QUEEN'S ROAD: The voice on the other end has a measured sweetness and a little sea salt. But then most of musician Anushka Jagtiani’s young life has been about reconciling contrasts. Her father had a rock band and then went on to become a lawyer. Like most Indian kids, Anushka too grew up with the awareness that arts are where you go to nourish your soul after you have secured a livelihood.
She says, “One worked towards a steady job. I went to London to study economics, politics and sociology and then came back to work with some leading TV channels.”
But the love for music never faded and she says, “I was never a trained singer but I have grown up around blues, rock, jazz because of my father. I enjoyed jamming and singing and people would tell me that they liked my music and I should take it more seriously.”
The itch became a compulsion and in 2007, Anushka quit a seemingly perfect job to focus on music.
But the Master’s Graduate from The London School of Economics wasn’t going to take a leap without a backup plan.
She says, “I knew it is hard in India to make a career out of western music so I along with a partner opened Besos, a designer store in Mumbai which has affordable, cutting edge fashion. I covered retail as a business journalist and today as an entrepreneur, I know it is hard to crack so we are going to scale it up, go online.”
The business of music on the other hand is growing and Anushka has recorded a lot of music in LA and London. She is writing a lot more and is focussed on growing as a serious musician.
She says, “Singing duets with Gary Lawyer in the early years of my career was such a high and I recently recorded with the Shillong Chamber Choir and they are according to me the best musicians in the country. I pushed myself to go to Shillong especially to train with them. When you don’t have a structured job, you have to give meaning and purpose to your day, never get discouraged, learn from the best, chase opportunities, discipline yourself, experiment with new types of music and keep pushing forward. Work on your voice, your instrument, keep yourself motivated and persist.”
Not all days are however easy and says Anushka, “There are times when gigs are promised and cancelled but you cannot let that get in the way of your growth.”
Anushka will be performing at the Indigo Live Music Bar alongside Swarathma on February 13 and has fond memories of singing in Bengaluru.
“There is a big North-Eastern population here that listens to a lot of rock. Bangaloreans know their music. Bombay is the heart of Bollywood and though there are talented musicians making good music in cinema, I don’t identify with it. You hear a lot of Bollywood music at parties and weddings but for inspiration, I still hear Queen, The Who, Jack White and The Beatles. A cross-over project may be very interesting to do though,” she says.
The one thing she has gleaned from her interesting life is, “It is never too late to turn your hobby into a passion. It is never too late to do anything you want.”