It has been six years since Jonita Gandhi emerged in the Indian playback scene with the title track of Chennai Express. Since 2013, she has sung a plethora of hit tracks across film industries, continued to produce for her YouTube channel which was in her initial claim to fame, currently having close to 400,000 subscribers and has performed live across the globe.

She says her team has been her biggest source of strength – “My biggest milestone was putting together a live band to tour with and arrange music with. I’ve had the same team since I started performing as a solo act, and I truly believe they are the ones that give me the confidence I need to pull off performances across the globe. As an outsider who didn’t have a pre-established network of musician friends, it took time, rehearsals, and trust to get my live act going. The process really taught me to dive into challenges and have faith in my talent and decisions.”

My biggest milestone was putting together a live band to tour with and arrange music with. I’ve had the same team since I started performing as a solo act, and I truly believe they are the ones that give me the confidence I need to pull off performances across the globe.

In an interview with Anupama Chopra two years ago, Gandhi was part of a panel of female playback singers discussing how Bollywood songs have way more lyrics for the man as opposed to the woman. The women asserted that actresses need to stand up so that female playback singers have better parts and representation in songs. Has anything changed for the better?

She feels that there’s a long way to go before anything changes substantially. Gandhi adds, “That being said, there are more content driven films with female protagonists and songs now than there were a few years back so there has been improvement!”

YouTube being one of the most largely used search engines as well as entertainment portals is one of the reasons the Canadian-Indian singer continues to have her own channel in spite of becoming a full-time recording artist/performer. What makes her keep returning back to the medium and what are the challenges of pursuing different avenues at once?

There are more content driven films with female protagonists and songs now than there were a few years back so there has been improvement!

She informs, “I don’t consider it returning back to a medium – it is more that I am continuing to be found on a platform where my work already exists. In terms of pursing singing for Bollywood, Independent music, covers and performing, the only challenge really is time. But other than that, they all co-exist in harmony.”

There are many musicians and singers Gandhi looks up to and from every artist she takes away something that’s unique, that inspires her to be the best version of herself and improve her ability as an all-rounded performer. She thinks that the biggest challenge an aspiring singer might face in the current environment is standing out among the plethora of content that’s out there these days.

“I think staying as current as possible in terms of trends, but more so using your unique personality to explore creative avenues of expression can help to make a mark.”

In the next five years, Gandhi, who recently headlined the Bollywood Music Festival in Saudi Arabia, sees herself making great music – “ I have a lot of new content planned for the upcoming months and look forward to sharing it all with everyone!,” she promises.

Photo Credit: Amey Ghatge

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