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Neha Bhasin: ‘I want to take Indian music to the same global level as international artists like Michael Jackson, Beyonce’

by Rupashree Ravi

May 24, 2022

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Singer and songwriter Neha Bhasin has carved a unique artistic identity over the years as a pop artist and folk musician in India. Known for her popular film songs ‘Kuch Khaas,’ ‘Dhunki’ as well as ‘Hum Naye Geet Sunaye’ from the girl group, Viva! she has established herself as a powerful vocalist and independent artist, who has broken many stereotypes of the music industry. In a recent interview, Bhasin shared details about her upcoming singles and collaborations, the struggles of being an independent artist, and her future goals. She also spoke about her biggest inspirations and what she wishes to achieve in the ever-changing industry.

“I started my journey as an independent artist right after Viva! but I released my first album in 2010. I’ve been very fortunate to not just sustain myself but balance a great career between Bollywood music and also my own independent music. Of course, you need good music, funds, and the right support system. I believe what really matters is the connection you share with your audience and the music that you're producing while maintaining the consistency of the good stuff that you produce. It’s not easy, but consistency is the key,” she said.

Bhasin shared with us that she enjoys a wide range of music genres. Since she was young, she always enjoyed listening to pop rock and classic rock bands like Aerosmith and Pink Floyd. Old school artists like Prince have influenced her musical career. She cites Michael Jackson as her biggest musical influence during the start of her career and Adele as her all-time favourite.

“I love keeping myself updated with the world's music space. I listen to current dance genres and I’ve also recently warmed up to a lot of Sufi music. Many artists have inspired me like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Queen, Aerosmith, and Bon Jovi. So many artists from Billy Joel to BTS have moved me. Among Indian artists, I would say Kishore da, Asha Ji, Lata Ji, Reshma Ji, Noor Jahan Ji are my favourites. Some current artists I love are Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Charlie Puth, and Sam Smith It's typical to put them in one word because I feel every great artist has a great impact on your life but I think the reason why I started loving music was Michael Jackson,” she shared.

When asked if any album or single is in the works, she said, “Yes, I'm working on my next single. Singles, rather and some folk song originals. Once they're ready I would know which is the next one for release. I’m always working on new music.”

On artists that she would love to collaborate with, she mentioned singer and composer Amaal Malik. She expressed her interest to collaborate with Punjabi artists and also shared that she is currently in talks with composers Yuvan Shankar Raja and Devi Sri Prasad from the south industry. She hopes that there will be some big stops coming this year with regard to international collaborations, although it is a bit far-fetched at the moment.

As a public figure who has been a part of the industry for many years, Bhasin has been very vocal about social issues like sexism and body shaming and has taken part in a lot of campaigns. “I've had different sizes of bodies in the span of my career. At the very beginning, I was actively body-shamed by the people that I worked with. Body positivity is something I really believe in. It’s something I was very sensitive about because it really impacted my life. I suffered from body image issues and food disorders for a very long time. So, I understand the impact it has on a young person's mind. I hate the word ‘plus size.’ I feel like your body is a beautiful armour that God has given for your soul's residence. It should be appreciated and loved. I think it's my responsibility to put out the right message especially, being a victim of body shaming myself. Hence, I'm active about it,” she said.

The award-winning singer shared that her biggest goal or mission as a musical artist is to produce great music that means something in the world. She shared, “The kind of music that I grew up listening to, that gave me goosebumps and changed my life, made me the artist I am today. I want to be the change that I want to see in the industry. My job is not to preach to people or to change them, but to live by example. That's what I'm doing and that's what I’ve always done. I hope to make my label bigger and have more resources to produce good music. As of now, I'm the only artist who’s in it. I'll be happy if we can get more artists in the future. My mission is to take Punjabi folk music global. I've kind of resurrected a dead genre and I want to make that bigger and better.”

Her ultimate dream to achieve in the music industry is to live a legacy of great work and for people to remember her work as legendary music. She wants to take India to the same global level as international artists like Michael Jackson, Beyonce, and Madonna and have worldwide concerts with great production value.

“Of course, my ultimate dream is to win a Grammy and release my English album, which is something that I’ve not done much about till now except for writing good music,” she added.

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