After lending her voice to many prominent soundtracks as a backup vocalist, Sukriti Kakar has finally arrived on the Bollywood scene as her first song as a lead vocalist in “Pehli Baar” from ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ has turned out to be a chart topping number. In this interview, she talks about her journey so far, the bond with her sisters and her forthcoming projects.
The first song you ever recorded was for the Hindi version of the Hollywood film ‘Camp Rock’. You were in 8th grade then. How has the journey been?
I started very young as music was in the family. I used to be a part of all the extracurricular activities in school and college. I realized that I wanted to make a career in music and focused on becoming a playback singer. I recorded the song “Pehli Baar” from ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ when I was nineteen and it came out when I was twenty. I had to wait for a year but it was well worth it. I am really happy that the song is doing so well. The song has a very young vibe to it and is turning out to be a sort of youth anthem. The way the song has reached out to so many people makes me feel that I have finally arrived.
In the past, you have performed extensively on stage and have done choral and backup vocals for several songs. You have mostly been a part of multi-singer setups but “Pehli Baar” is your first song as a lead vocalist. Do you consider it to be your breakthrough song?
There is a lot of competition in every field. Having so much exposure from a young age helps as you know what you are expected to do when you grow up. You learn to work hard be dedicated towards your craft. Being passionate about the work you do is the most important thing. Nothing comes easy in any profession. You have to earn everything for yourself. Struggle is a part of every journey. A lot of people say struggle actually begins after your first song or first award. I realize this now because after my first song came out, people have started asking me when my next song is going to come out. There is pressure but how you come out of it and what you make out of it depends on you. Doing backup and choral vocals helped me a lot. When you go to the studio, you see a Shreya Ghoshal or a Sunidhi Chauhan singing and you get to learn from them. All this is a part of a singer’s journey. My journey has just started and I am looking forward to what the future has in store for me.
“Pehli Baar” has a soft rock base to it. Is it a genre you are comfortable singing in?
I had got a call from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s studio. They wanted to try my voice for a song. It was the first time I was recording for them and they did not know what I sound like. I have known them for a long time now. I used to share my demos and voice samples with them. But as I was growing up, my voice ended up changing a bit every year. They wanted to try my voice to know how it sounds at that moment and whether it would work for the song. Ehsaan (Noorani) knew that I sing a lot of English songs and that I am into rock and pop music. When I heard the song, I really liked it as it was in a similar space. So yes, I was very comfortable singing it. When I started singing, I was heavily into Western music. I am still into it but as a singer, one should be able sing any kind of a song. I want to try my hands at everything that comes my way and hope to lend my voice to songs of varied genres. I want to prove myself to be a versatile singer.
Your sister Akriti has been a part of the music scene since long. Was she an inspiration behind you taking up music?
I had an elder sister at home who was already a singer and that helped. We are from Delhi and when my sister was of my age, she moved to Mumbai so that she could pursue her career as a singer. In that context, it became a little easier for me and my sister Prakriti as we did not have to move out anywhere. We were already here and we have grown up spending time with her. I have seen her struggle and have realized how hard it is for someone to go out there, get a break and sustaining yourself after that. Even when I see her on stage, I realize there is so much to learn. She has certainly been an inspiration and a role model for me. Having said that, knowing a few important people is not enough to help you propel your career forward. When you go to someone looking for work, they hire you because of your talent and not because you are related to somebody. Every individual has his own struggle. But, it is great to have someone at home whom I can learn so much from. My sisters share their opinion about my work and they are very honest about it. It is definitely a good atmosphere to be in.