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News |  19 Sep 2016 15:02 |  By RnMTeam

Jammin' allowed me to exercise my freedom of expression: Jonita Gandhi

MUMBAI: Jonita Gandhi, currently touring with AR Rahman, loves to look at the brighter side of everything. The singer has not quite become a household name yet. But so far, it’s difficult to find any reason to why that wouldn’t change. For one, as mentioned earlier, she’s on a live concert tour with India’s current face of music in the west – Rahman. And this is not even the first time for the young artist.

“I’ve actually been performing at live events since I was a little kid,” says Gandhi about her experience on the stage. Gandhi ventured into YouTube when she realised the sheer power and reach of digital mediums. Till then, the then teenage sensation focused on traditional methods to be heard. Gandhi grew up in Canada with her parents, and performed live for the first time in Toronto. The discovery of YouTube’s brilliance did not stop Gandhi from exploiting the traditional methods for artistic growth. “I grew up performing at local events in the Greater Toronto Area with my dad and I've been performing throughout my YouTube career.”

Starting early as live performer provided Gandhi the essential courage, practice, exposure and the glimpse to what her future would almost look like. But the stage did not give her instant fame. That void, fortunately for Gandhi, was filled at the right time. “After my videos started getting viral, audiences at performances would react differently. It’s great when they recognize you from your YouTube presence and request songs you've done online. You feel a different kind of connection with those kinds of crowds and I really enjoy performing for such events.”

Through covers, renditions and a few originals, Gandhi gradually attracted views and eventually 50,000 subscribers. Active video uploads and connecting with the YouTube audience through relevant and trendy songs acted as the vital elements for Gandhi’s early success.

With a discography featuring at least fifteen movies and working with the Rahmans and the Dadlanis, Gandhi – who turns 26 next month – has only cleared the first phase (and arguably, the most vital phase of any singer’s life). Gandhi did not disappear into the wilderness of one-hit wonders. Gandhi never required a talent show to express herself, however, it’d be completely unfair to conclude it performed no role in her evolution whatsoever. The Indo-Canadian singer appeared on a reality show, judged by Sonu Nigam and Suresh Wadkar, and claims anything that allows you to meet like-minded people is a sweet deal.

Gandhi’s maturity can be observed at her live shows where she goes beyond the typical practices to entertain the crowd. Live shows need to be a ‘beyond-the-audio’ experience and the ‘Chennai Express’ singer acknowledges the one major difference between the concept and studio recordings. “I can definitely say that there’s a different level of pressure involved in performing in front of a live audience because it’s not just about how you’re singing. Sometimes depending on the kind of show, audience is there to be entertained.”

Gandhi’s latest contribution has been collaboration with noted music duo Salim-Sulaiman for Qyuki’s latest project Jammin’. Titled ‘Tu Hai’, the composer duo has ensured Gandhi’s vocal continues to remain the highlighting element of the entire composition, despite refreshing experimental electronica sound composed for the collaboration. Gandhi isn’t new to the concept of music videos, and explains the process behind the sound for ‘Tu Hai’. I think why this song came together so beautifully was because it wasn't calculated or positioned to attract a certain audience. It was just a style of music that we both really like right now, and so working on it felt like having fun, not working at all. As a result, all of us are really proud of the song! This reflects the essence of "Jammin" really well: to exercise our freedom of expression and make music that we love.”

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