A musical interview with singer Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury

Video Interview : Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury

SomlataCalcutta, Nov 19, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hirak Bhattacharya chats up singer Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury in this video interview about her music, experience and current and future projects, her dual careers and her thoughts on the current Indian music scenario. You might remember Somlata from an audio interview posted on WBRi just before the release of Anjan Dutta's (interview) latest Bengali feature film "Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na" where she was the primary female playback singer.

Tell us how you came into professional singing.

In my childhood days before I learned the letters, I had learned ‘sa re ga ma’. Most of my family members were involved with music and my grandma had inspired me to take up music. She had played a major role as she was the one to inspire me to attend music classes and boost up my confidence. In the beginning it became quite tough for me to get acquainted with music. I used to focus more on learning rather than putting my heart and soul in it. As I was good at music, people visiting our house often requested me to sing a song for them. Once a visitor had come to our place. He was quite involved with his work and had not requested me to sing in front of him. I was quite perplexed at this and later asked my mother, “Mom, why didn’t he ask me to sing today?”

Though love for music was primary in my mind, my family also stressed the importance of academics so that I could grab some basic qualifications in my life. My sister was often scolded if she did not come home with satisfactory grades, but they were a bit lenient on me knowing my passion for music.

Now many of the youngsters who are participating in reality TV shows face a distinct possibility of a disrupted future. Though they are struggling a lot, they are not always achieving a beneficial outcome.

Don’t you think reality TV shows provide a much needed platform for exposing the talents of participants ?

We should wait for the right time. Youngsters should concentrate on the learning part rather than participating in reality shows at an early age. If the person is enriched with talent, he or she will find limelight. In a reality show only one person stands first while the others don’t make it. To some extent it demoralizes them forcing them to lose faith.

How did you get into profession?

I stepped into the world of music as a backing vocalist. I had also put up a performance in a tsunami relief fund-raising album with which many great personalities from Kolkata, Bombay and south India were also involved. After the album was released I was invited to a music talk show hosted by Parambrata (Chattopadhyay) on a popular Bengali TV channel. This program opened up several opportunities for me.

Did u struggle a lot to come in limelight?

No, it was just the other way. I never had to struggle much to come into limelight. I have a parallel career which helps me to perform better since I do not have to worry too much about succeeding.

Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na is one of your greatest success stories. How did you get to work in this film and what did you take away from the experience?

Cross Connection was the first film where I had an opportunity of playback singing. Neel (Dutt) had played a major role in getting me this break. Last year I was in the U.S.A. when Neel sent me a e-mail asking me to contact him as soon as possible as it was very urgent. When I called him he revealed the project “Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na” and signed me up as the playback singer. The project was completed once I returned back to Kolkata.

What are your current and upcoming projects ?

Many upcoming films are there in my pipeline. So I am just looking forward to it.

Tell us about the other career that you pursue in parallel.

I am a lecturer of psychology - a field that is also very dear to me. As the world of singing is quite unstable, I like to stay in touch with another profession so that it can act as a source of income in bad times. I love music, so I don’t like compromising much in it. I don’t consider singing as a means to earn money, I sing because I love to do it. As I m involved in a different profession, it provides me with financial stability.

Future plans ?

I don’t believe in long term planning as am not certain I will be able to execute them. I tend to take one step at a time in the present. I put my full dedication and determination into music, inspired by love of my audience. I consider their decision to be final and I have full faith in them.

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