Music

Richa Sharma: Singing for the supreme

Guru’s grace: Richa Sharma says if you are worthy, you will find your audience  

When Richa Sharma was a sought after devotional singer in Delhi NCR, she faced a constant struggle to maintain a balance in her local performances and her attempts to make a name in the Hindi film industry. It continued until A.R. Rahman ‘discovered’ her and chose her for Taal. Since then, whatever genre has been offered to her, Richa has excelled in it. Thanks to her malleable voice, she has a soulful “Sajda” (My Name is Khan) as well as an energetic “Maahi Ve” ( Kaante), both famous for their own reasons. These days, she is judging reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee TV and has just sung a song written by Prasoon Joshi for Manikarnika.

Excerpts:

As a singer, how do you see your association with a reality show?

A show like this have judges who can enhance the credibility. It is not just about being a singer coming to a show but it is about being a senior to whom new talented youngsters look up to, get the motivation and learn something new. I have a certain stature in the industry and I will use all my experience while judging the participants. I will try to be a guide or a friend, who can assist and help contestants in their journey.

The show has a unique feature of having different gharanas. How is it different from the gharana tradition of music?

The gharana, in the show's context, is to distribute the contestants into various groups, a unique format of the show. They used the word gharana because of its cultural value amongst the audience. I can't compare that gharana with the training system which we have in our country which is far more diverse than it is here. Those are schools of style and aesthetics. Here, it is more about the individual experiences of the judges like Wajid or me. There is a certain kind of music which we make, and we can share the stories from our own journeys. Shekhar's (Ravjiani) gharana will be different from my gharana and that is a beauty of the diversity of experiences which we can share with the young people.

Also, you engage more with them when your own name is associated and bring out the best from them.

How do you see the trend of training in music academies and compare them to the gharana system and guru shishya parampara?

I am seeing a lot of youngsters with classical training and I think it is essential in order to understand the nuances. Guru Dharan, as we usually do it, by personally following a guru and learn from them according to our own pace is a good thing. Slowly and steadily, the imprints of guru's training start showing in you. But I personally believe that in your initial journey, one should learn that in a music school to get diversity and understand the history behind music. We learn more in a group because of the support from each other and you have the competitive spirit to outperform each other while learning in a group.

You are still associated with devotional music...

It is my first love as it gives me a unique pleasure and fills me with a lot of positivity with motivation towards the right direction. The riyaaz of it is like a meditation for me. When you are doing a devotional concert, you are not concerned with pleasing your audience but you go there with a free mind and concentrate freely on what we are trying to convey to our Supreme Power. If you are truthful in that pursuit, people will automatically connect with you.

There was a time when devotional music was an important part of Indian cinema...

We don't have bhajans in our films anymore. When we make our house, we usually have one corner of the house dedicated to God and I think that should be the case with films also. I am not saying that every film should have it but if you are producing 100 films, at least 15 films should have it.

Ghazals are beings neglected as well...

I believe there are many people practising it but they don't have proper grooming which is needed for popular acceptance in this genre. The music fraternity should be supporting ghazals over other forms so that more of it can come out.

Is it still very difficult for playback singers to get recognition as independent artists?

I was fortunate that it was not with my case. I got the recognition first with my devotional music and then I was called for singing in the films. I was very famous in Faridabad and Delhi because of my performances but I had no album. Still, people used to change dates of their marriages and parties to suit my dates. You don't need any other platform other than a stage and if you are worthy enough of getting recognised, you will be picked up by the audience.


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 12:59:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/richa-sharma-singing-for-the-supreme/article25632742.ece

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