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Young Melodies

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

For several upcoming artists, music shows are a stepping stone into the industry. Pooja Salvi speaks to young singing talent Shraddha Shree to find out more about her musical journey since winning the i-genius Young Singing Stars initiative

Over a year ago, Max Life Insurance and music label Universal Music India concluded their i-genius Young Singing Stars initiative in the city. The programme was launched to look for singing talent across the nation, and after looking through a staggering 1.26 lakh participants, the jury, which included Salim Merchant and Shraddha Sharma, picked Shraddha Shree as the winner in the senior category. We spoke to her to find out about her journey on the show and beyond. Read on to find out more.

Tell us a little about the inaugural edition of Max Life Insurance i-genius Young Singing Stars.
I found out about the Max Life Insurance i-genius Young Singing Stars from one of my school friends, but I actually delayed the audition because the thought of competing with so many others really intimidated me. However, somewhere deep down, I knew that I really wanted to give it a shot, so I sent the recording in on the last day and luckily, it was selected. And, in a complete turn of events for me, I won! The win gave me the opportunity to record an album, which got me a GiMA nomination when I was just 14-years-old! The entire journey has been a dream come true from the very beginning. Being mentored by Salim Merchant and Shraddha Sharma was a life-changing learning experience for me.

What has your musical journey been like? Are you self-trained or have you studied music in a professional capacity?
My musical journey has had a few bumps along the way because I never truly focused — my entire family is in the music industry. Even though I always knew that music was for me, the patience to practice did not come to me at first. I started singing when I was a little over 2-years-old — when I could barely speak. I have been training in Hindustani Classical Music since I turned 4-years-old. My mother is a music teacher herself and she taught me self-assessment. Music runs in my blood. I have been a believer in versatility and always sing every genre that I can.

Do you write your own music? If so, what inspires you?
Yes, I certainly do try and there are several music directors who inspire me. A few would be A. R. Rahman, Salim Sulaiman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Vishal Shekhar and Sanjay Bhansal. I am also inspired by international bands such as The Script, Linkin Park, Starset and Avenged Sevenfold. I am too young to take things to a professional level yet, but I do put out as much as I can by trying my hand at writing and composing as well.

About your nomination for the Best Pop Song — was it expected or was it a surprise for you?
It was not at all expected! When I was told about it, I was just trying not to jump with joy, because it still felt like a dream. However, when it was confirmed, I could not help but dance! For someone who is only 15-years-old, it feels unreal to be placed among such celebrities in GiMA. I was nominated alongside my mentor Salim Merchant himself, which is an incredible honour as well as weird for me since he has been the one who picked me from the lot — and now I have been placed alongside him. All of them are such great legendary names and I am just a child, so even the thought of attending the function and sitting alongside them feels like a miracle. I am so grateful to everyone who made this happen for me, especially music director Gulraj Singh and lyricist Manoj Yadav, who gave me a phenomenal song like Khuda Mere — and of course, Max Life, Universal Music and my family, who helped make it happen. I also think God has blessed me with opportunity here. This song was my favourite from day one, but I never thought I would be nominated for best pop song!

Do you hope to work with the who’s who of the music industry? Whom would you like to work with?
Of course, it’s a dream to be working in the industry. I would love to get into playback singing, for which I continue to work hard. I grew up dreaming of being a musician and I look forward to taking the legacy of classical music forward to make my country proud. There are several legendary names in the industry I wish to work with. My favourite music directors are Salim Sulaiman, Vishal Shekhar, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and so many more. Papon, Arijit Singh and Sonu Nigam are my favourite singers and I would love to work with them too. A few more would be Shreya Ghoshal, Monali Thakur and Shalmali Kholgade.

Tell us about your future plans in the industry.
My future plans include focusing on my education in music and waiting for a good break, which will help me to express myself and sing more! I would say that God has been kind and I know that he will continue to be, all with the help of everyone’s blessings.

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