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Anushka Manchanda: ‘Break Rules and Make Your Own’

The singer-actor talks about juggling multiple creative roles, her recent track “One Way” for Calvin Klein and favorite indie artists

Rolling Stone India Jan 06, 2016
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Anushka Manchanda. Photo: Ashish Shah

Unlike most other artists, Anushka Manchanda never really had to struggle with staying in the news. Occupying a unique spot on both music and fashion circuits, the singer [and now an actor] has always enjoyed attention thanks to the diverse projects she’s been part of  ”“ from ad jingles and music videos to walking down the ramp. Her latest project is titled #CKOneWay, a Calvin Klein initiative, as part of which she has sung a song, “One Way”, and featured in its music video. We caught up with Manchanda and chatted with her about the track and other things.

Tell us about your experience working on the #CKOneWay song and video.
It was very interesting to work with [composer/lyricist] Keegan Pinto and [producer] Gaurav Godkhindi on the track and with Shai on the video. When you work with other artists, you always learn something from what they bring to the table. They also had a very clear brief of what CK wanted from this project, and I can tell you it’s much easier for a singer to come in and work with people who are clear about what they want.

When I came on board the song was ready and the production was underway. I had worked with Keegan before on a Gulf Oil advertisement and with Gaurav when he was working with Mikey [McCleary; composer]. So there was comfort there.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”480″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35Nt4Gz-XHI[/youtube]

The track proposes that one should make the most of the one life we’re given. Being quite the achiever yourself, what is your message to aspiring artists?
Live life by terms that you set, not by some standard that has been set by an industry or by society. Sandhya Mridul always says – take no shit, do no harm. That’s it. Live without regret. Making mistakes suck and shit happens but it makes us stronger and teaches us something. Break rules and make your own. You have only yourself to answer to.

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Your film Angry Indian Goddesses has received a lot of critical acclaim. How does it feel. Also, how was the experience of working with the other actors?
The response has been overwhelming. We have won People Choice Awards at different festivals around the world and our film is releasing in 64 countries next year. The crew and the cast are a family, and we put our hearts and souls into this film. So it feels amazing! I have a real connection with the other actresses, which has come from weeks of workshops that included meditation, trust building exercises, and breathing together. The bond you see on screen is real.

Are you working on any recordings currently?
I’ve had a Bollywood release this month with Dilwale’s “Manma Emotion”. My song “Zindagi” which I have written, composed and sung is in my film which is pretty awesome! (sic) I’m producing music for advertisements with my younger brother Shikhar, which is a nice extension to the jingle and voice over work I’ve been doing for the last couple of years.

We miss your presence on the local indie music circuit. Any chances of performing with your band Shkabang soon?
I really wish I had more experience when I put Shkabang together. I had a super talented bunch of musicians in the band but everyone was super busy, and being in a band doesn’t work if everyone is not on the same page. So Shkabang is defunct. I learned a lot from the process and something I have moved on from.

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Who, according to you, are some of the promising indie artists on the circuit currently?
Currently I am really digging Ox7gen, Donn Bhatt and the Passenger Revelator, Aqua Dominatrix and Frame by Frame.

A lot of people look up to you as a style icon also. How is that you manage to look so effortlessly cool all the time?Thank you for the compliment! I enjoy fashion. I like to have fun with it. The way I dress is an extension of who I am as an artist. I get bored very quickly so I like to experiment. Besides, my friends are such cool designers…it rubs off on me.

Are there any exciting film/music/fashion projects that you’d like to talk about?
I went to Dubspot in New York last year and did a music production course, so I am spending a lot of time on my laptop. I’m learning, experimenting with and looking for my sound. I am excited about this new phase of music in my life. I have a vision in my head that I will bring to life soon. I’m in no hurry though. I want to do something amazing. I have very high expectations from myself and I will not put anything out unless I think it’s perfect.

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