India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
June 01, 2015

Pitch Perfect: Akriti Kakkar

Text by Zaral Shah. Photograph by Tejal Pandey. Location Courtesy: House Of Wow

She is the unseen voice behind the foot-tapping chartbusters that have set the nation rocking. Akriti Kakkar speaks to Verve about her passion, inspiration and dream

Your tryst with music: I started singing at the age of five, learning from my mother. I toured the world with Kalyanji-Anandji’s Little Stars from 9 to 14 and sang extensively at national-level competitions. I won a reality show in 1997 and shifted from Delhi to Mumbai to pursue my dream of singing at 18. My debut song was with Vishal-Shekhar for Dus and I then went on to collaborate with Himesh Reshammiya, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Pritamda and more.

A treasured moment: I had composed a song called Chhoone Do for my solo album — after hearing it, an eminent composer told me that it was one song that he wished he had composed. I was overwhelmed and humbled to hear this coming from someone I idolise.

Your musical style: It ranges from Indian classical to pop, bhajans to ghazals, and jazz and qawwalis to Bollywood and Western ballads — I always say I’m a greedy singer.

Breakthrough song: I think it would have to be the Johnny Gaddaar title track I sang for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

Globe-trotting to you is: I am lucky that my work involves a lot of travelling. Amritsar, Udaipur, Nainital, Leh and Goa are my favourites in India. Abroad, Bali, London, Seychelles, Florence and Monte Carlo are a pleasure to visit.

A song you wish you had sung: I have a rather long wishlist here — Piya Tose, Pehla Nasha, Bol Na Halke Halke, Tum Hi Ho, Samjhawan and Kabira being a few.

Your inspiration: My parents, who sacrificed their lives and careers in Delhi and moved to Mumbai with a vision to make my dream come true.

Fashion and luxury are: Fashion is comfort for me and luxury is merely a bonus, not essential.

The one thing you’d like to change about your journey: I am hopelessly optimistic, have amazing people in my life and couldn’t have asked for more. But if I really had to change something about myself, it would be my anti-social nature. Except for when I am on stage, I’m not much of a people’s person.

The genre you enjoy singing the most: Everything except for hard rock.

Live performances versus recordings: Recordings are the reason we have live performances, and so I would have to say both hold equal weightage.

Favourite song of your own: Again, it’s a long list — Mohabbat Aap Se from Aa Dekhen Zara, Abhi Abhi from Jism 2, Iski Uski from 2 States and Saturday Saturday from Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya.

Composers you’d like to collaborate with: Vishal Bhardwaj, AR Rahman and Amit Trivedi.

Apps you cannot stop using: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iTablaPro, SoundHound and Pages.

Looking forward to in the future: I’ve composed a few ad jingles. For the next few months I will be releasing new singles in the Punjabi folk re-inventive project. The songs will be my take on an old gorgeous folk song and I will infuse it with a new vibe.

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