Poushali Chatterjee is a 19 year old vocalist/musician from Kolkata who has been learning Hindustani Classical music for the last ten years and finds respite in singing melodies. She started uploading covers on Instagram as recently as the first lockdown in 2020 and was overwhelmed with the massive praise she received for her work. Poushali considers the past two years as a fabulous journey and says that “singing for my little virtual family has emerged as a huge source of happiness for me”. She is also in the midst of completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Presidency University, Kolkata. Inspired by her spirit, we asked her a few questions to gain insight into her past and her plans for the future. Read on to know more!
- How young were you when you discovered your love for music and singing? Was there a definitive moment that made you fall in love with music?
I come from a family of musicians and started singing at the age of 4. I was raised around music, there is no one particular moment when I realised my love for it. I remember when I was a child my dad used to put me to sleep while playing music; he played ghazals, retro Bollywood music and other genres. I used to really look forward to that part of the day. My family has literally nurtured me around music. To this day, my dad and I have a fixed period of time everyday, no matter how busy our schedules might be, when we sit and listen to music. We sing songs, correct each others’ mistakes, laugh and fight over it. This is probably why music has been the only way through which I am able to feel emotions and accept them. Music has become a part of my personality now. I can't point to a specific time when I realised that I’m growing into a musician - it has always been who I am.
- Do you plan on pursuing music as a career? If yes, would you want to try Bollywood or make original music?
Right now my main aim is to be a better musician. I want to focus on developing my skills, learning more, and making myself more versatile. I am not averse to the idea of singing in movies and entertainment, but that is not my goal. If it has to happen, I’m sure it will eventually. My family has encouraged me to strive for perfection rather than for fame and I strongly abide by that. With regard to original music, it is something that I really want to explore. I believe the entertainment industry is continuously changing and artists are putting more effort into creating music of their own. I am currently working on such a project and am really excited!
Having said that, I am keeping my options open, it doesn’t matter if it's Bollywood or original music as long as it is good and honest work. I do also plan on studying music at some point in the future.
- Do you train in singing or have you learned music on your own? What is your routine for getting better and learning more?
I have been learning Hindustani classical music for the last 10 years. Like any other musician, I would say practise is of utmost importance. I also believe in enjoying what I do, so I try to enjoy practicing in order to get better. I practice around 2 hours every day and in this time, I try to experiment with new techniques and have fun with it.
In my opinion, it is also very important to have a teacher/Guru who teaches you from the fundamentals. I am extremely grateful to my Guruji for helping me out with this as it is extremely important in shaping one’s “Gayiki”. I stress a lot on foundations and basics because it helped in bringing more fluidity in my style.
Another way of learning for me is by listening. I listen to all types of music and don’t have any sort of prejudice over any form of music as there’s something to learn from every genre. However, there are certain artists whose work functions as text books for me, such as SD Burman, Madan Mohan, Lata Mangeshkar, Shreya Ghoshal, Coldplay, John Mayer, and RM.
- Who is someone you look up to and why?
For me, it has always been Shreya Ghoshal. I cannot express in words how much she inspires me, and how much I learn from her. She has been my idol forever - I even wrote a school project on her when I was twelve! I have been to a few of her concerts and the ease with which she sings for 2-3 hours straight is mind blowing. Her style of singing, her mannerisms, her ways of touching on emotions are all things that I try to emulate in my singing as well. I start my day listening to her and I go to sleep listening to her. One thing that I really adore about her is her dedication and love for her art; she has always put music as her top priority and never chased after easy popularity. I consider her the epitome of perfection and feel that she is an irreplaceable part of the industry. Apart from her, I look up to Lata Mangeshkar and Kaushiki Chakraborty.