Reewa Rathod has music in her genes. The 26-year-old daughter of singers Roop Kumar and Sunali Rathod and the granddaughter of late Pandit Chaturbhuj Rathod of the Dhrupad tradition started her musical journey at the tender age of four and has been the recipient of the Lokmat Sur Jyotsna National Music Award. Her first public performance came as the opening act for a Bryan Adams concert in 2011 in Pune, where she sang her own song ‘Crossing Limits’. Her first solo concert was in 2013 and now with the launch of her latest number ‘Sanwal’ at Mumbai’s Dinanath Mangeshkar Natyagraha, Reewa is looking to take up the reins of her career.
While Gulzar penned the lyrics to her first single, ‘Maula’, her latest track ‘Sanwaal’ is a Saraiki traditional folk number blended with verses in Spanish. The music for the song has been produced by tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain and Michael Mennart. The launch concert hosted many musical maestros as Reewa was introduced on stage by Lata Mangeshkar. She put together a mixed bag of performances, including piano recitals, Thumri, Tappa, Marathi Bhavgeet, Carnatic, old film classics, English pop and Punjabi music, among others. The pianist-vocalist-composer also presented some of her own compositions. Talking about the concert, Reewa says, “I am humbled and honoured that Lataji presented me. I have earlier sung and composed a Spanish song called ‘Tandaana’ for a Spanish production, Rastres De Sandal (Traces of Sandalwood), that featured Nandita Das. So, I picked up the Spanish there and added in some of my compositions.”
For Reewa, who plays the piano, composes and writes her songs, and has forayed into Hindustani, Carnatic and Western classical music, emotions come first and then the rhythm. “I love making my own music and reach into my emotions with my songs. Though I am open to Bollywood, I’d prefer singing internationally in both English and Hindi,” emphasises the singer.
Trained in Hindustani, Carnatic as well as Western classic music, Reewa has accomplished eight grades in piano with a distinction from The Royal Associated Board of London. “My parents never pressurised me into singing. They always told me to do what I wanted and therefore I also have a degree in business management from University of Cambridge, UK. I have learned the piano, Indian music as well as Carnatic and none of this would be possible without the guidance of my father,” shares
While the music industry is known to be a tough market, Reewa is unblemished by the trappings of stardom, “Success is never truly achieved since life is a learning platform. I am not scared of competition because there is enough room for everyone to leave a mark and there is always someone to replace a performer,” she quips.
Among the new crop of Bollywood musicians, Reewa doesn’t have any particular favourites but enjoys listening to Michael Jackson. The singer-composer has also sung in Enroute Ganesha for Buddha Bar and is set to collaborate with Ustad Zakir Hussain and the famous saxophonist Christ Potter for a project. Music is not her only prowess. She is also a national level award-winning horse-rider. “I don’t think I could be anything else but a singer,” says Reewa, when asked about her aspirations. Though she doesn’t have any favourite musician in Bollywood, Reewa claims to be an old soul. “I love songs of Lataji, Ashaji, Mohd Rafi and all classics. Even my own voice has a very old sound. I’m melodious but also very raw,” she adds.