A voice you can listen to on repeat!
Ishita has also performed in major concerts globally and has been invited to take the stage at prestigious events such as the Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava, an annual 11-day festival held in South Bangalore, India, which draws over one million people, where she performed as a featured artist to an audience of 5,000 people. Additionally, she has performed for the acclaimed A. R. Rahman Meets Berklee Concert and Shankar Mahadevan Meets Berklee Concert as a lead vocalist. Ishita was also the lead vocalist for “Jiya Jale”, the promotion video for a scholarship benefit concert with A.R. Rahman, an Oscar and Grammy award-winning composer/musician, which has generated over 15 million views on YouTube.
She has worked as a solo vocalist for Treehouse Music, LA to contribute toward the background score for the television show “The 100”, an award-winning, Primetime Emmy nominated series produced by CBS Television Studios, Alloy Entertainment and Warner Brothers Entertainment and airs on the CW and Netflix.
I had a chance to speak with Ishita about her journey and how she started off into learning classical music.
Urban Asian has been following you for a while now – how was it attending Berklee College of Music and what made you decide to pursue a career in music?
Music has always been a passion. I decided to pursue music as a career when I started going more in-depth in school. And as I dove deeper into the subject, I began to understand my inclination toward it. All the decisions I made while in high school and after have been like building blocks in my pursuit of music, culminating in my decision to go to Berklee. Berklee was an incredible experience. Besides learning in class, one of the amazing things about the school was that I got to meet people from around the globe and talk to them about the music from their part of the world. That experience comes in handy, especially now, when I have to compose different styles of music for different visual media projects.
You have worked with the likes of A.R. Rahman – how was the experience?
It was humbling and such an honor to share the stage with him. He gave us feedback on our arrangements of the songs and encouraged each one of us to pursue our individual musical goals and styles. It was heartwarming to hear him talk about the highs and lows of his career. His deep-rooted and spiritual connection to music is truly inspiring. People who study music theory generally tend to overanalyze music and often take a theoretical approach to composing – calculating which chord comes after which one, etc. With Mr. Rahman, the music is so internalized that the melodies and harmonies just flow, without much calculation.
Outside of Music, what other things do you enjoy doing as hobbies?
Cooking! Which I feel is very similar to composing, because in cooking, too, you create something from individual elements, which on their own might not be that interesting. I also love to go to art museums, live dance and music performances, and theater. All these things help me find inspiration for my music.
What inspired you to become a composer/vocalist?
The inspiration to pursue both of those happened over a long period of time. I’ve been singing from a very young age. Slowly, throughout my years at school, I immersed myself into studying Indian Classical vocal techniques. The more I did, the more I understood it and wanted to learn more. First with Indian Classical music and then later with composing. When I was studying Indian Classical music in New Delhi I slowly started noticing and discovering background score from films. Alexandre Desplat’s music, in particular, influenced me to start taking piano lessons to understand Western Classical music and composing for orchestra. After that, I decided to apply to Berklee and the rest is history, as they say.
You also have a beautiful voice – where did you get your classical music training and at what age did you start?
I had Indian Classical music lessons at home since I was six. My parents really encouraged it and fixed the lessons for me and my sisters. After high school I went to Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, to study Indian Classical further with Mrs. Shanti Sharma. After she passed on, I continued studying there with Mr. Manjeet Singh until I left to study at Berklee.