Sunidhi Chauhan has just recorded a song for Enrique Iglesias’s re-release of his album “Euphoria” on Universal Music. The song is the Indian version of “Heartbeat,” a track originally recorded by Nicole Scherzinger last year. For the top-bracket Indian singer, it is a small but significant step, as she puts it, towards a dream that she had since the beginning of her career — to go global.
“For the new edition of the CD, they wanted an Indian ‘tadka’ to the track,” Chauhan told India-West in a phone interview Mar. 9.
“My music director, Shamir Tandon-ji, has provided the blend with the Indian element. It’s largely the same song, but there is a bit of Hindi too. I enjoyed doing the song, which we recorded partly abroad and the rest here. The collaboration was a great experience.” And Sunidhi found Enrique a great guy to work with, though this version was largely done by Sunidhi and Shamir together.
Asked how Enrique zeroed in on her, Sunidhi replies, “I guess that if you really want to work with someone anywhere in the world, you can reach that person. He must have liked my voice when he listened to it. Indian music is going places and just as we listen to the greats from the West, they must be also getting opportunities to hear us as well.”
And yet, Sunidhi has no expectations from the whole experience. “I just believe in doing my work,” she says. “But who does not want international recognition? If Indian culture today is so looked up and respected that Bryan Adams and Akon are coming to India even though are very big in the rest of the globe as well as here, why would an Indian artist not want to go global?”
Some say that when an outside artist records in India, he or she flaunts his own culture and fuses it with a bit of ours. But when an Indian artist goes global, the Indian element is still a small bit when the reverse should be the case. What does Sunidhi say about this?
“I think that it all depends on the individual artist,” the singer told India-West. “Our classical artists present pure classical abroad even when they are collaborating live with Western musicians. And the innovations are all about new sounds — the base is the same seven notes.”
The singer, who began as a child singer 15 years ago and made a breakthrough with first “Mast” and “Fiza” (2000), and finally with “Ajnabee” (2001), turns into a mix of diplomacy and frankness when we ask why no new singer since has proved to be serious competition for Shreya Ghoshal (who arrived in 2002) and her.
“Honestly, I have never paid attention to who is doing what and who has made it. I do my work not just as a job, but with passion. I only know one thing — that if a singer is really good and passionate, especially today, that person will never go unnoticed. People are always eager to give you a chance.”
Busy as usual with recordings and shows, Sunidhi concedes that while “Sheila ki jawani” from “Tees Maar Khan” has not made any direct positive impact on her career, she is now also being as much known as Sheila as the actress on whom the song is filmed. “That’s gratifying,” she says.
But isn’t she upset that a fabulous song like “Udi” from “Guzaarish” did not prove a hit? “Speaking generally about many good songs not working, I passed that stage years ago.”
Any standout songs among those she has recorded, we ask. “I have recorded superb songs for Venus’ ‘Tezz’ with Sajid-Wajid; for ‘Murder 2,’ that has a new pair of composers; and for ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ and a Vipul Amrutlal Shah film, both of which have music by Pritam.”