After ending up as the first runner-up on Zee TV’s musical talent show ‘SaReGaMaPa’ in 2009, Yashita Sharma has come a long way as a playback singer. Starting her career with the song ‘Haan Main Jitni Martaba’ in Rohit Shetty’s ‘All The Best’ in 2009 she has churned out hits in films like ‘2 States’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’, ‘Ghayal Once Again’ and ‘Qaidi Band’ to name a few. We got into a tête-à-tête with the singing sensation where she spoke about her singing journey in Bollywood and why she relates to Kareena Kapoor’s character in ‘Jab We Met’ and many other things.
Pycker: So, tell us Yashita how’s a regular day for a playback singer, what’s your daily routine?
Yashita: I’ve been a homebody so I am mostly at home doing my practice and going to the gym and trying to be fit. But it’s more of being at home if I am not doing anything, at the max I’ll go out for a movie or go to the arcade with my brother and play some games.
P: So, you are not the celeb kind of person that we thought of?
Y: No not at all, I am a very regular goer who likes to cook and party at home, you’ll never see me at any parties or pubs. I get to preserve a lot of energy being at home so I use it in my songs.
P: Tell us how did singing happen to you? Are you a trained singer?
Y: Basically my dad was a trainer, he passed away in 96, so it passed on to me and after he passed away I started singing one fine day for which my mother was very supportive and found me a teacher who started training me at home.
P: From there how did ‘SaReGaMaPa’ happen?
Y: I was in college that time when they decided not to choose me for a certain college competition and I was really disappointed because I thought I was a good singer who can manage to sing on stage without any fear. I immediately came back home and put on the TV where I saw these auditions. Then my mother and I looked at each other and said we have to do this, and that was the first time I ever decided to go for a reality show. I didn’t think I’d get this far in the first time.
P: So, you just went ahead…
Y: Yeah, because I’ve always been taught one thing that if you really believe in yourself and if you know you are doing the right thing…just go for it because the moment you have second thoughts you start to doubt yourself.
P: After you ended up as ‘SaReGaMaPa’s runner-up in 2009, how much time did you take to get your first Bollywood assignment? Did you have to go through any struggle?
Y: Well, after SaReGaMaPa, it was like a breakup for me honestly. I thought it’d be a lot easier after getting into SaReGaMaPa but the next two years I was out of work. Those two years brought me back to earth and I realized that I have to really go out and put myself out there. I got my first break in ‘All The Best’ with Pritamda. After that song at that time I had no idea what’s a PR or how to market yourself, nothing really worked for me that time and that’s when I decided what I want to do and this is what I want to be and it was a difficult path which I chose.
Slowly I started doing more shows and some of my friends with whom I used to do shows before SaReGaMaPa helped me out and I managed to get my platform.
P: How did you get your first break?
Y: Pritamda was on the jury when I was a participant in SaReGaMaPa and Shankar Mahadevan Sir was also a part of the jury and they were really very kind people to have called me to sing a song for them. And that’s how I got my first break in Pritamda’s ‘All The Best’ and my second song was for Shankar-Ehsan-Loy for the film called ‘Zokkomon.’
P: When music directors approach you for a song, what’s the preparation you do from your side?
Y: Well, I just make sure that I warm up and go and don’t have to chuckle there. Honestly, I feel that it’s a fast-moving industry and people don’t have much time to give to a singer. The best that a singer can do is grasping a song and delivering it as soon as possible. I think I’ve not taken more than an hour or so to grasp a song, I think I am decent in that.
P: You’ve said that you always identified your character with Kareena Kapoor in ‘Jab We Met’, why is that so?
Y: Hahahah…, that’s because she is so full of life. She is shown as a happy go lucky homely girl who ought to have a very happy family life which is similar to mine. I am also very good at making friends like Geet, and also very quick at making decisions. I also have a good sense of humour, so I guess that is why I’d like to relate to her character.
P: Any music director of your choice you’d love to work with or you’ve worked with?
P: Who are the singers in the current lot you admire the most?
Y: I just love the way Arijit Singh sings and I am very lucky to be a part of the album where I got to sing with him. Among the female singers Jonita Gandhi is my favourite because she is so talented and a good human being, and is so uplifting.
P: Where do you see yourself with so much competition around?
Y: I don’t see this as a competition, it’s a journey where everybody is a part of it and I feel that if you’re given a song you just do it well and if it’s there in your destiny it will come your way if it’s not it’ll go to somebody else whoever it belongs to. The more you make the song yours the better it comes out in your voice.
P: Is there any song you wished to sing and didn’t come your way?
Y: Oh! Yes, there was this song from ‘Baar Baar Dekho’, called ‘Munda thoda off-beat hai…’ I had sung a version of that song but somehow missed out on it. I wish I sang it because it was a very nice and fun-loving song.
P: From the previous generation, who is the singer you look up to?
Y: I have always loved and will love Sunidhi Chauhan. She’s a diva and I don’t think she will ever age. And of course, Asha Bhosle from the previous generation.
P: So, any thoughts of venturing into acting?
Y: No, I haven’t got any so far. And I am not sure how I would be when the camera is put on. Like, singing and acting are two different things and I am yet to try and see. No thoughts so far.
P: If a movie doesn't do well, then a song might lose out, how do you feel in situations like this?
Y: Practically, in situations like that, you just don’t know what to do. I believe that we should always give it our best and the rest should be left to god. Yes, it does make you feel let down when the album is a hit and the movie isn’t, but that’s the way it is. Like I put a year and a half into working for ‘Qaidi Band’ but the movie didn’t do well. It was a great experience for me to go through this; I have also learned that we shouldn’t take them to the heart and nothing much can be done about it.
P: Have you been accused of sounding like Sunidhi Chauhan?
Y: She has a golden voice and a much better voice than I have. Initially, I felt happy when people said that but honestly; I don’t think I sound like her. But even if I am 10% of what she is then I’ll think that I am successful.
P: Which is the best compliment you’ve received so far?
Y: Someone told me that in the album ‘Qaidi Band’ I sounded better than Arijit Singh. I was like ‘wow’ when I came back home and I told my mom she asked me to calm down and get back to the ground and said you’re not even one bit of that guy.
P: What’s your take on singers singing in other languages despite not knowing the language?
Y: If you ask me, the more the merrier, the more singers in the world, the better the world will be. Honestly, I feel it’s not difficult to emote a person’s emotions while singing in another language, it’s like once you get the gist of the song it doesn’t become difficult to sing in another language. I feel as long as you get the meaning right, I think it sounds good.
P: Have you ever tried singing in another language which you do not understand?
Y: No, but I did sing a jingle which was later dubbed into other languages like Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali.
P: Do you think today’s singers are underpaid which is the reason why they go to all these shows and concerts?
Y: It depends on the budget a film has got because whenever a singer is called to sing they’ve been told about the payment in advance. I think every singer knows what they are getting into and how much they’ll be paid. So, I think it’s a very subjective thing. It’s like if I offer you a job and I tell you this is your job and this is how much you’ll be paid, so you always have a choice to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
P: Can you describe yourself in a line?
Y: This is difficult but I think I am a very happy person and there’s this song ‘Phir Nayi’ from ‘Qaidi Band’ which is a very hopeful and a positive song which completely describes me very well. I am always thinking about new things.
P: Tell us something about your upcoming projects?
Y: I have a solo album of mine coming up, other than this I have this song ‘Ni Main Yaar Mana Ni’ featuring Vaani Kapoor which has been received very well on YouTube. I’ve also got some tracks coming up with Amit Tridevi. I am also looking to write for myself.
P: What’s your message for upcoming singers?
Y: Just be yourself and do what you do best. More than what you can’t do, focus on what you can do, and it's sure to work in your favour because what you can do nobody else can. You be you, that’s all I can say.