OTHERS

Pop star's first Punjabi album

NEW DELHI, NOV. 15. At the age of six, she recorded her first English song called ``Daddy Don't Go''. Since then, she has been giving live performances at stage shows along with her father, Channi Singh, who is credited with having pioneered Asian pop music all over Europe.

Now, Mona Singh has come out with her first Punjabi album, ``Akhiya Vich Yaar Basda'', which has 10 songs. ``My father has written the lyrics,'' she says, adding: ``While nine songs are in Punjabi, one is in Hindi.''

``Music has always been a hobby for me,'' says Mona. ``I have travelled with my dad extensively and given a large number of stage performances. But with this album, I am all set to make music as a career,'' says Mona, who works in a bank in London. Incidentally, she has toured alongside the famous singer from Pakistan, Shazia Manzoor, throughout Britain to much acclaim.

Mona is set to release her first solo album worldwide by mid- November. ``The album is a blend of East and West and a combination of traditional and modern beats,'' she says, informing that it has good compositions, good lyrics and a good singing style.

With dancing as her additional qualification, Mona has been able to provide a touch of youthfulness to the title song of her album which has been shot on video by Nab Kumar Raju, director of the acclaimed ``Hum Tumpe Marte Hai''. Another song ``Ve Mundiya'' with lyrics by Dev Kohli is a special dance number, she says.

Fluent equally in English, Hindi, Punjabi as well as Urdu, Mona plays the sitar and keyboard as well. ``I have had some training in classical music,'' she reveals while at the same time pointing out that she has been inspired by Asha Bhonsle. She also likes listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. ``It is my father Channi Singh who inspired me to do this album,'' she reveals.

Mona says her ambition is to go into play-back singing and ultimately end up doing music direction, like her father. ``Feroz Khan who used the services of my father as music director in his film `Yalgaar' heard me when I was young. At present, I am concentrating on this album but I would love to sing for anyone in the film industry.''

While Sony wants her to do an album on ethnic music in English, she has already started working on her second Punjabi album. ``I sing ghazals as well and, along with my dad, I have done an album which is also ready for release. The lyrics have been written by Madu Pal,'' she informs.

While Mona says she will continue to do more albums, she is well aware that live performance and release of an album should go together. With Punjabi music becoming popular in London and not many women artists around, she is keeping her fingers crossed. ``If it is a good product, it will stay,'' she says.