I’ve had a chance to interview many artists, but I can hands down say, that the following interview with Annamika is by far my favorite. She is not only talented in music, but I was surprised to find just how sharp and witty she is. I have been a big fan of Annamika’s since I was in high school and saw her video “Sona Dis Da” air on AVS TV. It still ranks as one of my favorite songs of all time (if only I knew Punjabi to make more sense of the lyrics haha!) Most of you may know Annamika best as the singer of “Kala Sha Kala” and the singer for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Anthem: “Shera.” Since then she released a new album: “Dil Kardaa” Check out the interview below!
Roopa: It is very rare to find an artist who is as versatile as you are – you’re a singer, songwriter/lyricist, performer, composer, producer, etc. – and it is even rarer to find a female artist with such an array of skills. Did you find it hard to enter the world of music as a female artist or did you find support from the start? How were you discovered? I heard that you began in New York and then made the transition to India.
Annamika: No. I did not find it hard to enter the music world as I’ve always believed in myself, that’s why I say “I’m the chosen one”. It all began from the time I was in New York studying and working and I was spotted by a band while I was working in a club. That’s when I realized that I was born to be with music.
Certain circumstances brought me back to India and once again I was spotted by Mr. Kumar Tourani from TIPS MUSIC while I was performing with my own band called “THE TEMPTATIONS”. Right after that, I was offered an album and that’s how my first album – “CATWALK” happened. There after, I never looked back!
Roopa: If I were to say the name “Annamika” I’m sure the first song that comes to mind will be “Kaala Sha Kala.” Were you surprised at the popularity of the song – especially since it doesn’t focus on “gora rang” like a lot of Indian songs tend to focus on?
Annamika: No. I wasn’t surprised with the popularity of “Kaala Sha Kaala” especially after “Intezaar” [Kahin Karta Hoga Woh Mera Intezaaar] because that song had become a national anthem.
As for the “Gora Rang” is concerned, I always do things differently so “Black Is Black” or should I say “Black is Sexy”.
Roopa: Your musical journey has been interesting to follow. The only other artist that comes to mind who has experienced such longevity and ability to consistently produce hits is Madonna. Like Madonna, you go by a singular name, have an amazing voice, and dance skills. Are you a fan of her music?
Annamika: First of all, thank you for the compliment. And “Yes”. I am a big fan of Madonna. In fact I saw her perform live in the same club where I was working in NY and she inspired me at “Hello”.
Roopa: Do you think we’ll ever see you transition to movies like Madonna did? What genre would the movie be and who would you cast as a male lead opposite you?
Annamika: Oh yes yes yes. If given a chance, I would love to do a movie like the popular series “ENTOURAGE” and will surely cast Jeremy Piven as the male lead opposite myself.
Annamika: Well, there are quite a few names that I would like to collaborate with starting from Madonna, P Diddy, Nelly & Justin Timberlake.
Roopa: Though all your songs are amazing, I think my favorites are “Sona Dis Da” and “Naina” from your “Naina” album. “Sona Dis Da” has a sound that has yet to be matched in Indian music and the classical vibe of “Naina” is equally amazing. Were you formally trained in classical music and/or in western music?
Annamika: Yes. I’m thoroughly trained in Indian & Western classical music.
Roopa:Do you come from a musical family?
Annamika: Interestingly, I am the only proud musician in my family.
Roopa: Wow, looks like all the music skills were focused and intensified in you then! Your latest album, “Dil Kardaa” re-introduced listeners to your rap-skills and as you write in the inset saw the birth of what you call “hip bhangra.” Can you elaborate about what you consider “hip bhangra” to be and how you see it evolving?
Annamika: “Hip-Bhangra” is the sound of today where I have introduced fresh and young music producers like Bharat Goel & KnoX Artiste and have collaborated with a few known RAP artists like “RKZ” from the U.K. & “BOB OMULO”. That’s why songs like “Dil Kardaa” & “Dil More Mangada” sound very hip and fresh, yet, have the Punjabi energy to them.
Roopa: Have you made a conscious effort to re-invent yourself through the years or did it all just fall into place as time went on?
Annamika: I constantly keep working on something new and out of the box. One thing about me everyone needs to know, that I am a trend setter and I follow my own path. So does my music.
Roopa: What is your inspiration for your music and lyrics?
Annamika: Inspiration is for people who are not creative. Period.
Roopa: Well said! If you could only use one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why?
Annamika: One word – “ME!” …. Why – “Don’t lose me.” =P
Roopa: Definitely love that type of confidence! Uniqueness as it’s best! Last year, during the Commonwealth games held in India, you sang/wrote the Welcome Theme “Shera”. How did this song come about and what was your reaction when your song was chosen as the theme?
Annamika: What can I say, I’m a proud Indian and the commonwealth song made me more proud. And answer to the rest of the question is your question number 1. (*grins*)
Roopa: Where do you see your musical journey taking you in the coming years? Will we see another classical themed album like “Naina,” another “Hip bhangra” album, or are you going to leave us in suspense as to what new innovations you’ll introduce to music?
Annamika: Let’s talk about today. I consider tomorrow to be when I get there and when you call me for the second interview. (*laughs*)
Roopa: Indian music/movies are gaining popularity here in the United States. Do you think you will ever do a tour and/or release a mainstream US album?
Annamika: Yes. Of course I will. That is what I am working on currently. Will it be too conceited if I said, “See you Grammy’s Soon”? (*winks*)
Roopa: Haha, no if you got the skills to back up a statement like that I think it’s perfectly okay! Is there anything you would like to say to your fans / readers of Urban Asian?
Annamika: If god is watching us, the least we can do is to be entertaining!
Roopa: Thank you for taking the time to do the interview! Keep the fantastic music coming our way!
And now for some fun facts with Annamika:
- If I weren’t a musician I would be… “OPRAH WINFREY”
- My guilty pleasure is (keeping it something PG lol ;P) – JEREMY PIVEN
- Favorite actor/actress (Hollywood): ADAM SANDLER / DREW BARRYMORE
- Favorite actor/actress (Bollywood): AAMIR KHAN / KAJOL
- The animal I am most like is: CAN I NOT BE AN ANIMAL AND BE A SWEET BIRD LIKE NIGHTINGALE
- If I woke up one day as Lata Mangeskar, I would…: INSURE MY VOCAL CHORDS
- If I woke up one day as Kareena Kapoor, I would…: I’LL GO BACK TO SLEEP.
- If I woke up one day as Angelina Jolie, I would…: HAVE BREAKFAST WITH BRAD PITT.
- If I were stranded on a desert island, the 3 items I’d definitely need are: TOOTHBRUSH, MY FACE WASH & A CLEAN TOWEL.
- Favorite Movie: 50 FIRST DATES.
“DIL KARDAA” OFFICIAL VIDEO:
“SONA DIS DA” OFFICIAL VIDEO: