Music of ‘Anek’ has influences from the folksy rock era, says Neha Karode

 Music of ‘Anek’ has influences from the folksy rock era, says Neha Karode

Upasana Kaura

Independent musician Neha Karode, known for her musical series Bandish Based Originals, has sung two English songs – O Mama and Rabbit  – in Ayushman Khurana starrer Anek, a film on the relationship between the northeast and the rest of India. Neha channels the influence of one of her idols Joan Baez into the two tracks. She also proves her versatility by performing in the R&B and Rock genres which are starkly different from her own musical endeavours featuring ragas and age old bandishes based on Hindustani Classical Music
“I grew up listening to Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and the Beatles and the music of Anek borrows its influences from the folksy rock era which had such a huge impact on the politics and movements of the day,” she says.
Apart from the two songs of Anek, Neha also had another song release this month – the fun Hindi dance number Nasha Ishq Ka in Shilpa Shetty starrer Nikamma.
Trained in Hindustani Classical Music, in which she holds a Prabhakar, Neha was interested in music ever since she was a child, and still practices for at least two hours a day. “I learn a lot from my guru Smt Ruchi Tailong, a disciple of Pandit Amarnath ji and Smt Shanti Sharma, and as per her guidance I try to increase my strength and singing capacity through regular riyaaz,” she says.
While she is a trained singer, Bollywood happened by chance. “I was working as a promo producer at a company which outsourced editing work to a big studio where music work also used to happen. I happened to make some friends there and they pushed me to try facing the mic by taking baby steps into the recording world like dubbing chorus and backing vocals. Slowly, I started making cover songs and a few run-ins with music directors resulted in scratch singing work which translated into songs,” she says. Excerpts from an interview:

Independent Musician Neha Karode

Share your experience of working on Anek.
I’d been following music director Anurag Saikia’s work for a while and wanted to work with him. I covered a song of his and reached out. Luckily, he heard it and liked it and asked me if I’d like to try singing something for him. He was very understanding of my singing style and scale and made me dub Oh Mama which was written by director Anubhav Sinha sir. It went well and they subsequently gave me another song as well, Rabbit, in the movie.
A lot of times, the stake holders behind movies choose to take well-known singers for the album, but not many people know that the songs are first dubbed as demos or scratches. The main singer usually comes in at the end of the song making process. I have sung many scratches over the three years that I’ve been in the music industry. In the cases of both Anek and Nikamma, the filmmakers were creatively invested and not once mentioned bringing in another singer for the final dub. It’s that trust from the music directors and filmmakers that got me the songs.

How did Bollywood happen and when?
I happened to meet music director Rana Mazumder at a studio once. He was working on the album of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Milan Talkies. There was a beautiful song called Shart which he had made Sonu Nigam sir sing. They wanted to create a female version of that too, so he decided to try having me sing it and it just worked out. But my first film song came three years back and was actually a Bengali song called Mon by legendary music director Jeet Gangulli.

So, you always want to enter Bollywood…
Since film music is huge in India, it kind of becomes a part of the musical dream to also do playback for films. My moving to Mumbai was almost entirely motivated by my desire to sing for movies.

Independent Musician Neha Karode

Between the two – indie space and films, which one do you prefer, and why?
I’m too new to choose. I like that I have absolute creative control over my independent music, so it reflects both my personality and brings forth stories I want to tell, but moving out of my comfort zone and becoming different characters that often emote unlike me is a super fun challenge when doing film music. I love that just as much!

Any upcoming songs/ shows/ project.
I have a music series called Bandish Based Originals in which I bring a personal and more contemporary context to popular raga bandishes. The 5th song in my series, Koyaliya Bole came out two days back (June 28) and I have had the privilege of having singer Abhay Jodhpurkar on board for this song.

What are your other interests
I love watching quizzes and reading and brushing up my general knowledge. I really hope to start participating in quizzes again, something I used to do in my school (Army Public School Noida). Filmmaking is something I still actively pursue and keep directing short films. I have even made two documentaries on visual artists after moving to Mumbai.



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