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Music can't be sold like vada pav: Neha Bhasin on AR Rahman's Wembley concert, piracy, and more

The first desi female rocker is as real as ever

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 13 October 2017, 5:33 PM
T2 Interview
Neha Bhasin is on a roll

Neha Bhasin is on a roll

The OG of desi girl rockers, and indie icon, Neha Bhasin is nothing short of a trailblazer. From her Viva days, to Jag Ghoomeya, she has had quite a journey. She has a fantastic new Punjabi single up her sleeve which is already winning YouTube, and she made some time to chat with T2 Online about all things random, like piracy, YouTube, playlists, and AR Rahman.



"My new single BelIhaziya is an original Punjabi composition. India is such a diverse culture, when you mix that with modern influences, something really cool comes out. I have collaborated with a Tamil rapper in my project and It doesn't matter if we don't understand the laguage, you can connect with it nevertheless," Neha says.


Remember when some people walked out of AR Rahman's Wembley concert in July because he played a few Tamil songs? Crazy? Check. Linguistic chauvinism? Check. Stupid? Check. Oh, by the way, Rahman is totally trolling his Wembley walk-outs with his Canada concerts. The Oscar winner is having two different concerts, one for Tamil listeners (October 21) and one for his Hindi following (October 20). Take that!

"He is a Tamillian! A large part of his music is in Tamil, and people need more tolerance for all kinds of music. Music can't be sold like vada pav. Honestly, there are all kinds of people in this world, and as artistes we can only do what we believe in. If they walk out, they walk out. It's their bad, not ours," Neha told T2 Online.

Neha herself has a very distinct regional infuence in her last few numbers. "I started singing Punjabi folk, as my partner Sameeruddin recommended it. I never wanted to do cover songs, so he told me 'You're a Punjabi so why don't you sing it in Punjabi," added Neha, whose Belihaziya was just released two days ago, and already has 93,000 views. Oh, and did we mention, her YouTube channel has 92,027 subscribers?



"Today, you need to make your own material, and have your own little army running on your side. Just make yourself indispensable as a content maker," said the singer, who just might be one of the biggest multitaskers of Indian contemporary music, and a total YouTube sensation.

"YouTube is one the fairest portals, and the marketing is better than Facebook and Instagram, which are kind of corrupt. But even on YouTube, a lot of the views for the trailers and stuff are bought, yaar. So, there are a lot of things involved," added Neha.



"First of all, we need a music industry. We need labels to support artistes and musicians. Most labels support trash music, because they think when a song talks about abs or jeans, iska Gucci ka bag, etc, they sell. They want you to do a certain kind of music. But if you're doing your own thing, they will not support you," said Neha, and also admitted that making an album is a waste of time today, and compilations and singles are always a better option.

"There is still a lot of piracy in India, and I don't think we have strict privacy laws. So an album won't work," said Neha, also revealing that she is working on a few Bollywood projects.



Neha also told us a little about her playlist. "I listen to Billie Holiday, when I am really tired. And I love Alessia Cara's song Scars to Your Beautiful, which I think I might be addicted to. I also listen to Beyonce, of course. I recently heard Anusha Mani's new sing Savera, and I'm very impressed with the band Sanam's digital presence. Also, Gurdas Maan ji's new stuff is great."

Read more:

Why don't people know what I look like? Neha Bhasin on the pitfalls of playback singing

We don't have a music industry: Singer Neha Bhasin

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