The norms of music are changing. Gone are the days when musicians would spend years at the feet of a guru, and follow a strict regimen of riyaaz. Now music is not just supposed to be heard but seen, and the idea is to pick it up whenever, wherever possible. A case in point is Biba Singh, a U.S.-based medical professional who calls herself a self-taught singer. No guru, no ustad, no formal training, just her willpower has taken her through, she proudly claims.
In the Capital to release her debut album ‘Biba’, the enthusiastic singer says, “I do riyaaz twice or thrice a week. I don’t have any fixed time for it, I do it whenever possible. I have no guru as such, but the world is my guru. My mother who is not a singer herself motivated me a lot.”
Biba, an MBBS now training to be a psychiatrist, is not ready to swap one career for the other. She says, “I spent 12 years to be a doctor. I cannot leave it at this juncture, and also back in the U.S. there is a lot of scope for psychiatrists.”
Side by side with medicine, she has been pursuing music. “I have been training from the age of seven. I did many cultural programmes and sang shabads at the gurudwaras. Though I have no guru, my mother always encouraged me. My father wanted me to be a doctor. He always wished that his daughter would follow in his footsteps as well as keep up her passion forsinging. Then in the U.S. we had Daler Mehndi as a family friend. He always encouraged me to sing and it was he who persuaded my father to allow me to do an album. I just love music, it is my passion. I have put in all my savings as a doctor to bring out this album. I also gained a lot of encouragement from Suresh Wadkar in whose music school I am getting some training finally.”
However, Biba is not ready to give up on the good things in life for music, and dresses smartly, making sure her music has a “visual appeal.”
So what’s next? Well, Biba would like to see the result of her first swallow before planning for the summers ahead.