In a genre dominated by soul-stirring greats like Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali saab, late Jagjit Singh and Pankaj Udhas, she is a true female counterpart - one whose ‘dard’ and ‘ehsaas’ are comparable to the greats. Meet Indira Naik, the singer whose voice is an instrument of beauty and power, of earthy sweetness and stark sensuality, evoking images of modern grace and old-world mysticism. Classically trained in the Patiala Gayaki, Indira’s music is a tribute to age old traditions set against the backdrop of our times.
She comes from a family of artistes with a Bharat Natyam exponent mother and a sitar-playing father. Growing up in such a rich environment certainly helped Indira discover her talent, although her ability to apply it to an unexpected genre was very much her own doing. Having toured widely across the globe, Indira has built a reputation for herself, enthralling audiences with live renditions the world over including the US, the UK, Portugal and Brunei as well as across the length and breadth of India. The singer came out open in a candid chat…
Q: Coming from a family of artistes with a Bharat Natyam exponent mother and a sitar-playing father, how did Ghazal and Sufi struck you to make it your profession rather than following your parents footsteps?
Indira Naik: Growing up in such a rich environment certainly helped me discover my talent in music and singing, although my ability to apply it to an unexpected genre was very much my own doing. I took up very naturally to vocal singing. Over the period of time I enjoyed freelance singing so Ghazal and Bhajan attracted me. Sufi music too is not restricted and free-flowing so I got connected with it.
Q: Whom do you consider as the biggest support in shaping your career--- your parents or the dear hubby?
Indira Naik: I would give equal credit to both. The ones who brought me up and educated me in this art form and are still guiding me and of course, my supportive husband who lets me grows and explores new horizons. And, also my daughter, Aditi who takes maximum care herself and lets me work hard. She is not demanding when I travel for shows.
Q: Being a professionally engaged woman, it’s quite difficult to manage ones life at family front. How do you strike a chord between them?
Indira Naik: Well, there are so many working mothers out there. We artists too face the same problem. But, family support and that of your spouse is must, which lets you grow and explore.
Q: Who is your idol or the so-called muse, who inspires you at every step?
Indira Naik: It’s quite difficult to figure out one. There are so many stalwarts and great artists who each in their own way has given something to the world and I have been inspired by what they have given. They all appeal to me and are my inspiration.
Q: Where do you find today in the era that is ruled by hip-hops and rock music, which is entirely different from your type of music and songs?
Indira Naik: Certainly, at a comfortable position because every form of music has its own place and fan-following. It cannot be ruled out that the today’s generations are more into rock and filmy music but there are always people who like soulful music. My kind of music is derived from there and any which ways why should one do what others are doing. Each person is different and has a right to express differently.
Q: How does it feel that you are one of the fewest female singers in a genre (Ghazal and Sufi) , which is primarily dominated by male legends like Mehndi Hasan, Jagjit Singh, Gulam Ali, Pankaj Udhash, etc?
Indira Naik: Undoubtedly, I feel blessed to be part of this genre, which is predominant with legends, who have given a new dimension to Ghazal and Sufi across the seven seas. But, let me clear that music is a common string where both the sexes have an immense role to play.Both men and women express themselves differently. It never bothers my mind that I am one amongst the few female brigades in a world full of great male songs. I have always received warmth, affection and respect from audiences who too have a thirst for a female point of view.
Q: Don’t you feel insecure of surviving in a male-bastion?
Indira Naik: No, never. Music is beyond male and female, beyond boundaries of nationalities, colour and language. The heart gets attracted to the power of music whichever be the source. Each heart also beats to a different tune. What one likes may be different from the others.
Q: How many performances have you given? And, how were their responses? Kindly mention few major ones?
Indira Naik: I have been in this profession for over a decade. So, it is difficult to count the exact number of my performances in India as well as abroad. By the way, one keeps on growing with each experience. People have liked my style and originality. However, I have enjoyed my performances and concerts at World Urdu Conference, Hyderabad (2006), RAPA Awards, Mumbai (2006), Independence Day Celebration, Indian High Commission, Chicago, USA (2005) and International Council for Cultural Relations, Brunei (1998) among others.