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'I feel blessed to have enjoyed a bite at most genres'

The lady who needs no introduction had taken Bollywood by storm coming up with brilliant songs ever since her first break 'Pareshaan' from Ishaqzaade in 2012. Shalmali Kholgade has recently released her song 'Beech Beech Mein' with Arijit Singh from Jab Harry Met Sejal. Excerpts:
What was your first ever stage appearance like?
My first ever stage appearance was in a black and white costume as Michael Jackson in kindergarten. It was a fancy dress competition and I looked nothing like Michael Jackson except for the part where I danced on 'Black Or White'.
What's the story behind 'Pareshaan' (your first break)?
I had a demo made with two English songs as audition material for applying to the LA Music Academy. A week after applying to the school, I was urged by my friend Anjo John to send some demo of my singing to Amit Trivedi, as he was looking for a fresh voice. Reluctantly, I sent my two English demos, thinking nothing will come of it. There you have it – two hours after I sent my demos to Amit Trivedi, I got a phone call from his studio. Another two hours, and I was singing dummy lines of 'Pareshaan' in his studio. The day after that, we began recording the song.
You've sung in multiple languages – which do you find the hardest?
I know that Malayalam is the hardest to sing in although I haven't sung in Malayalam yet. So, as of today, Tamil has been the hardest language to sing in for me.
You've presented your fans with some of the highest grossing numbers in the music industry of India. And now you've just sung for Jab Harry Met Sejal – Please share with us your growth story.
I've been very fortunate with the kind of numbers I've gotten to sing in Bollywood so far. I started with a romantic ballad like 'Pareshaan' then moving on to a mid tempo 'Daru Desi' after which came 'Aga Bai', 'Lat Lag Gayi', 'Balam Pichkari', 'Baby Ko Bass' and now 'Beech Beech Mein'. I feel blessed to have enjoyed a bite at most genres which I would've anyway otherwise loved to experiment with. These songs were composed by the likes of Amit Trivedi, Pritam and Vishal Shekhar which are by default fantastic compositions and arrangements.
Which among your songs is/are your favourite/s?
'Pareshaan' will always be my number one, but I'm definitely feeling very inclined to say Beech Beech Mein now, since it is exactly the kind of song that brings my innate personality to the forefront.
You'd won several awards for 'Pareshaan', do you believe 'Beech Beech Mein' will garner you some more awards?
I've never gauged the success of a song by the awards it receives. If 'Beech Beech Mein' does well during the award season that's a cherry on the cake. But the cake in itself is delicious enough, if you know what I mean! (wink)
Is there a memorable incident from your childhood that you'd like to share with us?
I once wanted to go on a long drive with my older friends to Lonavala. This was when I was 13. My friends were 21 and over. I knew I'd have a hard time convincing my parents that I should be allowed to go. So I wrote my father a long letter explaining why it's ok for me to go. The morning after I gave him the letter, my father gave me a firm handshake and said – Go! I was so amused back then that my letter had worked! My parents and I have had a very practical relationship. Anything that can be explained with logic and reason goes.
What/who inspires you to keep singing?
In all honesty, my light bulb moment in junior college at a solo singing competition showed me the path to my future. I sang 'Desperado' by The Eagles and as I ended the song, I felt an unusually beautiful feeling of completeness. I feel in a way, that my life's musician mission is to experience that moment again. Amy Winehouse and Beyonce are my lifelong inspirations as far as people are concerned. Amy Winehouse for the honest song writing and her fearless expression and Beyonce for the singer and performer that she is.
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