Kanika Kapoor, the popular singer of Bollywood Punjabi Pop numbers, does not know Punjabi. Born and brought up in Lucknow, Kanika moved to London after she got married at the tender age of 18. Things didn’t work out and she moved out with her three kids. It was a dark phase in her life; she was obese, had no career and became suicidal. Kanika then turned to her first love – music. The rest as they say is history. Her strings of hits started with Baby doll. The success story continued with songs like Kamlee and Lovely in Happy New Year, Chittiyan Kalaiyan and Nachan Farrate. She is also blessed with striking good looks; it is a wonder she decided to be a singer and not a heroine. Kanika Kapoor’s success story is an inspiration to women in India. GlintTv spoke to her on the eve of World Music Day – Read the full interview:
The Making of Kanika Kapoor
When I was 12, I sang Jaao re jogi tum jaao re in an inter-school competition in the individual category…I won an award for it. I was in the group also and our school won all the awards. Suddenly I felt like a star among those boys and girls of 16 schools of the city. At that stage it was a big deal; it gave me a push to take to music, perform and become a singer.
I learnt classical music for twelve years and did my masters from Bhatkhande Music Institute, Lucknow, and yes it has helped me. I wouldn’t be able to sing half of the songs, if I had not learnt classical music.
I am not a Punjabi. I’m a UP khatri, I don’t know Punjabi. I have recently sung a Bengali song, it is coming out in two weeks. I just learn the language and sing – when I was singing Baby Doll, it was ye duniya pittal de but I kept on saying ye duniya peetal de. So I learnt and I delivered.
‘They dismissed I’m a one-song wonder’
When I did Baby Doll, people thought like she’s a one song girl but then Lovely happened, then Happy New Year, then Chitiyan kalaiyan, then desi look, and then Dilwale. Some great songs happened for me in the last 18 months. This year started with Himesh Reshamiyaji, then Udta Punjab and Do lafzon ke kahani and now my latest Hug Me. Today I feel like I am an established singer in Bollywood and I have a responsibility to work harder and to keep this going.
‘I also struggled to reach here’
Everyone has to struggle in their life and so did I, but I handled my struggles intelligently. I am very hard working and have chosen my songs very carefully. At the same time there is luck and yes God has been very kind – given me great work.
I don’t have a life of my own as I am bringing up my children, who live in London. It’s a great struggle and a huge compromise. I got nothing easily. If I got some songs, I had to sing it beautifully otherwise it wouldn’t become my song.
I do work hard on my vocal ability. I am doing more riyaaz as that is the key for every singer. I have taught myself in the last two years how to perform and be on stage.
Kanika surprised by her own success
To be very honest, I’m still unable to understand how things turned around for me in last two years. We have such great singers in our country, and to be recognised feels really nice. I am grateful and hope that I can maintain the consistency.
Out of India the recognition I get is huge. I have been on tour to Australia, USA, Europe, and the Middle East and I was shocked how people took to my music. People send me little videos on Instagram from around the world. It’s a very humbling experience and that has made me want to work harder.
Mostly I listen to Sufi songs and old classical songs – my life is all about music. My mood depends on music.