Come February 13 and 93.5 RED FM along with T-Series will go live with the second season of Indie Hain Hum. The show, a part of Red Indies, serves as a platform to promote and support independent artistes as well as grow independent music scenario in India. The 12-week long show will be hosted by the multi-talented TULSI KUMAR as host.
In a conversation with SAURABH TANKHA, the daughter of the founder of T-Series Gulshan Kumar talks about the changes in the music industry over the last 15 years, her musical collaborations, the role of her parents in her life and more…
Tell us about your association with Indie Hain Hum Season 2.
A singer has turned host for Indie Hain Hum Season 2 (IHHS2), a show that offers a platform to upcoming artistes and connects them with the audiences. It has been a fun experience but a lot of hard work, from getting the right diction and tonality, has gone into its making. There has been learnings too where I have understood that a host needs to be forever full of enthusiasm, energy and excitement and pass it on to the artistes too. Through the show, we have tried to capture the essence of different genres of music throughout the country and picked up a variety of independent artistes. Another interesting aspect is the variety of musicians and my friends from the music fraternity who will grace the show to encourage these artistes. There will be some conversations with them and we will be playing some games too.
Who was your first guru and what role did he or she play in your becoming an accomplished singer?
It has to be my father (late Gulshan Kumar) though he didn’t teach me music. But as a child, I saw him working passionately for everything. He had no musical background but he made a place in the music industry. On the music front, Suresh Wadkar is my first guru for it is at his academy that I started learning light classical music from the age of six.
Five qualities required to become an accomplished singer and performer.
Dedication and passion towards music.
Consistency in riyaaz.
Lot of patience as things do not come easily.
Not getting stressed if things don’t go according to plans.
Forever being confident about what you do.
What transformations have you witnessed over the last one-and-a-half decades that you have been a part of the music industry?
Loads. In the 90s, pop and indie music were big but it died down in the beginning of 2000. In 2015, the genre made a strong comeback. When I started, a handful of singers ruled the music fraternity. Today, with new age digital and social media, a huge amount of talent is coming forward. New voices are being welcomed with open arms, by the industry and the listeners. I experience a more friendly vibe and atmosphere now. Also, a lot of independent music is happening. Most artistes have their own YouTube channels with a huge fan base. One could only showcase talent through a film song or on television earlier but now, you are with the world through a phone. That’s the power of social media.
Your strength in terms of the genre when it comes to playback singing?
My strength is romantic tracks and soulful numbers. But at the same time, I enjoy rendering fast, peppy numbers like O saki-saki re, Shehr ki ladki, Nachange saari raat. Then there is the soulful zone of Soch na sake, Tera banjaoonga, Tum jo aaye zindagi mein and Baat ban gayi. Getting in the more versatile zone is something I want to make my strength and that’s the reason I attempted the pop-rock genre in my independent song, Tanhai.
If you were to rate the music lovers of a city in terms of understanding music, which will be your top pick and why?
Kolkata as the audiences adore musicians and music. They have great understanding of music. The Northeast too is filled with talented musicians and people who love music.
How did the period of Covid-19 treat Tulsi Kumar?
I wouldn’t like to talk about the negatives for we’ve seen and heard enough. As for the positives, I got an opportunity to connect with myself, jam with musicians and collaborate on a lot of music. Tere naal, Naam, Tanhai, Zara thehro happened during lockdown. This period gave me an opportunity to know what exactly I wanted to do.
You are most comfortable when collaborating with…
There has been a lot of learnings whenever I have collaborated with an artiste. The year 2020 was also one with a lot of collabs where I worked with Darshan Rawal on Tere naal, with Millind Gaba on Naam and with Sachin-Parampara for Tanhai. Every genre was special and different.
How do you feel when a song which you thought would be a blockbuster hit fails to hit a chord with the listeners?
To be honest, I feel bad that sometimes good music is not just what the audiences want. Sometimes they want to get entertained, on others they want something which wouldn’t make sense but it clicks. There is no sure shot formula of success in the industry. I believe if you keep doing good work and maintain consistency, your audiences know you and always love you for that.
Your favourite Bollywood song (which you sung) as well as album/ singles.
Soch na sake (Airlift) and Tera ban jaunga (Kabir Singh) in Bollywood. When it comes to singles, Tanhai is really close to my heart. It needed me to tweak around my voice and sing on a different scale.
If not a singer, what would you have wanted to take up as a career?
Though I’ve never thought about it, I would perhaps be working with our label and coordinating music ie if I wasn’t blessed with a good voice. But around music for sure.
What is Tulsi Kumar doing when she is not singing?
I’m taking care of everything happening around my house. If not home responsibilities, then I indulge in online shopping.
What role has your mother played in your life?
My mom has played a major role in shaping me up, my character and the person I’m today. After my father, she always encouraged me pursue singing despite all ups and downs. As nobody sings in my family, she ensured I got the right teachers and correct guidance. She kept us grounded that we valued everything, remained humble and down-to-earth.
Who has been the most inspirational person in your life and why?
I draw a lot of inspiration from Lata Mangeshkarji. I read a lot about the journey of international singers to get inspired. I’ve always looked up to my father for all his achievements, they are really inspirational.
Memories of your late father…
I had just 12 years to create memories with my father. I wish I could spend more time. Every moment with him has been a special memory but the fondest one is when he bought me a grand piano when I was just seven.
Your future projects.
I’m doing a lot of independent music in different genres and collaborating with a lot of artistes. There are a few film songs too.