Kids Corner


Harshdeep Kaur
New Singing Sensation




Five years ago, people sat up and took notice of the deep-throated, velveteen voice that rendered ‘Ik Onkar' in Rang de Basanti.

Harshdeep Kaur's more recent hits include ‘Baari barsi' from Band Baaja Baaraat and ‘Chand ki katori' from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish.

Recently, when Coke Studio @ MTV (India) decided to commemorate reaching two hundred thousand fans on its Facebook page by releasing a video on YouTube, Harshdeep's was the first video that featured. Singing a 400-year-old Sufi kalam, called ‘Hoo', Harshdeep clearly was in her groove, in a genre that looks tailor-made for her - even if that's not the only one she excels in.

Recently, Harshdeep was in New Delhi to perform at a Coke Studio @ MTV mini concert held at Hard Rock Café in Saket, along with co-artistes Kailash Kher, Tochi Raina and Papon.

During the sound-check before the performance, without the turban that's become quite the signature, it's easy to mistake her for someone else. “That's a good thing sometimes,” she laughs when you tell her that.

The Delhi girl started learning singing from her father - he owned a musical instruments' factory - when she was six and later trained under Tejpal Singh. She's also trained in Western classical music.

“I used to listen to all kinds of music,” Harshdeep recalls. “We used to watch The Sound of Music a lot; we had memorised all the songs. Even kiddie songs from films like Haathi Mere Saathi ... But obviously, as you grow you discover what kind of music you like - people like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Reshma ji. I developed a soft corner for songs that are very Sufi, very sad, very romantic. Also my voice being a heavy voice, those songs actually suited my voice. Gradually I found my path, that this is what I want to sing. So here I am, singing Sufi songs.”‘Ik Onkar', she says, was a dream come true.

"A.R. Rahman was in Mumbai in Subhash Ghai's studio, and I went there to audition. Brij Bhushan, who usually co-ordinates artistes for him, introduced me to Rahman. There were three to four other artistes as well. I was lucky I got 15 minutes; I sang three songs. He recorded everything I was singing. It was like an audition,” says Harshdeep.

Rahman liked her voice and asked her if she wanted to sing in the chorus in the background vocals for Kisna. Harshdeep agreed. Later, during the making of Rang de Basanti, she was summoned. “I was very lucky that a Sikh prayer that I've been singing since childhood was what I sang for A.R. Rahman, that too when I was starting out. It was a really beautiful experience for me.”

The song, she says, is also special in the way it became part of people's lives “It became a popular ringtone and caller tune. And not just Sikh, others too have it as their morning wakeup alarms! It's very touching, the fact that people wake up to my voice. I really feel very blessed.”

Right now, she's eagerly awaiting the release of another number that she's sung for Rahman for the film Rockstar.

While Harshdeep has worked with most of Bollywood's current leading composers - Vishal-Shekhar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, A.R. Rahman, Salim-Suleiman and Pritam - she says the songs are the criterion.

“I'd love to sing again for all of them. And anyone who's new. I really like the music of Amit Trivedi … maybe someday for him,” she says.

The pugghri, she reveals, was her brother-in-law's idea.

“We were rehearsing for an episode of Junoon. He was like, ‘What if you cover your ear!' Not a chunni, something different. So why not a turban!"

At home I took my mama's chunni and tied it around my head. It really looked good in the first episode; it created a very good aura. It also was my way of giving respect to the Sufi saints who had written those kalams. It became a style statement too.”


[Courtesy: The Hindu Newspaper]

August 14, 2011

Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), August 14, 2011, 4:23 PM.

Let Harshdeep Singh sing for you so that you can admire her resonant voice sing praises of Guru Nanak.

2: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), August 14, 2011, 4:26 PM.

And for good measure, add this to your list:

3: Punit Singh (Nashik, India), December 24, 2011, 9:44 AM.

Her voice simply bowls me over.

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New Singing Sensation"

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