You’d think we all know what Tanvi Shah’s favourite A R Rahman song is. Surprisingly, it isn’t one that starts with a ‘J’. And if you haven’t met this energetic singer before, be warned — stay clear of calling her the ‘Jai Ho girl’.
As glad as she is for the Grammy that shot her to fame four years ago, Tanvi rants (only half jokingly), “I have a name!” Over a mug of warm cappuccino with just a trickle of sugar, the singer-entrepreneur-fitness junkie tells City Express what’s on her calendar for 2013.
From singing Bezubaan in Prabhu Deva’s 3D dance flick Anybody Can Dance, where the singer will be heard in all new ‘rap’ avatar, to managing her sports event company, CRX Sports – it seems Tanvi has another project that she holds dear. And of course, it all started with a song - an A R Rahman song, but not one of her own. Tanvi recalls, “I recorded an unplugged version of Shauk Hai from Guru and mailed it to a couple of friends last year.” And pretty soon, she adds, “I was hearing about it from complete strangers.”
It so happened that after one of her shows, the singer was approached by a fan who couldn’t stop raving about how the song had helped his autistic nephew. She recalls, “He told me that his four-year-old nephew who has autism became calm and would go to sleep peacefully after the song was played to him every night.”
When Tanvi was invited by good friend Kunal Sood to speak at a TEDx conference in San Francisco later, she included the incident in her speech in an attempt to explain that ‘music could be used to heal’ in ways still unknown. But the story doesn’t stop there.
“I got a call from a lady in Bangalore who runs a school for special children,” she smiles, apparently still awe-struck by the impact of this one-off recording that was done for fun.” She had seen the TEDxSF video online and requested a copy of the song to play to her children!”
Tanvi sounds over the moon at this point. Asked whether she hopes to develop any other tune – designed with the aid of specialists in the field of children with ‘high anxiety’ disorders and the artist reveals that she is all for it. “In fact, when I go to Bangalore next, I want to go and see those kids,” she smiles.
Between travelling the globe to perform – (did we mention she recently got to share the stage with Lion King music director, Lebo) and recording for some of the biggest films in Kollywood, such as Billa II and Kadal, it’s clear that Tanvi Shah has come a long way down the road from the girl who sang Jai Ho in 2008. But ask about her future projects and the 27-year-old turns serious.
“I’m a little superstitious when it comes to work, so I keep most of it under wraps till its fully done,” she admits. However, what she does tell us is that it will be a year of many firsts.
After her Latin debut with musician Gustavo Alarco last year, Tanvi is all set to try her hand at singing in Hebrew next. Also, she reveals excitedly, “I have a special project that I’m working on with American music producer Jeremy Hawkins that should hopefully release in March.” With so much going on, what is Tanvi’s remedy for a stressful day? “I watch bloopers of all my favourite TV shows,” she responds with a laugh, “it really helps”.