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Back to school

Dominique Cerejo, one-time backing vocalist, now rocking with Rock On!! today is finally taking singing lessons.. quizzed by Nikhil Taneja.

music Updated: Feb 16, 2009 14:35 IST
Hindustan Times

Disappointed on losing out on the Best Female Singer for your song Tumhari meri baatein (Rock On!!) at the recent Star Screen Awards?
(Smiles) Not at all.. I wasn't expecting to win. I'm just very happy that the song got nominated. It's so different from anything else out there. (Smiles again) Never underestimate the audience.

Has life changed after this song?
People within the industry always knew the kind of work my husband Clinton, who's been arranging music in Bollywood for quite sometime now, and I do. But yes, there's been recognition on a larger scale. People know my name now. I have a song in Billu too, and duets for De Dana Dan and Tum Milo To Sahi.

You've been around for a long time..
Yeah, I've been singing in Bollywood for eight years now. But the songs were sporadic and offbeat. I've sung Hindustani, with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for the film Dus, which was shelved. I also did Moksha with Rajesh Roshan and two songs in Khamoshi with Remo Fernandes. More recently, there was Dhoom.

Why didn't we hear more from you?
It's taken me time to find my own sound as a singer. After Tumhari meri baatein, I have finally found my own space. Also, I'm a western singer and only in the last few years here, the younger music directors bridged the east-west divide effectively. But now I'm the voice for anyone who wants to bring a western element in their music.

You were discovered by Ranjit Barot, isn't it?
Yes, it's because of him I'm working in the industry today. I remember, he was auditioning singers for the dubbed version of Aladdin. I went along to try my luck even though I had never sung a Hindi song before. The next day, I got a call from him and he gave me a break with a jingle. I've even sung for him in a Tamil film and done the backing vocals for Shaimak Davar's album.

You've been singing backing vocals for a while now, but have only recently started getting credit for them.
As a backing vocalist, my main aim was to break that mindset where we billed less than a lead vocalist. As a chorus singer, you have your own area of specialisation, which lead singers don't have. I made sure that my fee would be on par with that of the lead singer. But it's only now that people have begun to appreciate and value our inputs to songs.

When was the first time you got credit as a backing vocalist?
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy were the first ones to give us credit in the Dil Chahta Hai album. Not every one gives us credit us even today.

Plan to release your own album?
Actually, Clinton and I are working on a duet album but it would take time since he's very, busy. I am also planning a Hindi album which will feature me as a singer.

What else is new?
(Smiles) It's back to school for me. I have just started voice lessons to learn the correct technique. I wasn't trained earlier. I would sing on instinct.. my heart would dictate how the song should sound. I've been singing ever since I was a child.. it is like breathing for me. But in the past few years, my focus was my family. Now that my two babies are older, I want to sing a lot more.

First Published: Feb 16, 2009 14:03 IST