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On World Music Day, Here’s The Goddess Of All Melodious Things With Her Tips For Aspiring Musicians



“There’s no substitute to  hard work. Mehnat  ke ilava  koi bhi  shortcut nahin kaam  aata(nothing succeeds except  hard work),” says Asia’s  most accomplished singer Lata  Mangeshkar when I ask her to share   her mantra  for  success.

“Who  am I   to give  advice to  anyone?” she  demurs initially.  “Har ek ki ladai apni  ladai hoti hai(each one has her his own struggle). What  worked for me may not work for others.”

So what  worked for  the Goddess Of  Melody?  “My struggle  was not for me. It  was  for my family. I was very young , only 13 when  my father passed away. As the eldest child  the responsibility of looking after  my siblings,  my three sisters and a brother, fell on me. Since singing  was  all I knew I set out to recording  studios  all over Mumbai  in my cotton  saree and chappals  , travelling from one end   of  the  city to the  other  by train, often on an empty  stomach.  Kind composers like Naushad saab and Sajjad Hussain Saab would offer me  lunch…”

Struggle  Lataji, feels  to be  an integral  part of an artiste  life.  “If you haven’t suffered how   can  you sing about pain? Today’s generations  have it relatively  easy. Songs are  recorded  on computers. In  our times the live recordings had as many 100 orchestra members  playing instruments live. When  we sang duets Rafi Saab and I, Kishoreda and and I  were  together sharing the mike. Nowadays  a duet is recorded from  two continents. The emotions  are missing.”

Lataji is strongly  against the re-mix culture. “Imitating Rafi Saab, Kishore Da, Asha or me is okay to begin  with.  But you have to  find  your own  voice as soon as possible.This is  why  cover  versions of  old classics are inadvisable. An  imitation is an imitation. It cannot take you anywhere worth going to. Find  your own  voice. Learn Indian classical  music,know the ragas, and practice…Do riyaaz every single day. I  unfortunately became  so busy that I neglected  my riyaaz. It is  the one regret  I have as a singer. I  wish I had made time  for my riyaaz every day. My advice  to young singers is, treat your voice  as a temple.”

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