Art & Entertainment

Nikhita Gandhi: Any Duet I’ve Sung With Arijit Singh Will Always Have The Seesaw Tipped Due To His Fandom

Nikhita Gandhi opens up about how she’s breaking the ice with YRF with ‘Leke Prabhu Ka Naam’, how she likes to collaborate with Pritam over and over, seeing Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan groove to her vocals and that too in a picturesque location like Cappadocia, and lots more.

Nikhita Gandhi
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Nikhita Gandhi is on a high after the massive success of her latest song ‘Leke Prabhu Ka Naam’ from ‘Tiger 3’. The song, where she is singing alongside Arijit Singh, is getting a lot of attention as this is the first time Arijit Singh has sung for Salman Khan. The song has gone viral and is also trending on all music charts. Also, this is Nikhita Gandhi’s first song for YRF.

Talking to Prateek Sur, the songstress opens up about how she’s breaking the ice with YRF with such a mammoth song, how she likes to collaborate with Pritam over and over, seeing Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan groove to her vocals and that too in a picturesque location like Cappadocia, and lots more. She also has some advice on what newbies can do when they come to B-Town to try their luck out as a singer.

Excerpts:

YRF is known for its music – and this legacy was further strengthened with the music of ‘Tiger 3’. What has been your earliest collaboration with YRF music, and how did it land on your plate?

I think this is my first film with YRF! This question actually made me dig deep into my discography to cross-check and see which earlier film I had sung for was a YRF one… But wow! Can’t believe I’m breaking this ice with such a mammoth film. I owe it to Pritam da and his team.

‘Leke Prabhu Ka Naam’ is touted to be the biggest party anthem of the year. The song went on to become an instant hit. What kind of challenges or difficulties did you face while prepping for the song?

I didn’t particularly face any challenges or difficulties so to speak while recording the song. It was a very natural composition and scale for me to just be myself on. I loved that I got to rap and design my rap flow in this song. The only suspense in the time leading up to the release of a song is usually the fact that you’ve made it onto to track or not. I had the greatest time recording this.

The song is getting massive fandom as it’s the first time Arijit Singh is singing for Salman Khan. Do you think that is somewhat putting your work on the back foot and making Arijit Singh the more prominent name in the song?

On the contrary, I think all of this buzz is what’s adding to the instant virality of the song and only makes me happier. To be honest, any duet I’ve sung with Arijit will always have the seesaw tipped due to his fandom and I feel proud to associate with the absolute best.

‘Tiger 3’ is a franchise film from the spy universe. Have you sung for any other song in any of the films before of the YRF spy universe?

I really don’t know if I have (laughs). I didn’t even know I had sung for ‘Tiger 3’ until about a week before the song’s release (facepalm). That’s just me, I don’t usually ask. I like it that way, keeps me focused on my performance in the studio and not worried about the pressure of the scale of the film.

The chemistry in the video between Salman and Katrina is fiery. They are a delight to watch as they dance in Cappadocia, Turkey. What was your reaction when you saw the final song with the video and Salman-Katrina dancing to your voice? What was your first thought?

My first thought was why didn’t I go to Cappadocia when I went all the way to Turkey for a show? For real that was my first thought. The landscape is so beautiful and peculiar there and I love how the video has turned out. I’m just happy that my voice at least reverberated in all those gorgeous locations.

You’ve worked with Pritam in the recent hit earlier this year ‘Tere Pyaar Mein’ from ‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar’. What is that quality in Pritam that brings you back always to work with him?

You said it in your question, it’s QUALITY. Dada is such a perfectionist and works so hard to maintain and deliver the absolute best quality of work. He works with the topmost engineers and producers and that is one studio in which I feel like I am always in the best hands. His genius in his craft is also probably why I forget to ask what project I’m singing for and just sing.

Reading about you, I came to know that you’ve worked with Pritam quite a lot. Even as a newcomer in your initial days in the film industry. Did he ever compliment you in those initial days or give you some guru mantra, which you remember even today and follow it religiously?

Yes, in fact, my debut in Bollywood was with ‘Raabta’ which is Pritam Da’s song. When he first met me, he thought I was not from India because of my “Western” style of singing and was quite shocked when I spoke to him in Bangla. Dada has randomly messaged me a few times when he hears an American artist that reminds him of me. I find it very endearing how absolutely real and spontaneous he is. I love that even though he is such a big personality, he is so approachable and seeks the utmost importance in feedback from his team. I love that. I always try to imbibe that quality of being so receptive to your team’s input.

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While we do have numerous talented male music composers in the film industry like Pritam, but we don’t have too many female music composers in the Hindi music industry. Why do you think women are not taking up music composing for films as much as men do?

I think this gender topic usually and almost always boils down to a general population situation. I’d like to say that in the current times, these stats have started to change and I know tons of female composers, instrumentalists and engineers. We are just waiting for them to surface in the larger diaspora. I also feel it’s a man’s world and society has a very male lens (this includes most women too). We are conditioned to be comfortable about things when a man is in charge. So once we evolve (which we are already), a lot of these things will change too.

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There is always a constant debate about whether a person is born as a singer or can one person learn the art of singing over the years with practice. What is your opinion on this debate?

I think talent is something you are born with. What you do with it is in your hands. It’s very important to identify what exactly it is that is your “thing” (not just singing but any talent), and then putting in the hard work.

You’re known for songs that are heavy on melody. But in recent years, we have seen that a lot of songs are heavy on electronics and less on melody. Do you think there is a shift in music with newer technology coming in every now and then?

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Every generation has that one thing we are all excited about. Right now, music production is so boundless in possibility due to AI, that you can take a chord and run it through a plugin and get all the notes of that instrument and change the chord itself, all on your laptop. It’s insane. Until a few years ago people used to hunt for “Karaoke” or “instrumental” versions of songs on the internet and pay experts to get it done, and now again there are software which will do it for you online with the click of a button. All these things make music also evolve in a certain way. Whatever may be the case in the sound design though, I truly believe a genuinely good song is that which even if you strip down from all the heavy production and just sing with the guitar or snaps, still sounds amazing. Which means the melody is STILL the core and supremely important.

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With so many singers coming to Bollywood these days, how difficult is it to create a niche for yourself? What quality of your voice do you think differentiates you from the rest?

It’s absolutely important to be yourself and never try to mimic anyone’s journey or expression. I think that’s what defines any artist. I’m so grateful that this industry and listeners have accepted my raspy tone and I’ve got such amazing opportunities to express myself. I just try to stay grounded and keep doing my thing.

What next can we expect to see from you?

Well, I have a lot of music in the pipeline. I have a really cool song called ‘Takna’ coming out with Shashwat Singh (a single) and of course my song ‘High Hukku’ with King from his latest album.

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