EXCL: Neeti Mohan, Asees Kaur on growing as female playback singers in India

Playback singers Asees Kaur and Neeti Mohan bagged significant spots on Spotify's Wrapped campaign 
Exclusive Chat With Neeti Mohan and  Asees Kaur
Exclusive Chat With Neeti Mohan and Asees Kaur

Ishq Wala Love is not a love song, it is a love anthem that has managed to survive the test of time since 2012. The romantic track, featured in Karan Johar's commercial success Student Of The Year, was sung by Neeti Mohan. The Jiya Re singer rose to fame with the song and eventually won the Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent.

While Neeti tasted success with her debut track, playback singer Asees Kaur gained nationwide popularity after recording Raatan Lambiyan for Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani-starrer Shershaah. The 34-year-old playback singer got her first break with Bilal Saeed for Mohabbat Yeh from Ishqedarriyaan.

Even though Neeti and Asees kickstarted their career differently, both of them have managed to make a mark in the Indian music industry and bagged significant spots on Spotify's Wrapped campaign (2022).

Asees grabbed the 35th position while Neeti stood tall at the 45th spot for recording Meri Jaan for Gangubai Kathiawadi. In an exclusive chat with Indulge, the renowned artistes spoke about their plans for 2023, their journey as female playback singers and much more.

Read excerpts from the interview here: 


On debut performance...

It's overwhelming to see my first song ever stay relevant even after almost a decade. To perform it live and hear people sing along every word of the song, and dedicate it to their loved ones is a different feeling altogether!

On completing a decade in the industry...

Completing 10 years in the music industry as a playback singer has been so challenging yet so exciting, and most importantly, I've learned a lot as a singer and as an artist. I love that I get to sing for the biggest Bollywood soundtracks. It gives me a thrill.

On being a female playback singer...

Well, I think it's an absolutely exciting and challenging journey to be a playback artist in India because every year, trends and patterns keep changing. Having said that, I think there are more opportunities for everyone in today’s day and age. If you bring good music, people will listen to you. 

On venturing into regional music...

I am always up for exploring regional language songs. I got introduced to Tamil and Telugu language very early on while I was touring with AR Rahman sir. I love his songs, so it did not matter what language they were in. For me, music is beyond any language.

Summarise your journey in three words...

Learning, challenging, and exciting – those are the three words that would summarise my journey. I only look forward to creating good music and performing for my listeners, my well-wishers and my fans. Their love and support mean a lot to me.

On Spotify Wrapped...

In today’s day and age, everything is about online streaming as compared to earlier times. If the listeners like a song, they will listen to it irrespective of whether it is an independent song or a film song, a less promoted song or a highly promoted song. 

Personally, I feel elated to hear that Indians have preferred local women artists over international ones. This is incredible and fantastic news. It's only upward and onwards for our local female artists. Ladies, you got to bring your A-game.


On introduction to music...

My father has been the biggest inspiration for me as I began my journey with Gurbani. I was in grade 6 when I decided that I want to be a playback singer. I am glad and blessed that I have always had the support of my family. 

On giving back-to-back hits...

It feels amazing to get recognition at every step of my musical journey. When you love music, music loves you back. It all started with my first track with Arijit Singh – Bolna from Kapoor & Sons. Composed by Tanishk Bagchi, this track brought me recognition, and then there was no looking back.

On completing 7 years in the industry...

This has been the best journey of my life. In my opinion, there are a lot of challenges you face as a female playback singer or as a matter of fact, being a woman in any industry. The Bollywood industry in itself is male-dominated and this realisation is coming from a place of experience. For instance, the female part of the songs is usually shorter than the male part. You would either get to sing the antra or you don’t even get to sing the hook! I really hope that things change.

On featuring on Spotify Wrapped 2022...

It's such a blessing to be featured as one of the top-streamed female artists on Spotify 2022 for the third time in a row. I am happy about the fact that most Indians prefer listening to local women artists. It’s the best feeling because as an artist, I always want to connect with my fans and listeners.

Plus, with programs like AmplifiHer, I feel that Spotify has given female artists (from India) visibility across the globe. I am humbled to be a part of this. Also, I think if a woman uplifts other women, it makes the world and this industry a better place.

On recording regional music...

Regional music has seen massive growth in the past few years and I am really happy about it. It started with Punjabi music. But now Haryanvi and Bhojpuri music is also topping the charts. I have sung many Punjabi non-film songs and I am planning to record more regional songs in the near future. 

Summarise your journey in three words...
Blessed, soul-stirring and heartfelt are the words I would use to summarise my journey so far. 

Mail: muskankhullar@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @muskankhullar03

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