There’s always room for improvement: Jonita Gandhi | music | Hindustan Times
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There’s always room for improvement: Jonita Gandhi

Singer Jonita Gandhi feels it’s good for a singer to continue learning. She wants to polish her guitar skills and train more in Hindustani music.

music Updated: Jun 22, 2017 19:13 IST
Susan Jose
Now, the former banker turned singer cannot imagine herself in any other day job.
Now, the former banker turned singer cannot imagine herself in any other day job.(HT Photo)

“No way!” is the prompt response from Jonita Gandhi, when we asked her if she could imagine herself in any other full-time vocation. Clearly, the former banker has come a long way from being a nondescript YouTube artiste to a full-time singer, who is now credited with hits such as ‘One two three four’ (Chennai Express; 2013) ‘Mental manadhil’ (OK Kanmani; 2015), and ‘The breakup song’ (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil; 2016). The 27-year-old explains, “Although from time to time, I positively reflect back onto my work experience in the banking sector, I love my current job and wouldn’t want that to change.” Excerpts from the interview:

You are trained in Western vocals, yet you chose to learn Indian classical.

I strongly believe it’s always good for a singer to keep learning. Whether it’s about continuing to build on your skills or to give something new a try, there’s always room for improvement. I’ve only taken a handful of classes in Hindustani vocals and would like to learn more. Everything we learn as singers helps us develop our own approach to create a sound that is unique.

Jonita Gandhi breaks down sounds phonetically to learn lyrics which are not in English. (HT Photo)

Are you inclined to learning instruments too?

The guitar is something I always wanted to learn. There are a couple of videos on my YouTube channel where I’ve attempted to play [the guitar] along with singing, but that’s a skill I would like to develop.

Do you get time to practice like you used to in your initial days?

No two days look alike in my schedule. So, the amount of time I spend doing riyaaz varies every day. At times, I get to warm up only after reaching the studio.

When you sing in something other than your first language, how do you prepare for it?

English is my first language. When I learn a song in a new language, I break down the sounds phonetically and write them down in a way that I understand. I try to utilise those around me, who speak the native language, to correct my pronunciation.

How was it to work with AR Rahman? Any anecdotes you’d like to share.

It is not often that one sets foot on a new journey and has his or her dream come true in the early stages. I am grateful for the path my career has taken, and humbled by the opportunity to work with a legendary personality like Rahman sir. Working with him is incredibly rewarding, and it has led to several opportunities. As far as anecdotes go, all I can say is that the rumours of him working late into the night are definitely true (smiles).

How comfortable are you with fame and popularity?

I am really grateful that I have people from across the globe showering me with love and appreciation. The attention that comes with a rise in popularity is something that initially used to make me really uncomfortable. I’m not sure how much that has changed (laughs).

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The author tweets@iamsusanjose