Bollywood took away pop singers: Shibani Kashyap

Shibani Kashyap tells Aman Kanth of about her new album, future plans & interests.

Shibani Kashyap is not only beautiful, but is also an equally talented singer, composer and a class performer, whose inimitable style and high energy level always win over the crowd.
Starting her career with AIR FM jingles, Shibani Kashyap has come a long way and has dabbled with both small screen and Bollywood. She first came into limelight with her debut album ‘Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat’ and blew us all away with the haunting melody ‘Sajna Aa Bhi Ja’ from ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai II.’

The versatile singer-composer has also sung in ‘Mr Ya Miss’, ‘Zinda’, ‘1971’, ‘Sunday’, ‘Maharathi’, ‘Sirf’, ‘Woodstock Villa’ and has also come out with her private albums - ‘Thodi Thodi Sanj’, ‘Nagamagee’, ‘Nazakat.’ An active live performer, Shibani has performed all over the world (UK, UAE, New Zealand, Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia).

The songstress recently released her latest album ‘My Free Spirit’, an Indipop album that boasts of an eclectic mix of various sound spaces. Talking to Aman Kanth of Spicezee, Shibani Kashyap spoke at length about her new album, her band ‘Sojourne’ and what ails the Indian pop industry.

Aman: Hi Shibani, please accept my hearty congratulations on cutting your new album ‘My Free Spirit’?

Shibani: (Smiles) Oh yes, thanks a lot.

Aman: From signing jingles, dabbling in Bollywood projects, reality shows and cutting your private album - you have come a long way. How fulfilling has been your musical journey?

Shibani: It has been a fulfilling journey, an interesting journey. During all these years, I have been discovering and re-discovering myself. As an artist, I feel that we must keep expressing ourselves, be it Bollywood projects or cutting private albums.

Aman: Despite the raging success of your debut album ‘Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat’ (1998) and equally acclaimed compositions like ‘Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa’ for film ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai II’ (2003), why don’t we get to listen to you more?
Shibani: It’s all about getting the right opportunity, something which didn’t come my way. Though I would love to work for Bollywood, I have been quite selective, as I don’t want to associate my voice with just another song.

Aman: Can you please tell us about your new album, ‘My Free Spirit’?

Shibani: ‘My Free Spirit’ is an ensemble of different genres of music. The album offers nine mellifluous songs, which have a mélange of Arabic and Turkish tunes, Rhythm and Blues and Classic Rock and a remix song apart from a Sufi number ‘Alvida.’ The album also boasts of a Disco number, which is crooned by the ‘Disco king’ Bappi Lahiri.

Aman: Tell us about your musical influences?

Shibani: I have always been inspired by Sting, then there has been the 1960s music, there are Beatles and the Doobie Brothers. Beyond this, RD Burman and Asha Bhonsle have been huge inspirations.

Aman: Your favourite Bollywood male and female singer?

Shibani: My favourite male singer is the eternal Kishore Kumar and favourite female singer has to be Asha Bhonsle.

Aman: You also have a band called ‘Sojourne’, please tell us something about it?

Shibani: ‘Sojourne’ is my passion. It’s a five-piece band which comprises extremely talented instrumentalists and musicians. In ‘Sojourne’, we play organic music, its raw and unplugged, not the electronic music.

Aman: Don’t you think that the pop industry is facing a bad time in comparison to the late 1990s? What could be the possible reason behind it?

Shibani: 1990s was the boom time for the pop industry. Pop music, like Bollywood, had its own sound during this time, when it was established. However, the downfall began when Bollywood took away the pop music and singers for films. You see one just can’t blame the artists alone as media too played a crucial part. Nowadays, there is hardly any music channel that gives free airplay to Indi-pop music. When I came into the pop industry with my debut album ‘Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat,’ I was getting due airtime and became MTV artist of the month. Today, the music, which we get to see on music channels, is just Bollywood songs.

Aman: If not a singer, what would you have been?

Shibani: (Smiles) Well, I can’t be anything else! I could have been a painter, because I can sketch or else an interior designer.

Aman: When not making music, how do you unwind?

Shibani: I love to watch films and I do like sketching and painting.

Aman: What’s your message to your fans?

Shibani: Please go out there and buy original albums.

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