Sona Mohapatra on her Times Square Billboard: They recognised I’m using my voice to go beyond music
Having her own billboard at Times Square, New York is more than just an achievement for singer Sona Mohapatra. She says for her, this meant that her face stands for a more equal world.
“It is a pop-culture milestone for any artiste. I’ve been to Times Square and would normally hang out there. I am grateful. They recognize the fact that I am using my voice to go beyond just music, and stand for a better world, however clichéd it sounds,” says the 45-year-old. The board will be live for a week.
She adds that this is a great time for independent artistes and music. “I feel modestly when I tell you that I have always been ahead of the curve. I had a first mover’s advantage in the sense that I always believe Bollywood is big, but I never stopped putting out my own music. Film music has distribution and promotions, but to wake up every day and say ‘that does not completely represent me as an artist”, it always fits somebody else’s story,” says Mohapatra.
The singer feels because of the pandemic, good work finally got a chance to be noticed, and the obsession with number of views was exposed. She says it was almost like people holding placards announcing that they have ‘millions’ of views.
“I somehow never believed in that. I called it making a palace of matchsticks, which will fall down, and it happened in the pandemic. The truth of those numbers came out. Interestingly, the shift is huge in the music landscape in India. Suddenly, you have players which have transformed how we are listening to music. The pandemic has given me more creative space to have a very clear idea as to how it is going to be in the coming days,” says the singer, who has put out a new song every month since the pandemic started.
Talking about the song which put her on the billboard, Aise Na They, she goes on to reveal, “I am extremely proud of that video. I went to the Sikkim border, I was alone. This beautiful song with Amitabh Bhattacharya and Ram Sampath, we thought aise ballad ke liye jagah kahaan hai. I took out my tripod and shot the do-it-yourself (DIY) video, and it just went big.”