Nisha Kataria may be a new name in the international music circuit, but the pretty lass is sure making waves in the West with her musical legerdemain. Born to Indian parents in Canada, right from her childhood, Nisha has been a passionate singer. From winning the Martin Luther King Scholarship at the tender age of 11, Nisha’s accomplishments grew with her age and within a short span of time, she became a well known name in Phoenix, Arizona.
However, the biggest moment in her life came in the year 2003 when she was discovered by the King of Pop Michael Jackson. MJ was simply amazed by Nisha’s voice and even invited her to the Neverland ranch to record a duet - something he rarely does. Well, Nisha’s claim to fame does not end here as the gifted singer has also toured with Westlife. Known for her soulful voice and mellifluous singing, Nisha’s music has a whiff of East. Be it Hip Hop, R ‘n’ B, Pop or Soul, she is a versatile singer who is equally adept in various musical genres.
In a freewheeling chat with Spicezee.com’s Aman Kanth , Nisha Kataria talks about her future plans and the love of her life – music!
Aman : Tell us something about your background; what exactly brought you into music?
Nisha : I was born in Canada and I now live in Phoenix, Arizona where it is sunny and warm. I have been craving the spotlight since I was 3 years old. I started by putting on shows for family dinner guests. I would do funny acts and sing songs. My first musical accomplishment was being the youngest scholarship winner at the age of 11 for the Martin Luther King Scholarship for Phoenix, Arizona.
Aman : Have you taken any formal training in western music?
Nisha : I try not to do too much vocal training for music, but I stick to pretty standard voice warm-ups that I do every morning to keep my voice going.
Aman : In 2003, you were discovered by the King of Pop Michael Jackson and even performed at his 45th Birthday. It is believed that the talented singer even planned a duet with you. Indeed, it would have been a great high to be the find of Michael Jackson?
Nisha : Michael Jackson loved my voice and because of this, he invited me and my mother to stay at Neverland ranch for a couple of months where we lived in a beautiful guest house right by the lake. I recorded everyday alongside Michael. We recorded a song that he wrote. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Michael would come up with beautiful melodies that he would sing for me, and then I would repeat this melody into the microphone for the recording. He was like my producer and I, his instrument. Vocally he would give me the idea and I would sing it back just like he wanted. The song ended up being beautiful. It was quite an honor to get my big start with Michael Jackson! Not a lot of people can say that, so I think it’s pretty neat that I can.
Aman : Can you tell a bit about your musical influences and genre?
Nisha : I love various genres of music. I love mainly Pop and Soul music, but I even like a bit of Country. Basically, I like upbeat music that makes you dance, and I also am deeply in love with slow ballads that show off the voice more. I love Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston.
Aman : What is your upcoming album all about?
Nisha : My upcoming album is about all the necessities of life - love, happiness and just having fun. Some of the tracks are fun and flirty and will make you want to dance, while others are more heartfelt and will make you want to sing along.
Aman: When are you releasing the album?
Nisha: Oh we are ready for the launch, almost. I and my manager keep debating which should be the cover song- that’s taking a lot of time.
Aman : Apart from singing, what else interests you?
Nisha : I love animals and I love watching movies. I love reading books that have been turned into movies. I read the book about 75% of the way, then I watch the movie, and then I finish the book! It’s pretty exciting. Besides this, I love hanging out with friends and family. I love to laugh! My sense of humor keeps me alive.
Aman : If not a musician, what would you have been?
Nisha : A veterinarian for sure!
Aman : Being born and brought up in Canada, do you miss India?
Nisha : Yes and I look forward to coming to India. India is so magical and I am proud to have parents that were born in India. India has so much influence on all other parts of the world. The food is great, the clothes are stunning; the music is incredible, the culture is so beautiful, and Shah Rukh Khan resides there! What more can you say!!
Aman : Does Bollywood interest you; given a chance will you be interested in singing for Hindi films?
Nisha : I love Bollywood! The movies are just so much fun to watch. My favorite actor is Shah Rukh Khan! He is just so convincing in what ever message he is trying to convey. He is one of the few actors that have actually made me cry. I cried in the end of ‘Devdas’! His acting was so powerful in that film! I even made all of my American friends watch that film! I would love to sing a song for a Hindi film one day! Especially one that Shah Rukh Khan is in.
Aman : Any plans to tour India?
Nisha : I believe we will be coming to India for the Energy Globe Awards. Besides that, I would love to get some things going in India, hopefully I can soon.
Aman : Finally, is Nisha single?
Nisha : For the moment, yes! Right now I am focusing 100 percent on my career. There is plenty of time for love a little bit later.
Aman: Michael Jackson has recently passed away, what do you think the kind of musical legacy he has left behind?
Nisha : I can`t believe that it happened. He was the nicest human being I`ve ever met. I, my mom and family were the last guests to live in Neverland.