Indo-Ghana mash & smash
We catch up with Tulsi Kumar, whose latest song a remix of Shut Up and Bend Over was shot at picturesque spots in Kerala
There is no one who hasn’t heard the popular song Shut up and Bend Over by Ghanaian musician Dennis Nana Dwamena aka KiDi. Now, Indian sensational singer Tulsi Kumar has given an Indian touch to the Afro beats. She has collaborated with KiDi for a new music video of ‘Shut Up’ which is taking the internet by storm. The entire 2.47-minute-long video is shot in Kerala.
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From Athirappilly Waterfalls to houseboats in backwaters and Chendamelam, Kerala has become a centre point in the remixed video. Within two days, the video received 8.3 million views. TNIE catches up with Tulsi to know more about her musical journey and the latest International collaboration. Excerpts from the interview:
You’re born into a musical family that has provided a major contribution to the music industry. Could you tell us about your journey so far?
My inclination towards music started at a very young age as I grew up in a musical atmosphere. I can clearly remember it even now... I was just three years old. Just learning to speak. And I was listening to songs such as Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin that were played at my home. And those 90’s songs influenced me greatly. My father, Gulshan Kumar’s love for music and musicians became instilled within me. Now, music is a major part of my life too.
You have lent your voice to scores of songs by now, which one is your personal favourite?
It’s kind of difficult to pick a favourite one and I think every year there has been a favourite song depending on my audience’s pick. Tum Jo Aaye song from the 2010-film Once Upon A Time in Mumbai became a huge success and was my first leap into the industry. It was a duet with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, with music by Pritam and lyrics by Irshad Kamil. That song remains one of my favourites because it was a turning point in my career and got me love and appreciation from listeners.
After three years, I did two cult romantic tracks Hum Mar Jayenge and Piya Aaye Na for the movie Aashiqui 2. That gave me a lot of love from around the world. The song Soch Na Sake from the film Airlift won me the first International Indian Film Academy award in 2017. And Teri Ban Jaungi from the film Kabir Singh also garnered a huge response. All these songs are the ones that define me apart from the many songs that I have sung till now.
How do you see the current culture of remixes, especially old classic film songs?
I have always maintained that the old classics should be handled with care and they should only be recreated if they can be done tastefully. So, I wouldn’t negate anything because I have been part of many such recreations. And also songs like Nachange Saari Raat, O Saki Saki, Soch Na Sake etc garnered a lot of love. But having said that classics should only be touched when one can take them to a higher level. Also, they should be handled with care since they are cult melodies and a lot of people’s emotions are attached to the older versions.
Apart from being a singer, what else do you like to be engaged in?
Apart from being a singer and performer, I am also a voice-over artist. I creatively head a kids’ channel on YouTube Kids Hut where I render voice-overs and curate the content. Apart from that, I am the mother of a five-year-old. So I pretty much multi-task between these roles.
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Tell us a little bit about your recent visit to Kerala and the new music video.
This was my second visit to Kerala. The first one was a brief one when I came here for a live performance. This time, I was in Kochi for about three days for my first-ever collaboration with the prolific singer from Ghana, KiDi. We were shooting the video for the viral track Shut Up from the album Touch It by KiDi. I have added Hindi lyrics to the popular song.
The video is shot in the beautiful scenic backgrounds of Kerala. The song also shows the rich south Indian culture the martial art form kalaripayattu, then kathakali, pulikali etc. And some scenes are under the famous Athirapally waterfalls. The shooting of this video has been beautiful and shooting in Kerala has always been on my wishlist. The song is out and I am looking forward to the response of the viewers.