He wanted to be a magician as a child, for connecting with people is what he enjoyed most. However, what got this boy noticed was not the tricks up his sleeve, but his voice. Toshannbor Singh Nongbet, perhaps one of India’s only Italian opera singers, didn’t look back ever since he started singing and he has come a long way.
‘I heard a lot of Pavarotti and Placido Domingo,’ says 22-year-old Nongbet who was in the Capital recently to perform at Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). Accompanying him in an evening of jazz and opera were other artistes like pianist Ronojit Chaliha, guitarist Amarnath Hazarika and drummer Samuel Shullai.
Popularly known as Toshan, Nongbet graduated in BA Music Honours in 2012 from St Anthony’s College, Shillong. He has been a member of the Aroha Choir from 2011. He filled in as a bass but he is truly a tenor and has featured as a soloist in many occasions. In 2012 end, Toshan reached the final round of the reality show India’s Got Talent Season 4 and was declared the fourth runner up.
Stage fright is what kept Nongbet from acing the magic act perhaps, he ponders speaking to Millennium Post. ‘But singing made me overcome it all,’ says he adding that once he started singing he bonded better with people.
Though his formal training started only when he was 19, Nongbet has made his mark in the music circuit. When he was younger, he dabbled in all genres but over time opera captured his imagination and the journey has begun.
Italy is next in Nongbet’s line of sight, he wants to go there to train properly since opera is not a well known concept in India and the lucky guy has his whole family supporting him. While he makes it very clear that Bollywood is not on the cards at all, he just wishes the country could have offered more for his art.
‘ICCR’s support to Aroha Choir led by Toshanbor is an attempt to diversify this support to the large number of artistes from Northeast and Meghalaya,’ said Dr. Suresh K Goel, Director General, ICCR.