Melody meaning

MOVING ON Shreya: ‘I’m not anxious about my song going to someone else’   | Photo Credit: Photo: K.R. Deepak


Shreya Goshal, the singer with a silken voice, has come a long way. Here for the audio release of Yograj Bhat’s Manasare, she says it’s no longer running from one studio to the other; now she makes informed choices

This is one art form where no amount of hard work helps. A mellifluous voice is a gift from God, but what you do with it makes for individual talent. Shreya Goshal is among the few contemporary singers who makes music an emotional experience. Her pronunciation in Kannada and Tamil is perfect and embellishments apt.

Mano Murthy’s residence is a clutter of knick knacks with the walls crowded by typical family portraits shot in American studios. Shreya is there to meet a few from the press and also to gorge on generous helpings of bisibelebath. Of course, she’s mainly here for the audio release of the Yograj Bhat directed film, “Manasare”. “That’s a different medium,” she says when someone asks her the usual question as to why she’s not acting.

The interview:

You’ve worked with the best like Ilaiyaraja who’s very sure about what he wants and Rahman who improvises till the end. Tell us about Mano Murthy.

It’s easier to work with him. Once he’s tuned the song he gives the singer full freedom. He turns into a listener. After having understood the song, I like to enjoy it when recording.

I like to give inputs about variations in the songs graph. He enjoys that like a lover of music rather than a music director. He’s very appreciative and comfortable to work with. The best part is that he’s a very knowledgeable music director. He composes and writes the entire song. Once he’s done that he lets the singer fill the colours. I think it’s a completely different school.

As long as you are in a reality show you are more like a mimicry artiste singing something which has already been rendered. How difficult is it when you have to interpret a composition in your own style?

Yes, that’s the most difficult thing. Many singers who’ve sung beautifully on the show have not been able to deliver when offered an original. That’s a good point. It also happens because they’ve trained to sound like the singer of the original or close to it. I believe that when they sing on the show they need not try to imitate the original. It’s good to sing in your own style.

When you are given a song do you briefly contemplate how Lata or Asha would have sung that song?

Ummm… yes, this used to happen earlier. I’m a big fan of these two icons and it’s very possible that I get influenced by their styles. I think about how she would have nuanced the song. I’ve got over it now. There’s a subconscious that works when I’m singing. I do use her throw of words.

You are talking about Lata?

Yes. She’s the personification of singing. I use her style when a music director understands and is a fan of hers too. Most of today’s compositions need a casual approach to the singing.

Previously singers would try and see that their voice suited the stars in the film. Is that possible today?

No it’s not. Recently I sang for Sharmila Tagore. She’s been one of the most beautiful actresses, but is no longer young. Since I had to sing for the heroine too who’s a teenager I had to modulate my voice and make it sound heavier. I did not try anything technical but I thought of myself as an old person and it came across. Do you have a gift for languages? The acid test is Ilayaraja, who’s very particular about pronunciation and enunciation.

Absolutely. It was a learning process for me. Learning the song at Prasad studio from 10 a.m. and recording right in front of him in the singer’s room is scary because he’s right there and you don’t want to make mistakes. I’ve never felt he’s as strict as he’s made out to be. He loves music and the whole process. He’s so sure about what he wants and doesn’t like the singer to improvise much. He feels if the song is sung in pitch correctly, expressions will come naturally.

There was a time when a duet was sung together……

I think that was an amazing period. There’s a rush and hurry now. Very few directors do one film at a time. The competition is cut throat and the requirements are commercial. I wish I were a part of that era if not as a singer at least as a witness to the process of recording.

Ideally would you like more time to prepare for a recording?

Sometimes yes. I no longer rush from studio to studio. I sing one song a day. I’ve reached a point where I can take it easy. I’m not anxious about my song going to someone else.

After ‘Manasare’ you’ve sung a lovely song in ‘Suryakanthi’ too.

Thank you. All credit to the music directors. That’s the reason I love singing in the South. There’s so much melody in Kannada film music. All the hits are not item numbers. Melody still rules here. That’s missing in mainstream Bollywood.

Singers are the least fussy among creative people. Have you ever refused a song?

No. If at all I have it’s because the track played to me has been sung beautifully and I insist they retain it.

I feel the singer has already done justice to the song. I’ve done this twice and have been able to convince the music director to retain the voice of the track singer.