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East meets west

NEETI SARKAR
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Music She is equally comfortable with Western and Indian classical music. Reewa Rathod is ready to taken on the world with the release of her debut album

Renaissance womanSinger, poet, composer and more
Renaissance womanSinger, poet, composer and more

She is a vocalist, pianist and music composer, all at the age of 19. Having pursued music as a little girl, Reewa Rathod recently made her official debut in the music industry on her twentieth birthday last week. Starry eyed she sure is but she’s got her feet firmly planted in the ground. The daughter of the much acclaimed playback singer duo Sunali and Roopkumar Rathod Reewa has forayed into diverse genres that unravels a fusion of musical styles from two separate worlds- The East and The West.

“I’m ecstatic about my debut but more than that I’m looking forward to what lies beyond,” says Reewa over the phone. Speaking of her formative years, Reewa gives credit to her teachers for moulding her into the musician she is today. “I received training from industry stalwarts such as Bala Mani Aiyyer and Prasanna Warrier (Carnatic music) and Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra (Hindu classical singing), I believe that no matter how much one accomplishes in life, there is always something new to learn.”

Reewa’s musical journey began at the young age of four when she gave her first public recital. She now has accomplished eight grades in piano with distinction from the Royal Associated Board of London. What sets her apart from her contemporaries is that her forte is not restricted and she successfully manages to divide her time towards mastering both Indian and Western classical music. “I’d like to describe my personal style of music as ‘soul’. I’ve been writing poems and creating my own compositions in English, Hindi and sometimes Tamil since a very young age. I want to create my own sound,” she says.

Ask her to name some of the artistes who inspire her and her list includes the likes of Kishore Kumar, Mariah Carey, Norah Jones, Yanni and Seal. Coming from a family of musical legends, (her grandfather Pandit Chaturbhuj Rathod was a renowned “dhrupad dhamaar” vocalist of the Aditya Gharana of Jamnagar while her uncle, Sharavan Rathod is a well-known music director and music director duo, Sanjeev- arshan are her first cousins), Reewa understands the bar of expectation is set rather high.

She states: “What people may think and whether I can live up to the expectations they have of me because of my rich musical legacy worries me. But then that’s also my driving force. I work harder because I always tell myself I cannot afford to be ordinary.” Ask her if her parents have offered her any advice prior to her debut and she replies: “They have always been so supportive and have never pressurised me to be like them. All they tell me to do is to believe in myself and that’s something that has made me the woman I am today.”

Her well-wishers in the industry are plentiful right from Zakir Hussain to Shabana Azmi to Sonu Nigam to Gulzaar to Hariharan. So would she consider doing some playback singing in Bollywood? “Why not?” she counters, “In fact Bollywood is in need of new artistes. It’s about time we moved away from the mundane music that’s more about beat than about melody and make exceptional music, leaving an indelible mark on the world map.”

Having said that, she adds: “I feel that Bollywood has to come at some point in life. But it is not a priority. My aim is to reach the international platform and make my presence felt globally.”

Music aside, Reewa is a passionate animal lover and enjoys cooking. She is a national level award winning horse-rider and she already hopes to build a music school for the underprivileged section of society in the future.

NEETI SARKAR

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