In Conversation With Shruti Pathak

Shruti Pathak as a name might not be familiar to a lot of people, but there is little chance, if you follow Hindi music, that you would have missed her husky voice. Right from the mindblowing Mar Jawaan from the movie Fashion to the haunting folksy portions of Tujhe Bhula Diya from Anjaana Anjaani, Shruti has been in the business of singing awesome songs for about three years now. And you will get to see more of her come Coke Studio next month, where she has sung two songs. Read on as she speaks of that and more in an interview with Music Aloud. Don’t forget to click on the audio links provided here and there.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you land up in Bollywood?
I’m born and brought up in Ahmedabad. Music is all I wanted to do since childhood, so i finished my Masters with Psychology and moved to Mumbai, to pursue singing as a career.

Almost all your songs so far have been classical-based. How long have you been trained in Classical Music?
Yeah, most of my songs have been classical-based. Be it Paayaliya or Rasiya. And it comes naturally to me cause I’ve been training since I was 13.

Paayaliya is arguably one of the best songs from Dev.D. What’s the story behind the lyrics of Paayaliya? How did you end up writing the song? And how come you didn’t write any more lyrics after that?
Paayaliya is my favorite too. Amit (Trivedi) is a very dear friend for a long time. We used to jam up, write songs together. When he composed Paayaliya, he knew the song was for me and when he played it to me, I instantly fell in love with the song and I told him I wanted to write it too. And he let me, cause he could trust me with it. He knew, I felt the song as much as he did. We were on same page while writing the song, so it fell in place beautifully.
Would love to write for other composers as well. Shout-out to all… ;)

I guess the biggest news at the moment for you would be Coke Studio. :) How was the experience – Leslie Lewis’ arrangement, the in-house band et al? Could you tell us a bit about the songs you have recorded? And how would you rate Coke Studio India versus Coke Studio the original Pakistani edition?
Ya, I’m very excited too. Coke Studio has set a benchmark for music shows and CS Pakistan is brand in itself. I’m glad, India edition has kick-started. Its a high being a part of such a brilliant show, doing some real good music and collaborating with different artists, which we don’t get to do in playback. I had a blast recording. And it gives me immense pleasure to share that, I’m the only one who’s featured in two episodes. The one with Shafqat (Amanat Ali Khan) was the most memorable experience. He is a fabulous artist and not just that he is one of the nicest people I know. Had a wonderful time recording with him, Kya haal sunawan from his first album. And second one was a folk song I did with Papon who’s again a brilliant artist. Was a very different experience. He sang an Assami folk song going into my song which was a Gujarati folk. Two different cultures, different kind of music all together, but the way Leslie (Lewis) produced it, was so mesmerizing. The blend was so smooth and flawless. It was a beautiful ambience on the sets while recording.
India can never go wrong when it comes to music. We have so many states, languages, cultures, traditions. And hence wide range of variety in music and lot many artists. India is full of talent. We have so much music and art to cater, only missing was the platform, but now we have Coke Studio, and trust me its gonna bring out some real GOOD stuff.

You happened to record for Karsh Kale’s new album Cinema also, one of the few people from Bollywood to feature in that work. How did you bag that one?
I guess I’ve been very lucky with all my projects. And Cinema is also one of them. Always wanted to work with Karsh Kale, and through Salim Merchant I met Karsh, and he gave me MAA. That’s my track on his latest album CINEMA. I totally love the track. Its about mother earth. Beautiful concept!! Must hear :) [And it truly is a beauty. Go listen to Maa here.]

Quite a few Bollywood singers have come out with private albums. Do you have any such plans?
I want to do my own music. Will happen soon. Hopefully!

There is a heavy influx of new singers into Bollywood from reality shows these days, though unfortunately not many make it big. What is your take on reality shows?

I’m not much in favor of reality shows. As you put it correctly, heavy influx of singers. So many shows, so many singers, so much competition, TRP, melodrama, fake hype, and in the bargain music suffers. But after all this, there are couple of good singers found too.

Every singer has his/her idol. Who would you consider your biggest influence?
Many. In fact, every musician I’ve heard has inspired me in some way or the other. Very difficult to name one.

Upcoming/ongoing projects – film or otherwise?
Yes! Some fun stuff coming up. RA-ONE being one of them. And the rest I won’t be able to speak about, right now. But I promise to reach out to all music lovers soon with more music :)

Hindu Bodhcong Pala says:

It’s a very serious thing as a music artist, and can be not the easiest thing, when the girl singer is always up at 5 in the morning to tend to the cows. And then again at 5 in the afternoon to tend to the cows. It seems that it might be the only thing they really are aware of; even though they continue with the song. But to read her describe the Kolanu Assami song being made, and then the movement to the Gujarati song; is very interesting. The Gujarati may have been Maldari Shikari; and there they also have excellent chai.