Spreading her madness all over the world with some popular Bollywood tracks and a record of more than 1500 events, multi-talented singer and performer Harshi Mad had one awesome week. Her single in collaboration with singer Aditya Narayan has just released and is receiving a great response from her fans. The singer recently opened up about her singing career in India, favourite music and why singing will forever remain her first love no matter how many acting offers she gets from Bollywood.
What made you realize that music was your path?
I loved music since I was a little girl. I dreamt of performing on stages but never in my wildest dreams thought it would become true. When I got selected in the competition against India and Dubai, I took the risk and left everything in the UK to pursue my dream. Also, my brother played a vital role to inspire me to sing.
You have also appeared in some musical reality shows as a contestant. How did they help you in your career?
Indian Idol 3 provided the platform I needed to take the leap from thought to reality, I definitely don’t think my life would be like this if it wasn’t for the show.
Is your family musical?
My brother Paresh started with a reality show first. He was on the top 6 of Sa Re Ga Ma, performing with all celebrities and the day he performed with Salman Khan, I was like, “That’s it! I want to be a singer!” Our mother would always put three of us on stage in our community functions which is where the confidence came from.
When you landed in India from London to make your singing career, who did you work with and who did you get the most inspiration from?
I was fortunate to start my career in India as Sunidhi Chauhan and Mika Singh’s opening singer. It was the biggest lesson, anybody could get. Two big pop stars of India and absolute power pack performers. They taught me, inspired me and guided me to become what I am today and I can never forget that.
What are your fondest musical memories?
It has to be the moment when I first sang for Salman Khan and Karan Johar, the same song my brother did (Jeene ke hai chaar din). They both jumped up and danced with me and then Salman told me to sing an English song and asked if I could sing and dance… and he slow danced with me live on stage while I sang… what a moment!… I was shivering, thrilled, nervous and excited, all in one!!
What has been your biggest audience that you have performed in front of?
I did a concert with Sonu Nigam which had more than 100000 people. I couldn’t even see the people in the back! That was another memorable event to perform with the ‘Lord of the Chords’ himself! It was a whirlwind concert and the crowd was fabulous. Singing in Bollywood is a dream come true, especially coming from London but singing with Sonu Nigam to a live audience is euphoric. It was a great learning experience for me. Sonu is such a crowd magnet and it was a great learning experience for me.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
I used to get nervous when I started. I used to feel anxious before any show, like before it was…’Oh my god I hope they like me’! Now I think I’m more anxious to meet my audience to hear and feel their reactions towards my songs and singing! It is more of an excitement that I feel.
Do you ever think of writing your own songs?
I have written 2 songs after pages and pages of doodling which I have planned to release soon! I used to hate my stuff so I packed it up and put it away. But I pulled it out recently and thought, ‘Oh! It wasn’t as bad as some of the cheesy songs that are releasing…’ hehe.
Have you ever considered joining a band or have you always wanted to be a solo singer?
Having band support is always good, but I always saw bands splitting up and having issues, so I preferred to just keep it simple!! Riding Solo!
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while singing or performing on stage?
Once I was so excited to come on stage to perform my set and Mika called me on in surprise during his set and I tripped while running up the stairs. He laughed so hard that everyone saw it and I was so embarrassed. Other than that I had my ass pinched when I allowed few people on the stage to take pictures so I swung around so fast that I knocked about four people over… don’t mess!
What is it like being a woman in the music industry?
It’s difficult being hit on every day and people who know you need something from them will always flirt and see how you react. You just got to tell them straight that you’re not that kind of a girl and be confident and good at your work so you do not have to do other things to get your work done. Having said that, there are lots of genuine people who only believe in talent and help you in their capacity to make your dream come true. It also helps to be a woman because people hear a girl out more than a boy so you just got to know where to you use your girly charm and how much to use it.. haha!
How much do you practice singing a week?
I turn my music on from the moment I wake up so I’m humming something or the other all day. Other than that I rehearse every day and when I’m not travelling I visit my teacher thrice a week to experiment with my vocals and learn new techniques.
Besides being a singer, what is Harshi Mad in real life?
I’m an absolute workaholic, so whatever I do, it revolves around music. If I’m shopping, I look out for designer clothes for my concerts, if I’m partying then listening to the latest trends in music and how people react to which sounds. If I’m eating then, well I’m just eating. Hahaha… I love my food, so then again I have to force myself to the gym every day because let’s be honest everyone judges the book by its cover!! And it’s important and good to look good in this industry. I’m a very family orientated girl so if I’m not working, I love just chilling with friends and family doing regular real life stuff!
Where is your favourite place to tour and who have you enjoyed touring with?
I have an awesome team myself who I love touring with, it’s like a bunch of friends going on holiday and getting paid to party!! Although I have loved touring with all my fellow singers as each experience has been very different be it the place, the audience, the treatment, etc. I think my favourite tour was London with Mika Singh and Daler Mehndi where my own family friends got to see me live and I got so much appreciation. Although USA and Canada with Atif Aslam and Sonu Nigam was a real rush in terms of performing to new audiences on the other side of the world and you get to do all the touristy things in style when you are travelling with a senior artist which is fun!
Which famous singers do you admire? Why?
I admire singers from both Asian and Western cultures which I think shows in my performance. I love to make an act on stage not just sing because I am not only a singer, am a performer too. I have rehearsals with my dance team with my band so that each event is spot on. I love Sunidhi, Jaspinder’s voice quality. It’s fab! I love Rihanna, Jlo and Beyonce’s attitude in the singing and their performances on stage are marvellous!! India event industry is very male dominated so I studied Mika Singh and Sonu Ji on how they have command on an audience and what the audience reacts to.
What is your favourite song that isn’t your own?
Oh wow!! That’s like asking me which chocolate do you like!! I love them all… I always listen to all the artists’ songs, it develops you as an artist, but it is really hard to pinpoint one favourite.
You have also acted in films. But you don’t do them anymore. Why?
I did a course at Anupam Kher’s Acting academy but I did it for my performance on stage. I frequently got audition calls as they used to place my profile where they felt it would suit and I did a few assignments for fun. But singing is where my heart lies! I love acting and am a born drama queen but it’s a difficult industry to crack.
What are you up to next?
My latest song ‘Body like a Bomb’ has just released. It’s collaboration with Aditya Narayan and the music and rap are by Arian Romal.
I have two of my own songs coming out which I have written so am pretty excited for those. Also, I have some concerts lined up in all over the world, like Morocco, Hong Kong, Gujarat, Amsterdam and few more cities to look forward to!