Bhopal: ‘I Am Proud To Say That I Was A Nightclub Singer’

Bhopal: ‘I Am Proud To Say That I Was A Nightclub Singer’

The 77-year-old queen of Indian Pop Usha Uthup was in the city to perform at Bharat Bhawan on Friday at Bhopal Literature and Art Festival 2024.

SmitaUpdated: Saturday, January 13, 2024, 07:14 PM IST
article-image

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Playback singer Usha Uthup said high-end digital technology made music perfect but deprived it of warmth. The 77-year-old queen of Indian Pop was in the city to perform at Bharat Bhawan on Friday at Bhopal Literature and Art Festival 2024. Excerpts of her brief interview with Free Press.

You have been singing for more than 54 years. How has music industry changed over this period?

The music industry has changed but its soul remains the same. I am lucky to be part of that change. I was there when they had 78 RPM records. Today, electronics and technology dominate industry. Now, you can correct one syllable, one word in a recording. Earlier, we had just one microphone and all the musicians played live, together. One mistake and the entire thing had to be redone. Today, everything is perfect. But too much perfection is also too cold. The music is perfect but the warmth is missing. I am not criticising anyone or anything but warmth has gone.

You used to sing at night clubs in Mumbai. Didn’t your family object?

No, not at all. In fact I am proud to say that I was a nightclub singer.

There are many music reality shows for children on TV? Are they good for them?

There is so much pressure on children. Parents want their children to be perfect, to be able to sing well. That is bad. Music should never be learned like that, under pressure.

When you were a child, how involved were your parents in your training?

They were not involved at all. Moreover, I have had no formal training in music. I wasn’t looking for an opportunity in music industry either. I was born and brought up in Bombay. My sisters - Sami sisters - used to sing Western songs. They took me to Hamid Sayani and his brother Ameen Sayani. Both used to work for Radio Ceylon. And through them, I got an opportunity to sing on Radio Ceylon when I was nine. Radio Ceylon, BBC, Voice of America and Vividh Bharati were my inspirations.

Saree, gajra and a big designer bindi are your trademarks. How did it happen?

Nothing was deliberate. I come from a South Indian middle-class family where women used to wear saree and gajra. As for bindi, I opted for big-sized ones from Kolkata.

Ustad Rashid Khan passed away recently. How do you remember him?

We were very close friends. To go away at 55 - it’s unbelievable, it’s the worst thing that could have happened. He was an amazing singer. He bridged the gap between classical singing and modernity. He brought classical singing to people, just like Jagjit Singh brought ghazal to people.

RECENT STORIES

MP: Prachi Yadav Wins Two Gold At 2024 ACC Paracanoe Asian Championship In Japan

MP: Prachi Yadav Wins Two Gold At 2024 ACC Paracanoe Asian Championship In Japan

MP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 127 Candidates In Fray In Third Phase; 14 Candidates Withdrew Names On...

MP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 127 Candidates In Fray In Third Phase; 14 Candidates Withdrew Names On...

MP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Narendra Modi's Statement Raises Political Storm In Central State

MP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Narendra Modi's Statement Raises Political Storm In Central State

Madhya Pradesh Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Security Beefed Up For Narendra Modi’s Bhopal Road Show;...

Madhya Pradesh Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Security Beefed Up For Narendra Modi’s Bhopal Road Show;...

Low Voting In Lok Sabha Elections Phase 1: ‘Mahua Plucking, Weddings, Hot Weather Killed...

Low Voting In Lok Sabha Elections Phase 1: ‘Mahua Plucking, Weddings, Hot Weather Killed...