warden, among others.
“We are all good friends and it was very nice of them to come together for this. We’ll be performing everything from Stevie Wonder to Allman Brothers and Dolly Parton. It’s going to be one big retro party.”
And if the audience wants, says Sharon, “maybe I’ll throw in a ballad; a really slow number.” Interestingly, the gig will also mark Shazahn’s singing debut. “She will perform ‘Ain’t no sunshine’.”