The gorgeous music sensation Neeti Mohan, the voice behind the popular song Jiya Re spoke to us about her musical journey, how she won Channel V’s Pop Stars, her hidden dancing skills, inspiration, projects and much more in a fun interview. Read on to discover some secrets about her.
The best song you’ve sung so far in your opinion.
Bombay Velvet Album in my opinion.
Your all time favorite song across all languages and genres.
Mose Chhal Kiye Jaye
If not music, then what?
Your all time favorite singer.
A song that never leaves your music playlist.
If you had a million bucks in your account when you woke up one day, what would be the first thing you would invest on?
If you had a chance to disguise yourself, who would you be?
I would be a Batman 🙂
Music and Love- Your connection
Music cannot happen without love and visa versa
What do you feel like eating RIGHT NOW?
Ummm… Pop Corn
The first question is always a clichéd one. Tell us about your musical journey and how it all started
Since I was a child, I was always drawn towards music and was lucky that my parents never stopped me from being on stage, perform and participate in competitions. In fact, nobody from my family are into music or musicians and that is why I consider myself very lucky that my parents never stopped me.
They always appreciated that I was so excited to perform, sing and learn music. During school and college, I kept learning music and Indian Classicial Music was the most important thing at that time. I listened to a lot of Bhajans. My parents exposed me to some Gazzals by Jagjit Ji and I was drawn a lot towards semi classical songs. I always liked to sing tougher songs. That is how it all started. Finally, in college I got a teacher to train and I took part in Pop Stars.
You were one of the winners at Channel V’s Pop Stars. Was this a good start in your opinion?
There would not have been any other way for me to enter the industry as I don’t come from a family of musicians and it was a huge opportunity for me and to be a girl next door and be called as the country’s pop star and perform in concerts all over the world.
We have heard that you are a very good dancer as well and in your school days also been a part of the NCC Cadet. Can you elaborate a bit more on these for us to know what a complete talented package you are?
I was always drawn towards singing, dancing and acting together. Watching musicals was something I loved doing. Whenever I watched Indian movies, nobody told me that the singer, actor and choreographer were all different. I thought one person did it all. I wanted to be that and by the time I realized, it was a huge shock for me. I still find it amusing that most kids think that the actors are singing themselves.
For me, I could never separate singing from dancing. I always feel that while singing, you are expressing an emotion. For that, you use your face and body and not sing just from your throat. That is what makes me feel the song more. I can’t otherwise feel it.
I was a part of my school band and that was part of NCC. Through that, I learned how to fire a riffle, I went camping and it is amazing as you are very close to living an army life. Those made me change my life and become focused and disciplined. Sometimes music and dancing makes you happy. Without discipline in music, it’s tough to train and be serious about what you do. It was interesting for me to do singing, dancing and NCC altogether. That made me interested in studies too.
You have sung across multiple languages and genres. How do you manage to overcome the barriers?
I found it difficult in the beginning as I come from a Hindi speaking family. When I started performing with AR Rahman sir, I was given few lines to sing in Tamil and it was very difficult for me. I come from North and have nothing to do with South. I feel very lucky that I got a chance to sing in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Kannada. India is very rich in terms of its cultures, languages, and music forms. I have learned it from AR sir that music has no language and that is how I overcame this barrier of language and genres of music.
You are now mentoring kids at The Voice India kids, how is the experience so far and what is your learning from this?
It is one of the finest experiences for me to be a mentor on a show because all this while, I have had mentors shaping and molding me to be a better human being. Now it is an opportunity for me to impart to kids what I have learnt and be there for them to do more music and learn and perform each time with all their heart and soul. It is so nice to be able to give it back to them and it makes one more sensitive.
I am grateful to Voice of India for giving me this opportunity in helping these kids. I will always be like a proud mother to these kids even if I meet them after ten years when they would be superstars. I would feel happy that I was a small part of their journey and helped nurture this plant that make them massive big stars by then.
What is your personal opinion on the reality shows in India? Do you think they produce great talent and provide a good platform for aspiring musicians?
(Laughs) You know me and my sisters, popularly known as the ‘Mohan Sisters’ are all currently in Mumbai and we have our career in this industry because of reality shows. If not for that, I would not have gone to Channel V Popstars, Shakti would not have gone to Dance India Dance and Mukti would not have gone to Zara Nachke Dikha. So somewhere, three of us are in a way an example to the rest where if you don’t come from a family of musicians or stars, you can still dare to be a star. You can be what you want to be if you have strong faith in yourself, train well and meet the right people and humble and take advice from parents. Even if you don’t win, doesn’t mean you have lost for the rest of your life. Even a failure is a stepping stone. It is fantastic to be part of reality shows.
In your opinion, do you think there is enough scope in India for Independent musicians in contrast to film music?
Well, I think there was a time when two separate industries (Independent and Film) were existing together. Independent music was at its peak in the 90s when film music was doing its own thing. And then for about ten to fifteen years, there was no independent music and film music took over. Thank to internet, now independent music and musicians are back. You can listen to anyone online and be updated about their music in a second. It is back and is meant to stay!
Is there one artist/composer that you’ve worked with who really made a mark in your career and helped you rise to where you are?
Yes, I always dreamt of working with AR Rahman sir and I got to work with him and still do. I really have huge respect and love for him. He is my guru, my guide and my coach for life. He has changed me as a person for the better and I owe it to him. One of my first songs was for him and you can imagine the impact he has had. I have known him for seven years and still perform with him and there is so much more to learn from the legend himself.
Who has been your greatest source of inspiration in your career and why?
My parents! We come from the middle class family from Delhi and in spite of having us four sisters, they never shied away from letting us be an artist.
My biggest source of inspiration and support system comes from my parents.
You have won quite a lot of awards for your songs in the commercial space. Which has been the most special one and why?
Awards really encourage you a lot and when I won Filmfare RD Burban awards and I did not expect it at all considering that particular award is given to the brightest and youngest talent. I am a huge admirer of RD Burman saab and getting an award with that tag attached to it is something that will always be special for me. The first recipient of that award was Rahman sir and people who have won that award are very talented and I am a huge fan of all of them. This award will always be special.
Can you tell us your most embarrassing and your most funny fan moment in your live gigs journey.
Some of the funny things I see almost on a daily basis on my fan page. There are some people who write about my song, some about my looks and some about a concert they attended and some just write random things like sending their own pictures and posing for you asking “Will you marry me”, “I want to marriage you”, “ I have a crash on you” (Laughs). So sometimes, the language I find very funny!
During the gigs, some people are just obsessed with fast music and when I sing a balled they ask me to sing a fast song and when I do so, they ask me to sing a faster song. The same person would ask me to sing even faster and that makes me wonder if that person really wants to go on a tredmill right now because I don’t think there is something faster than your heartbeat. I find that funny!
They are all enduring and leave a mark on you!
Tell us about the role your close family and friends have played in your musical journey.
My sisters are my best friends and they are the ones who stood in line for me for Pop stars and said they wanted me to go for this and had faith in me and parents who have always stood by me!
Your message to readers of The Score Magazine.
You all must love your parents even if you are busy with your work! Tell them you love them! Enjoy music as it is your best friend! Stay in touch with music and your parents!
Awards won by her
Filmfare Awards : RD Burban Award
Mirchi Music Awards: Upcoming female vocalist
Popular songs of her
- Pyaar Manga Hai
- Kheech Meri Photo
- Sau Aasmaan
- Jiya Re
- Tune Maari Entriyaan
- India Waale
- Ishq Wala Love
- Har Kisi Ko
- Neeyum Naanum
- Manohari and more