Sanah Moidutty: The classically trained #coverstars
For Sanah Moidutty, the question was not what, but how. She always knew she wanted to become a singer. “I learnt Carnatic music for six years and Hindustani music for seven years. And I started doing shows when I was around five years old. I was always balancing my singing with my studies. I wanted to take up singing as a career. But I saw that the trend was moving towards the digital. So, after I finished my engineering degree, I decided to come up with my own YouTube channel,” says the 25-year-old singer.
Members of Sanam, the band that was already doing Bollywood covers along with originals, lend a helping hand. “I was just starting off and they were almost veterans already. So they told me how to go about with it and also helped me with my first song, Manmarziyan. We recorded it at my terrace!” says Sanah. It was 2013. Although the song did pretty well, it didn’t go viral. Then she uploaded O Rangrezz from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. “Shankar –Ehsaan-Loy, who had composed the original, really liked my version. I also sent the link to AR Rahman and he happened to listen to the song. Rahman sir also liked it. And last year I sang three songs for him in Mohenjo Daro (2016),” says the singer songwriter from Kerala.
But, she insists that when she put out her first video, she did not really have any agenda. “I just wanted to showcase my work. I had no idea how to grow on youtube. I didn’t think I would do this regularly. But slowly I realized its potential, its reach,” she says.
Sanah had done playback when she was in college for Always Kabhi Kabhi (2011), and then again in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (2013). But YouTube helped her build a parallel profile. “Traditionally playback singers are just faceless voices. But YouTube gives out a glimpse of the real person behind the voice. Also, there is so much you can do apart from just perfecting the singing part. There are audio, video, pre-production, post production, and the embellishments. There is so much to learn. I really enjoy the whole process,” says Sanah who although busy with her playback singing and live shows, makes it a point to put up new covers on YouTube regularly.
“These also double up as demo tapes when I am looking for work outside because everybody is today on social media. Also, youtube is entirely your space. You might record something for a movie but it might not work for them and they might get someone else to record it. But in youtube you can consistently put out your work as you want and whenever you want.”
Also, on YouTube, as in live performances, the ‘sound’ of an artist is increasingly becoming important. The musicians accompanying you are crucial in building this sound. Hence Sanah has even created her own band. But she is very clear about her long-term goals. “For me music is the career and Youtube is the medium that is working for me right now. Five years down the line it might not, then I will have to upgrade to the medium that is working!”
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