‘Being on stage and thousands of people singing my song with me is such a thrill’
HAVING started singing from a very young age, Pawni Pandey has gone from competing in children’s music reality TV series Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs to forging a successful professional career as an adult.
The talented vocalist has mixed up hit Bollywood songs with stand alone singles which have shown off her impressive range. Her song successes include Laila Main Laila from the film Raees, which has been viewed over a billion times on YouTube. She has also shown impressive stage presence and isn’t afraid to take on any musical challenges.
Eastern Eye caught up with a rising star who is set to shine even brighter to talk about music, her journey, singing hero and inspirations.
How do you look back on your singing journey?
Music has been part of my journey from a very young age, and it’s been a roller-coaster ride. I’ve learnt so much and loved every bit of it. I have been extremely lucky to have my family, friends, and mentors around me all the time during this ride.
Which of your songs is closest to your heart?
There is a part of me in all the songs I have sung, but if I have to choose then Laila Main Laila, Khaari Khaari and Nazdeekiyaan are the ones closest to my heart.
Which song challenged you most as a singer?
Laila Main Laila. I was very nervous about doing a version of such an iconic song and I had to do justice to it while retain ing my originality. Thankfully the song was really appreciated by everyone.
You are very versatile, but do you prefer singing slow love songs or faster dance numbers?
I really cannot choose between them. I’m a very mood driven person, so it really depends on that moment and what I really want to sing, but I truly enjoy them both equally.
Can you tell if a song will do well when singing it in a studio?
I don’t think anyone can. A song can be really great, but a lot also depends upon its placement, marketing, and of course, luck. You don’t truly know until it is out there in the world.
How did you feel being on the grand jury of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs, a show you started on as a kid?
It felt surreal initially to be on the other side of the table. Honestly, it’s extremely difficult to be judge and jury, and give the right guidance to these amazing talents. But being part of a show that was an important piece of my journey in the beginning was special.
Who is your music hero?
There are a lot of great singers who I admire, but Sunidhi Chauhan is my hero. I love how she introduced a new style of singing into our industry and made it iconic.
What kind of music dominates your personal playlist?
My own playlist is mostly Indian and Bollywood music.
If you could master something new in music, what would it be?
There are so many things in music that I would love to master. What comes to mind immediately is playing the piano, as it’s one of my favourite instruments.
What is your master plan going forward?
I don’t have any master plan and have never had one. I believe in going with the flow, making more music, and just following my instincts. The priority is to just keep on making good music.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
There are a lot of great artists I would love to work with. Top of that list would be Coldplay, Beyonce, and Arijit Singh.
What inspires you as a singer?
Telling stories through my music and connecting with people through them really inspires me. The thrill of being on stage, and the moment when thousands of people sing my song along with me in togetherness inspires me to do what I do.
Will you be making a New Year’s resolution?
Yes, I will be making a resolution. It is to put myself out there more often on social media and have more independent releases.
Finally, why do you love music?
I cannot pinpoint one single reason. I’ve been drawn towards it since my childhood. I love it because it transports me to a different world. Music is probably the most powerful form of art that directly touches one’s soul. In my opinion, music holds divine power.