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Newbie Jonita Gandhi Sings Kahan Hoon Main!

With the title song of the blockbuster film Chennai Express, singer Jonita Gandhi stepped into Bollywood as a background singer. Jonita also singing 2 songs in Imtiaz Ali’s Highway, Kahan hoon main… and Implosive silence… her way to glory, she has made inroads into playback singing as well.

Born in New Delhi, Jonita has had a Toronto-based (Canada) up-bringing, in a musical family. She has been performing since she was 4 years old. She has grown up listening to and learning from a variety of styles, making her a true experimentalist in her art. She has also performed across the world and is breaking into the international music scene at a tremendous speed. However, her education is unconnected to her profession. She has studied Bachelors of Health Sciences from the University of Western Ontario in 2012 and an Honors Business Administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University.

Some interesting facts about her before going to the interview proper:

  • Her cover of Paani Da Rang has crossed 2 million views.
  • Was featured on a track in renowned Flautist Naveen Kumar’s album called
  • She has done playback singing for the title song of the film Chennai Express alongside S.P. Balasubramanyam.
  • She has been featured in Clinton Cerejo’s episode of Coke Studio Season 3 (August 2013)
  • Has sung for a Priyanka Chopra Hero Pleasure Ad film

How was your childhood?

I grew up in the greater Toronto area, which is a very multicultural area. I had friends from various backgrounds and I grew up adopting Canadian culture while maintaining a strong connection to my roots. My family has always instilled the Indian culture in me, despite having migrated to Canada since when I was just a baby. Most people don’t know that I started my journey in the arts through Bollywood dance. Growing up music was just a hobby for me, and I devoted my time mainly to my studies and family.

How were you initiated into music?

I started by just singing around the house when I was a child. Slowly my father started integrating me into his performances around the Indian community in Toronto. I grew up performing Bollywood songs at several private and public events around my city. It was great practice and training for where I am today. My dad also encouraged me to start taking some singing lessons. I practiced Hindi songs and also English songs which I used to hear on the radio and from friends at school.

How did you train in vocal music?

I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory of Music in Western Classical singing. I also took a music course in high school and a couple of university-level courses while I pursued my business and health science degrees. I basically put music and singing into all the free spaces on my class schedule. It was always important to me to keep up my passion for singing amidst all the studying.

What did your parents say when you decided to take up singing career in Bollywood?

My parents were extremely supportive of my decision to spend some time in India pursuing film music. I never really made a concrete decision to ‘become a Bollywood singer’ per se, but I wanted to explore the opportunities in India. My parents were satisfied with the fact that I chose to complete my studies first, since it gave me a solid back up plan in case singing did not work out.

Would you like to share any personal incident connected to Bollywood?

It has been a thrilling journey so far. For a singer in this industry, life can be something like an emotional roller coaster. I’ve learned a lot from being here for the past year, and I’m looking forward to what’s next!

Where is the music industry currently going?

The Indian music industry has revolved around Bollywood for quite some time now. I’m hoping that with time this will change. Unfortunately there is not as much appreciation for independent music, but as more and more artists explore non-film music, this will slowly change.

What are your future Bollywood projects?

Unfortunately I cannot comment on my future Bollywood projects, but I can assure you that I have lots of exciting projects in the works!

About Gayatri T Rao

A double post-graduate (MSc. - Botany and MA - English Literature) Gayatri T Rao is a Senior Freelance Journalist with vast experience in writing on varied topics.

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