EXCLUSIVE – Shashaa Tirupati: It is very difficult to be as talented as Arijit Singh | PINKVILLA



In an exclusive interview with PINKVILLA, Shashaa Tirupati spoke at length about her experience of singing for Half Girlfriend and much more.



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Shashaa Tirupati impressed everyone with her amazing and seductive voice in The Humma Song from ok Jaanu. Now, she has crooned two songs for the upcoming film Half Girlfriend that is, Baarish and Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga for Shraddha Kapoor.

In an exclusive interview with PINKVILLA, Shashaa spoke at length about her experience of singing for Half Girlfriend, her musical journey and also about her mentor A R Rahman.


You have sung two songs in Half Girlfriend, Baarish and Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga. So, how was the experience?

I had a lot of fun recording both the songs. Baarish we had recorded a year and a half ago. My part in the song although it’s pretty same, it’s the signature theme for Shraddha Kapoor and a very integral part of the movie. Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga I have sung with Arijit Singh and it is a major breakthrough for me. It’s a song for which I am extremely grateful to Mithoon for having me on board. It’s my first duet with Arijit. The composition itself is a signature Mithoon style with that soul, feel, emotion and passion that love has. I feel blessed that I got a song like this. Mohit Suri and Chetan Bhagat they all heard the song and they were happy with my voice. Shraddha and Arjun have also been extremely supportive of me. They even tweeted and really appreciated my work. 

What was your reaction when you were approached for both the songs?

Someone from Mithoon’s team had called me and they said that Mithoon would like to record a song with me. I went and recorded it, he wanted a different soul, love and emotion. So, I did it with my singing abilities and it worked. 

You recently met Shraddha Kapoor. What kind of a person is she?

I love her, she doesn’t have that star attitude. She is very humble and very warm as a person. The moment we met I was like, “We finally meet. Hi Shraddha, Shashaa here.” She was like, “Oh my god!” She hugged me. She was very warm and supportive of my singing in both the songs and for me, that means a lot. She has been in the industry for some time and this is my first or second song, a big song in Bollywood. We need that encouragement and I received a lot of that from Shraddha. She is a beautiful singer herself. It is very satisfying when someone who has that sensibility of music and as well as is the face of the song, when someone like that says, “You’ve done a great job.” It just took my confidence to a different level. 

You are one of the few singers who made it big from a singing reality show. Do you think reality shows help in making the career?

I think that’s b******t. For me, reality show did nothing. I would never participate in a reality show as a contestant ever again in my life. I did it because it gave me some money which made me independent so that I can do something on my own. It’s fine if people want to participate, I have nothing against them. On a personal level, I won’t do it. At the end of the day, it’s great to be seen or become popular and also a good way to make money. But it depends on being discovered, which you may or may not. After having done reality shows, no one called me for work. My work came from, my own hard work which was going to people and meeting them. I took a long route, I went and met composers, I gave them my CDs. I used to go to the studios and used to wait outside for six hours in the rain. I have been through that struggle despite having done reality shows. Having said that, there are people who were in a reality show and have made it big.

How difficult is it to make your own space and mark in the industry as there is a tough competition?

It’s true that there is tons of talent and, every day new singers are coming up. But at the same time, it is also true that we have more opportunities as there are more music composers involved in films. Because of multiple composers in one film, there are multiple opportunities to make people sing songs. We have so much talent, I take it in a positive way, I feel that there are many beautiful singers out there, there’s so much for me to learn. No one can take what you have in you, there are plenty of talented people. Everyone has their own attributes, signatures, pros which I might not have or another singer might not have. The beauty of the whole thing is that composers have become more open to experimenting with tones or voices. It just increases the number of opportunities to compare to how the industry was about 30 years ago. There was one particular kind of voice which was considered suitable for playback. Lata Didi or Asha Tai kind of a voice and they ruled their industry for the longest time, with utmost respect I say this. it’s just now, that the industry has become more open I guess. Those were considered to be wonderful voices. But today, most of the voices that have experimented, some have broken, some have become rough. People are pretty cool with experimenting with such voices and that’s very interesting. I think making a mark in Bollywood has nothing to do with a number of people coming in. At the end of the day if aapki zaroorat hogi kisi ko, you will be called. If the person feels they can do something with your voice, they will call you and you can make it big then. Uske baad the next step will always be okay ab iske baad kya, how do I maintain where I am. I think woh daur nahi raha of monopolisation, like one singer ruling the industry. I think Shreya Sunidhi ke baad, I don’t think any female singers rule. After Sonu Ji and Kumar Sanu, Udit Ji, unn sab ke baad Arijit is there. Arijit ke pehle mujhe koi yaad nahi aa raha and uske baad I don’t know. It is very difficult now, you have to be as talented as Arijit. 

Tell us about your musical journey

I was noticed by Rahman Sir during Coke Studio season 3 and I was part of his choir in 2013. I think months after our episode was televised, Sir called me to Chennai and he wanted to use my voice for one of his songs. That’s when I signed for Rajinikanth and Deepika Padukone‘s Kochadiyaan. After that I continued singing for sir. I sang in Mani Ratnam’s film in OK Kanmani and that was a blockbuster. A lot of things followed after that. I think I ended up singing around 30 songs after that for Rahman Sir. Then Bollywood happened, out of the blue, I was called for The Humma Song, it was for Ok Jaanu. I had already recorded two songs in Ok Jaanu for Rahman Sir. I was called and was told to sing in a particular way which I did. They wanted a seductive kind of a tone in the song. So, I don’t keep holding one song, I sing and I forget about it. So, that I don’t break my heart later ki arre yeh toh koi aur gaa gaya. I just sang my song and left. The next thing I know after a month or so, I saw the credits of the song and I had my name. Shortly after that, I recorded Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga. God has been really kind.

It is said that AR Rahman is a taskmaster, so did you face any challenges

You are on your toes when you are working with him. He is so inspiring and it’s so much fun working with Rahman Sir. You discover sides to yourself when you are working with him. He tests you to the point where you will be like I don’t think I will be ever able to pull it off. But eventually, you end up doing it, because he believes in you. That is so contagious that you end up starting to believe in yourself. That is the most beautiful thing ever of working with him. He wants things immediately, he is moody. He tells you to do something and you immediately need to replicate it. We both are Capricorns, so I can understand where that comes from. 

Despite not being a South Indian, you sang the songs to perfection. How did you prep for it?

All the credit for that goes to Rahman Sir and his team, they all guide me on how to sing it. I listen to what they sing and try to replicate it. You have to be a good listener and a good musicician for it. I guess I am a good listener, which is why I replicate what I hear. 

What do you enjoy more? Live performance or playback singing for movies?

I love both actually. I feel at home when I am in the studio. I am a very shy person, so studio is my comfort zone. But live has its own rush. The moment you get up on stage and people sing the song with you word-to-word give you a different high altogether. For us that’s our energy and for me that’s my oxygen. It’s like you go in and record in the studio, then you go and perform your hit songs which comes out of the studio on stage. When people sing along to it and love and appreciate it, it’s a circle and gives you energy to go back to the studio and also motivates you to record more songs and perform on stage and people love it more.

Do you think the singers and musicians get their due credit in the industry?

I think nowadays we do. I think Rahman sir was critical to start this trend 20 years ago. He gave credit to all his musicians, co-producers, arrangers, hats off to the man. People want credit for everything, from music arrangements to productions. There was a time when composers were like that, but now the trend has changed. You will get Amaal Malik, and what he has written about giving the credit information which goes to every guitarists, every musicians and arrangements, he has given it. Kudos to composers like that who have not taken everything for themselves selfishly. Being right and having ethics are very important in life. Composers nowadays are very ethical, Mithoon, Vishal-Shekhar, Amaal, Pritam they all are very honest.

There was a recent controversy making the rounds of actors singing at the concert. What do you have to say about it?

There is a smaller circle and there is a bigger circle. Singers, actors, painters, dancers everyone are part of a smaller circle which make to the bigger circle that is of artists. I think an artist must be well rounded and you are a complete artist. If that artist wants to be a composer and wants to sing his tunes and if he can go and act in a musical, isn’t that a gorgeous thing. But if you are not capable of doing it, then speak of what you do the best. If you have that talent you should definitely flaunt it. If you lack it, don’t overexpose it. 

Which are the composers on your wish list?

I am dying to work with Vishal-Shekhar. I want to sing a duet with Vishal, he is my favourite singer after Rahman Sir. I am in awe of their work and compositions since the longest time. And also with Pritam and Amaal.

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