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A Finger in Every Pie

Aditi Singh Sharma wants it all – jazz, blues, rock and Bollywood

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rsiwebadmin Nov 10, 2008
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Hashim Badani

For a 22-year-old, Aditi Singh Sharma is terribly circuit-smart – four years into her act, and she’s done both Indian and international gigs. “More than anything else, I want to be a many-genre artist,” says the Delhi singer who sounds like a desi Colbie – easy and vibrant at once. Slated to perform with her band Level 9 at the Big Horn Festival on September 14, apart from two other gigs that are four days apart, Sharma’s schedule needs all the adrenalin she’s got. But she tells us how she’s greedy for more.

Sharma has already worked with the likes of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Salim-Sulaiman and has just stepped out of the studio after recording for Dev D, Anurag Kashyap’s satirical take on Devdas. The ball started rolling when Sharma met Ehsaan Noorani at a rock competition last year. “Ehsaan asked me if I could sing in Hindi and that was that,” she recalls. A few months later she gets a call. “Ehsaan says, ”˜Would you mind recording for us if you’re free tomorrow evening?’ and I was thinking, ”˜Are you mad? I bet I won’t mind.’ I took the first flight out straight after a gig and went to the studio,” says Sharma, who in typical Bollywood style had waited for a couple of hours before recording for the movie High School Musical 2 last year. But the wait, she says, was well worth it. During her next trip to Mumbai she made sure “every music director would have her demo in hand”. This year she has recorded with Salim-Sulaiman, Monty Sharma and the current Bollywood rage ”“ Mika Singh. Ambition isn’t a new word to Sharma.

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Soon after college, Sharma joined her first band Crimson in 2004. “It was a very big thing – being a frontwoman, manager, marketing the band and getting the gigs – respect for a band member goes to another level,” says Sharma of the rock band. When the band’s lead guitarist Gaurav Ahluwalia decided to migrate to Australia in 2006, even Sharma considered moving to Melbourne and started looking around for a course. But instead of heading to university, she gigged all around Melbourne with Ahluwalia’s Australian band Skotch. “These gigs abroad really open your mind as well as the audience’s. People there couldn’t believe that an Indian could do this sort of music,” she says.

The singer joined the jazz/blues group Level 9 last year when its original lead singer Michelle Lobo left the band. “In fact, Michelle recommended me to the band four hours before a gig she couldn’t do because of a medical problem. I had three hours to practise and I think we did quite well on stage,” Sharma says of her Level 9 debut at Connaught Place.

She keeps her bands and studio sessions separate. “I haven’t gone out and told anybody in Delhi that I have sung for a film,” she says. She’s not ashamed of her ”˜double life’ in Mumbai and Delhi but just wary of unwarranted assumptions. “People think that just because I’m a girl I’m sleeping around with people to get work. It’s ridiculous and sounds alien to me because the people they are talking about are my friends,” she says. But these are small lows; she has her eyes set on the big dream ”“ “to perform everywhere.” Says composer Ehsaan Noorani who chose Sharma for ”˜Chhoti Si,’ a track in High School Music 2, “She has a unique voice. I saw her perform at a Level 9 show once and she really gets the crowd going.”

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