Guwahati girl, Prarthana Choudhury has lent her melodious voice to many songs in various languages. Her song ‘Kaisi Khudgarzi’ got her the Best Female Singer Award at Artist Aloud Music Awards. We get to know this talented artiste better through this detailed interview.
Tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was born and brought up in Guwahati, Assam, in this humble locality called ‘Santipur’. Childhood was a heady mix of music and school-classes! As a child, I remember juggling both music and academics – my parents nurtured a conducive environment at home. My penchant for music developed quite early on in life and organically, music got incorporated into my everyday life. In fact, I started public-singing when I was 3 years old. As a child, I remember having oodles of fun hopping from one stage to another to participate in district and state-level singing competitions across a wide variety of genres – ranging from Hindustani Classical to Jyoti Sangeet and Bishnu Rabha Geet.
Where did you train?
Once my parents identified my natural inclination towards music, they decided to get me trained in Hindustani Classical Music and over the years, I learnt a lot under the tutelage of all my Gurus. My very first Teacher was Manoj Patgiri Sir and eventually, I was trained by Patit Pavan Sarvavidya Sir. Thereafter, I attended music-classes at ‘Narayan Sangit Mahavidyalay’ for a couple of years. I completed my Visharad (Bachelors of Music) when I was in the 8th standard. I am lucky to have been trained in voice culture techniques by late Pt Karuna Shankar Thakuria Sir who also trained me in a number of Ragas when I was pursuing my Masters in Music. Alongside, I remember indirectly imbibing many lessons in vocal-music while listening to the songs of a wide variety of amazing artistes like Hariharan ji.
As you may be aware, my dad Dr Satyendra Kr Choudhury plays the violin and I grew up watching him play songs of all moods and genres, ranging from Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s songs and Ghulam Ali’s ghazals to both old, classic and contemporary Bollywood numbers. This introduced me to a wide array of songs while mom’s taste for music inspired me to appreciate and understand various forms of music.
When were you were in Delhi for studies, how did you manage to pursue music?
Yes, I graduated in English literature from Hansraj College, Delhi University (DU). Although my academic studies took me to Delhi, my stay in Delhi proved to be a sort of a turning point in my music journey. DU has this popular long-standing tradition of hosting inter-college cultural festivals every year, of which music competitions are an integral part. These events become a melting pot of talent as DU students as well as students from all over India participate in big numbers and showcase their talent. Like all such students, I remember eagerly looking forward to that time of the year when I would get a chance to perform a variety of songs – from Ghazals, Bhajans and Assamese Folk (Bihu).
Winning awards and accolades during those competitions gave me a high! In fact, it was a great feeling when I was awarded the prestigious ‘College Colour’ & ‘Blazer’ Award by my own College. During the 3rd year of college, I was chosen as the President of the music society, ‘Swaranjali’. When I was in Delhi, I was invited to perform by popular Assamese Associations based there – like ‘Luiporia’ and ‘Shrishti’. It was always a special feeling to sing for the Assamese crowd. I am grateful to all the lovely people who had appreciated or encouraged me back then!
How did it feel winning an award at the Artist Aloud Music Awards?
It was definitely a great experience receiving the ‘Best Female Singer’ Award at the 5th Artist Aloud Music Awards. When music veterans Talat Azizji and Suneeta Raoji handed over the award to me, the feeling was overwhelming. The organisers had not let out any hint about my impending win; therefore, it came as an absolute surprise to me, and emotions of gratitude and joy jostled for space in my mind.
Tell us about ‘Kaisi Khudgarzi’ which got you the ‘Best Female Singer’ Award.
‘Kaisi Khudgarzi’ just happened to me one fine day! I was in one of those reflective moods which ultimately led me to vent out a blend of emotions and thoughts through a song. The lyrics and tune came to my mind almost simultaneously. I connected with this super talented band ‘Ehesaas’ at once and we soon hit the studio after exchanging notes over the phone. This wouldn’t have been possible without Dad constantly coaxing me to create my own songs for years.
It has been an exciting experience doing this song as we infused elements of rock music into it. Thanks to the goodwill and support of so many people, our experimentation received an overwhelming response and the song bagged this prestigious Award at the 5th Artist Aloud Music Awards (AAMA) in the ‘Best Female Singer’ category despite tough competition from so many independent artists from India and abroad.
Tell us a little about you Assamese album ‘Xuworoni’?
‘Xuworoni’ is a unique ensemble of various emotions of love, romance and childhood memories tucked into one single endeavour. So, ‘Xuworoni’ has a song to compliment your every mood and every memory!