[Soumita]: As a person, you can say Soumita is synonymous with unpredictability. My profession demands good public relations as a result of which people often think I am an extrovert. But the truth is I am not, I am a simple person who’s world starts and ends with music. My day begins with Riyaaz, being a night owl sometimes the wee hours of night becomes my riyaaz time. Being the only child I have always been a pampered daddy’s girl. Even though I have never been accused of being a brat, yet my record remains astounding. Honestly, I am the ‘girl bro’ in my crazy gang who is the epitome of unpredictability. I am never confined to the limit of normal or mediocrity. My calmness remains intact when I am either performing, practicing or listening to music or I am reading a book. Needless to say when I am not doing any of these, then my mind is planning something very disruptive. My father calls my unusual calmness ‘before storm calmness’. Paint brush and books keep me busy when I am not practicing or performing.
[BV]: From architect to a singer and a blogger, what has been some of the major milestones in your life.
[Soumita]: Honestly, architecture kept the artist within me alive. Architecture provided me to explore various cultural aspects. As a result of which I have been able to extract musical inspirations while exploring a different culture. Music has always been my soulmate since childhood. I started my journey as a child artist. The journey from being a child artist to a teen singer is not easy.
Speaking of major milestones one thing I would like to mention, when I was young my grandmother used to say “ Nobody ultimately speaks of who came first in class forever, to become a forever factor you have to win hearts not brain ”. This is the most simple yet inspiring thing that motivated me. Honestly, acknowledgment from media, winning accolades e.t.c happened to me much before I could understand my career’s milestones. I am thankful to my audience as it is neither an album nor some television show that made me a popular face it was my viewers who made me ‘internet sensation’. My international debut ‘Ishq ‘ with Miami-based record label became a mega hit overnight. This has been undoubtedly a turning point in my career. I am working on a couple of originals yet to release this year.
[BV]: You are a celebrity singer. Tell us about the kind of songs you prefer or genres you sing. Have you taken any formal training?
[Soumita]: My playlist is a proof of unity in diversity indeed. It includes mostly Enrique Iglesias numbers, some of the Poets of Fall numbers, Ustad Rashid Khan’s playback numbers and some Tagore songs too. Indie Pop and Melody are my genres of preference. My genre of performance exhibits similar versatility to my playlist my genre of performance includes, melody, indie-pop, and Tagore numbers as well.
I have taken formal training in Tagore Music and Shastriya Sangeet. My training in hymns and carols started during school life.
[BV]: Tell us something about your blog, ‘Dollupandtakecare’.
[Soumita]: Dollupandtakecare is my brain child. Music has always been my soulmate since childhood, I already mentioned. My journey of DIY started the self-taught stylist, MUA in making learned from various trial and error attempts. Honestly, those gigs were not big enough to hire a Stylist or MUA. But I have always been a strong believer of perfection. This journey was a saga of trial and errors. There came a day, I basically no longer needed stylist or MUA for a stage appearance. I started my blog because I thought there are many people who are either aspiring actor /singer/model who has no other option but becomes their own MUA and stylist. This is how my brainchild Dollupandtakecare started its journey.
Dollupandtakecare made slow and steady progress where I started sharing about ‘take care’ thing. The journey that started with the how to deck up thing slowly started preaching the role of taking care. Even though music keeps me super busy but Dollupandtakecare is my medium to communicate with my lovely readers and connect with them. Dollupandtakecare shall continue it’s journey as long as my lovely readers keep showering their love for me and Dollupandtakecare.
[BV]: What has been your greatest achievement as a singer?
[Soumita]: I believe that the day I start gauging my achievements as big and small my career shall reach the stagnant point. Honestly, achievements matter, but the great-greater-greatest concept shall always remain variable. But yes, I pretty much belong to the generation where ‘Reality Shows’ have measured success and talent . Therefore, reality shows have been doors of a big break. I think I walk against the tide. I have never been a part of any, my audience discovered me, it is their love and appreciation that actually pushed me to the industry.
[BV]: Who is you favourite singer that always inspires you?
[Soumita]: My Parents. My father is a renowned Rabindra Sangeet exponent and it was he who originally inspired me to explore every genre of music I could relate to. He encouraged me to spread my wings of creativity. My mother is also associated with the entertainment world. She works as a part time critic. Being the daughter of a critic, I have always been aware of my strengths and weaknesses.
Since my teenage days, I have been assisting my father in musical arrangements and compositions. I believe that the process of working on a new composition needs a lot of dedication. For me, lyrics play a very important role. Lyrics decides what kind of inclination the tune requires. Take melancholy for instance, melancholy without the use of ‘komal gandhar’ is a lot like taking a fish out of the water.
Shona Mahapatra, Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias and Mohit Chauhan are some of my favorite artists and I have learned a lot from them. Mahapatra’s versatility is her grip in the Gharana of Indian Classical music that reciprocates equally to her capability in unique folk. She is equally amazing with semi-classical playback numbers. Her versatility is praiseworthy and this makes her every newcomer’s inspiration. I have also been a Celine Dion fan since childhood. My kind of music is something where the melody is the backbone. Needless to say, Dion is a melody queen. Expression plays an indispensably significant role in music and Enrique is undoubtedly the king of expressions. I love Mohit Chauhan’s songs too. His songs have a quintessential western touch that blends so perfectly with tunes of the root. This kind of versatility is assuredly infrequent.
[BV]: As a celebrity, how do you manage your professional and personal lives?
[Soumita]: ‘Celebrity’ I have so many sweet and sour memories attached to this particular word. The sourness attached to the word actually reminds me of ‘sarcasm’ that came in disguise of appreciation so many times. It took me pretty long to understand what is meant to stay and what not. As they say after every dark night comes a bright morning. I have sweet memories attached to this word as well. The closest friend of mine usually teases me calling me ‘Celeb’. You can call it our own space of amusement. I personally feel ‘Celebrity’ is a relative concept. Above everything else, I am like the girl next door. I try to maintain a strict balance between my professional and personal life. I am family personal, single till now. My world revolves around my family and friends. I try to draw a line between friends and acquaintance as much as possible. I am the craziest person in my gang and my celebrity image barely bothers my friends ‘cause I have never let my professional image enter my personal life.
[BV]: Your opinion about the current scenario in your field. What are the major challenges? How does the industry treat new talent?
[Soumita]: Music is a vast concept, it is a religion. It is sad to see the music Industry becoming another extension of the Film Industry these days. Independent artists also focus on cover and remix trend these days. I wish independent artists came up with songs like Alisha Chinai’s Made in India. I am not going to say Pop artists do not focus on Albums any longer. Some of them are definitely hitting the right chords, but the problem lies elsewhere. Those amazing songs are not reaching Indian audience in the right way. From Radio Stations to popular Music TV Channels, all of them are interested in allocating the majority of slots to Filmy Songs. Therefore, it is becoming absolutely difficult for Album songs to reach an audience. When we were in school, Euphoria’s songs and music videos used to be the topic of discussions. During the advent of Band Music in our country, I have seen bands performing Euphoria’s Songs on stage. During Inter school band competitions, Euphoria songs gave tough competition to other songs.
But these days a song is recognized more by the name of the movie it belongs to. Honestly, I don’t see the Album trend returning. But yes, people still appreciate good singles. Gajendra Verma’s, Emptiness proved this point, a couple of years ago. I wasn’t expecting too much from my song, Ishq. Good work still manages to hit the right chord.
Frankly, the industry barely believes in talent any longer, the word ‘talent hunt’ also bears ‘talent’ which is the biggest hypocrisy under the sun. The challenges faced mostly, undoubtedly includes the dirtiest lobby game trend prevalent in the industry. Honestly, this aspect is something responsible for the monotony in music.
The industry as I mentioned believes in lobby trend, therefore treating new talent with a warm welcome is something that never happens in Indian Music industry. The Britishers have left but the powerhouses of the industry are still the firm believers of manipulation and the divide and rule policy.
[BV]: What are your future plans?
[Soumita]: It would be hard for people to accept that a lazy bum like me can be ambitious. These days I am concentrating mostly on originals only. However, I have plans for experimentation with Tagore music too.
[BV]: Any advice for budding singers in the country?
[Soumita]: Oh yes, I have a crucial lesson to share with them. After so many projects, I finally realized that there’s no substitute for hard work. Follow your passion and come out of your comfort zone. You need to fail many times before tasting success for the first time. Be prepared for that and the world will be.
We wish Soumita all the best for all her endeavors ahead and a flourishing singing career ahead. Listen to one of her wonderful songs here: