Singers Sukhwinder Singh and Kanika Kapoor Kick Off Tour with DC Concert

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September 23, 2015

By Geeta Goindi

Indian playback singers Sukhwinder Singh and Kanika Kapoor performing at the Constitution Hall in the nation's capital, at a concert organized by Vijay Taneja of Elite Bollywood Entertainment

September 23, 2015

By Geeta Goindi

Indian playback singers Sukhwinder Singh and Kanika Kapoor performing at the Constitution Hall in the nation's capital, at a concert organized by Vijay Taneja of Elite Bollywood Entertainment

Washington, DC – On September 19, juxtaposing music styles and genres, Indian playback singers Sukhwinder Singh and Kanika Kapoor kicked off the Music Magic Mast Mast Kalaiyaan tour with their very first concert in the nation’s capital.

The event, organized by international promoter Vijay Taneja of Elite Bollywood Entertainment, was held at the spacious Constitution Hall, a befitting opening to a tour which will take the artistes to seven US cities and Toronto, Canada.

Kanika was performing here a year after ‘SLAM! The Tour’ with Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.  At a press conference held at Diya banquet hall in Tysons Corner on the eve of the DC show, she gushed, “It’s exciting to be back in America!  I was here last year for a tour and I’m back for some really fun shows all over, starting with Washington”.

Speaking in Hindi, she said, “It will be fun because this time Sukhwinder Singh Ji and I have come together.  Both of us have very different tastes in music.  We will try to perform together”, in sync, she promised.

Sukhwinder Singh, who received the prestigious Indian National Award for Best Male Playback Singer earlier this year for ‘Bismil’ (Haider), rendered this song as well as other superhit numbers on stage at the Constitution Hall.  Blessed with a powerful voice and versatility, he regaled the audience with his signature songs including ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ (Dil Se), ‘Jai Ho’ (Slumdog Millionaire), ‘Haule Haule’ (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), ‘Beedi Jalaile’ (Omkara) and ‘Marjaani’ (Billu Barber).

Sukhwinder arrived from India some three hours before show time and admitted to be jet-lagged, unlike Kanika who reached a day earlier and was raring to go!

At the Constitution Hall in Washington are: Top – Indian National Award winning singer Sukhwinder Singh with ladies of the audience; below – popular singer Kanika Kapoor with Reema Taneja (left) and a dance-happy fan

About her US tour last year, Kanika admitted that during the first three shows, including Washington, she “was trembling on stage.  This time, I’m ready to rock”, she declared, at the press conference.  “I can’t wait to get on stage.  There’s a big difference”!

She said, candidly, “I’m very excited that I have fans in America.  It’s a very big deal for me.  It’s a new life for me.  I’m very humbled, very thankful that I have so many supporters”.

The Lucknow-born, London-bred playback singer is a consummate artist and performer.  On stage at the Constitution Hall, it was easy to see why her voice is becoming the most sought-after in Bollywood, especially for peppy dance numbers.  Cutting a pretty picture in a shimmering white dress with black embellishments, she belted out her superhit songs — ‘Jugni Ji’, ‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan’ (Roy), ‘Baby Doll’ (Ragini MMS 2), ‘Lovely’ (Happy New Year), ‘Nachan Farrate’ (All Is Well) ‘Desi Look’ (Ek Paheli Leela), and her latest Punjabi number, ‘Teddy Bear’.

At the press conference, we asked her, How did you get your first break?  She answered, “My first song was a cover version of Jugni Ji which is a very old Sufi song and I used to love listening to it all the time.  One day, I just decided to do a re-mix of it and we took it out as a free download on Youtube.  Literally, nowhere else – it was just available on Youtube.  It spread like wildfire.  In three months, we had close to thirty million hits.  The same year (2012), I received a big award for it — the BritAsiatv Award.

A year later, I was called by Ekta Kapoor’s office for a trial of ‘Baby Doll’.  They wanted a similar style and a similar voice for the song.  I don’t know how that happened.  They found me and they flew me to Mumbai for three days.  That’s when I recorded the song.  It was made in front of me, according to my scale and my way of singing.  I came back to London and eight months later, it was released.  It changed my life”! 

There was no turning back – the song catapulted her to fame.  Soon after, she collaborated with the music director duo, Vishal-Shekar, on ‘Lovely’ which was picturized  on Deepika Padukone.

 “I do read, write and teach music”, she told us.  “I’ve done my Masters in Indian classical vocal music.  So, I’m composing also.  A lot of my new work, including ‘Teddy Bear’, ‘Desi Look’, are my own compositions”.

We wanted to know, What does she attribute her success to?  “I think I’ve used my heart and my mind and soul to do everything that the universe wanted from me”, she replied.  “I think it’s worked in my favor”.

In her early thirties, Kanika lives in London with her three children ages 11, 10 and 7.  She frequently commutes back and forth between London and Mumbai for work.

Did you have to struggle a lot, we queried.  “Of course”, she answered.  “I’ve been singing since I was six years old and trying to be a performing artiste since I was 15.  So, it’s been many years”, she emphasized.

 “The last 15 years, I’ve struggled.  Everybody thinks that I came suddenly”, but it’s not true, she told us.  “I’ve tried and tested”, she said, explaining that she lived in Mumbai for nearly two years, then went back to London.  “I kept on coming (to India), even signed with a big music label, but nothing ever happened.  I think it was the right time now, and it happened”, she said.  “The good thing is that I was more mature to handle it and I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and the way I wanted to do it”.

When queried about the pitfalls and sorrow along her journey to success, she countered, “I won’t call it a journey of sorrow at all.  I think I had very good times”, she said.  “I learnt so much.  I believe whatever happens in life is a lesson to teach you.  I believe everyone experiences good and bad days in their life.  I’m not the only one.  I learn from every day and from every experience that I have.  I’m a very happy person”!

Regarding her future projects, she disclosed, “There is a lot coming up.  I’ve taken over Bollywood.  I’ve a lot of new music coming out”, she said, pointing out that just this week, two songs were released: her first single, ‘Teddy Bear’, and ‘Jugni Peeke Tight Hai’ (Kis Kisko Pyaar Karu).

She mentioned that one song will be released almost every two-three weeks.  “Next year is quite packed”, she said.  “Let’s see what happens, where life takes me.  I’m working very hard.  I’m trying to do everything I can.  I see myself as a winner in my eye”.

Scenes from a press conference and meet n' greet with popular Indian playback singer Kanika Kapoor at Diya banquet hall in Vienna, VA

Much to the delight of the gathering at Diya, she sang a few lines from ‘Baby Doll’ and ‘Teddy Bear’.

Vijay Taneja recalled that it was while watching a commercial, earlier this year in February, that he heard ‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan’ and decided he has to do this concert.  “I reached out to Kanika and here we are, doing shows all over the US and Canada”, he told reporters.

 “I have been organizing concerts since 1993 and will continue to do so”, he averred.  “There are many proposals in the pipeline”, he said mentioning talks with Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan.  Noting that he would like to bring newcomers, too, like Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor, he spoke of organizing two world tours a year.

Mr. Taneja underscored, “Sukhwinder Singh and Kanika Kapoor are behind the successful songs of film stars.  They are the big stars who are lending their voices”.


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