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News |  24 Oct 2018 13:54 |  By RnMTeam

Bollywood music derives heavily from global styles and jazz has existed in the mainstream for decades now: Vasundhara Vee

MUMBAI: We all have crooned to Kaisi Pehli Hai Yeh from Parineeta or Aaiye Meherbaan from Howrah Bridge, little do we understand the nuanced compositions and the heavy influence of western styles of music in these songs. The culture of Soul and Jazz, RnB has been in India for a long time, however, not as popular as other genres. In fact, India has some noteworthy artistes in this field like Louis Banks, Clinton Cerejo, Loy Mendonca to name a few. Female Jazz vocalists have been fewer nonetheless noteworthy and Mumbai-based Vasundhara Vee is one of the noteworthy names. She is also responsible for the revival of RnB, Soul and Jazz into the clubs and bringing it back to the playlist of today's youth in India. When she is not seen regaling the audiences as a part the finest Jazz, RnB and Soul outfits in the country (in the capacity of both collaborator and curator), she’s found pursuing her passion for music education, which has now found a permanent home in her newly introduced School of Voice.

Having been a witness to the transformation in this field of music, Vasundhara says, “Over the last 10 years, I have seen a massive growth in people, who want to actively study western styles of singing. Our industry as a whole, is shifting and vocalists are feeling the need to diversify. For three years, I've been teaching pre-professional singers, professional singers and actors how to sing with ease and freedom. Some of my early students have gone on to find success in their work, example winning The Stage (Sharvi Yadav), Colours of Youth (Vaani Behl), Aloft Star Asia (Hanita Bhambri) etc. And now, with The School of Voice, I'll be formally doing courses across India to empower the great talent we have here.”

She re-instates the presence of this genre in India, as she adds, “The sound of Jazz is actually quite common in India and it's more a matter of joining the dots for music listeners. Bollywood music draws heavily from styles from all over the world, and jazz has existed in the mainstream for decades now. We just have to listen to what's playing behind the voice. Today's greats Loy Mendonsa, Louiz Banks, Ranjit Barot, Clinton Cerejo, Ehsaan Noorani, Dhruv Ghanekar among many others, they are all from a blues and jazz background.”

Her educational outfit works features a new technique that fills many unmentioned or untaught gaps in regular curriculum courses, thus helping singers get a seamless understanding of the voice. The approach has been beautifully documented in her new release that features Nina Simone’s Four Women. Vasundhara Vee- Four Women (Nina Simone Tribute). On how did she think of Four Women, Vasundhara says, “Covering Four Women was important for me as an artist and a human being. I feel that we must learn to build empathy by studying the stories of different cultures. We are more connected now than ever and yet the world is terribly polarised.”

Watch the video here:

The track has Vasundhara singing in four character voices, which is a great example to elucidate on the notion of voice versus style and how the same voice can be styled in many characters and sonic formats.

“As a singer, it was a unique challenge to embody four different energies. These are four ways we confess our truths, from deep and quiet to screaming and exploding. The voice changes with the intention of the story. I couldn't have done it without the great Dhruv Ghanekar, who helped by directing the vocal and constantly giving me feedback,” she says.

On a signing note, she shares a pro-tip for the aspirants, “I'm a Soul singer and I will always be. Your core sound will give you power no matter what style or language you want to sing in. “