He introduced me to Vishal Dadlani sir, who at the time was scoring notes for the title-track of Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer blockbuster, Chennai Express. After listening to some of my music he asked me if I would want to try out a few lines on the track. I went in to record with zero expectations and thought nothing of it after I left, beyond being simply obliged for the surprising scope that fell in my lap to have had him hear my voice. It wasn’t until weeks later that I found out my vocals being retained intact in that number. I was over the moon and you know what — I guess, am fortunate enough to suddenly notice things turning in my favour and falling into place without any hiccups. I was quite naturally welcomed within the industry and never ever made to feel like an outsider. You share a wonderful rapport with the musical genius A.R. Rahman and have not only lent your vocals to his film-tunes but also collaborated on an album with him called Raunaq and even crooned at his concerts. How has your entire tryst been with the ‘Mozart of Madras’? I really mean it when I say that working with Rahman sir has been a dream come true so far and I feel so blessed for every single opportunity I got to record and perform with him. There always used to be something new to learn from him and I am humbled by the fact that he taught, directed and threw challenges at me to live up to. You won’t believe how much I have learnt about myself and grown as a singer because of his guidance and the tenacity with which he has goaded me beyond my self-defined limits. It’s been a total revelation or me! DISCOGRAPHY Sau Tarah Ke - Dishoom Pink Anthem - Pink The Breakup song - Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Gilheriyaan - Dangal Saajan Aayo Re- Ok Jaanu Meetha Zeher- Playing Priya: Short Film Blessings from the Sky- Pelé: Birth of a Legend Kahaan Hoon Main and Implosive Silence-Highway 16 The Score Magazine highonscore.com Does it irk you when you come across mediocre singers or even actors getting to sing tunefully by virtue of the Auto-tune technology? Initially I won’t deny that it did bother me a bit. But now, I’ve matured and realized that there is room for everyone in this industry. Everyone has the right to give a shot at something new, especially if it makes him/her glad. You can’t blame a person for using technology to do a certain patchwork. And today, audiences are more aware than ever. If you need to rely on Auto-tune to sing, the astute listeners would anyways come to detect it, and that may not always fare well for you in the long run. Working with hitmaker Pritam Chakraborty also fetched you a winning streak as you bagged the Mirchi music award for Dangal and also got a Filmfare nomination for the ‘Breakup’ song. So it’s a double bonanza for you. What do you have to say to this? I feel so honoured to have received such a prestigious award and to have been nominated for so many other accolades this year. I take it as an added impetus to become the best musician I can be. You know it’s such an overwhelming experience to be bestowed with recognition by multiple committees for these songs. My sincere gratitude goes to Pritamda for giving me such lovely compositions, and also to both the teams of Dangal and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil for absorbing me into their folds as a significant part. Are you doing any musical collaboration? I’m working on a slew of collaborations, both on film music as well as YouTube material, but nothing that I can elaborate on at the moment. So please stay tuned for the updates (smiles)!