Nothing is hotter than a woman who can rock a mic. Meet a new crop of fantastic female singers who embody a combination of raw charisma and talent that is impossible to ignore or deny. These songstresses have got the tunes, the personality and definitely the looks which have earned them a following and a rightful place in music history. Here’s a dekho at three such artistes…
Best Songs: Chil Gaye Naina (NH10), Chittiyan Kalaiyaan (Roy), Lovely (Happy New Year), Kamali (Dhoom 3), Baby Doll (Ragini MMS2)
An air of casual confidence and effortless cool emanates from London-based singer Kanika Kapoor who proved her musical chops with her debut single Baby Doll. Chart busters like Kamali and Lovely rendered her the first choice for leading ladies when it comes to peppy dance numbers. “Peppy songs are easy songs to sing. You need classical training to make the songs sound the way they do. The antara of Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan is tough to sing. Even Jugniji was tough as you have to hold on your vocals while singing,” says the Benaras Gharana trained classical singer. Her voice which ranges from softly sultry to lung-burstingly powerful are the perfect vehicles for songs laced with Punjabi, Sufi and folk influences.
However Kanika doesn’t want to restrict her talent to Bollywood and is working with international artist and British producer Naughty Boy on a single. When not belting out hits Kanika could be spotted sitting in the front row at fashion shows in Milan and Paris. In fact she is the Indian muse for Italian designers Emilio Pucci and Moschino and has walked the ramp for Amrapali, Alberta Ferretti, Louis Vuitton and for fashion maestro Karl Lagerfeld, whom she likes to call “Uncle Karl”. With her light eyes, radiant skin, lanky 5’10” physique, Kanika rocks leather pants and flowy gowns with equal ease.
Aditi Singh Sharma
Best songs: Sooraj Dooba Hain (Roy), Touch My Body (Alone), Choomantar (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), Dheaon Dheaon (Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge), Main Heroine Hoon (Heroine), Aali Re and Dilli (No One Killed Jessica), Yahi Meri Zindagi (Dev D)
The musical landscape for female artists is increasingly competitive these days. With so many new voices constantly emerging, it gets difficult to distinguish one girl from another. Fortunately, Aditi has no problem with that. From fronting a music band to belting solo hits, this 29 year old is wasting no time making herself known with her alluring style, sound and good looks.
A singer with some edge Aditi mostly sings attitude-loaded songs in a voice that’s deep and guttural, primal and raw. Her carefree attitude, kohl rimmed eyes and unruly hair add to her punk attitude. And though she’s known for singing energetic songs Aditi broke the mould with the slow number Raabta from Agent Vinod.
The androgynous beauty rocks live performances in leather jackets, boots, or shorts with leggings. Her mic covers in fancy gold, silver and red match her outfits on stage. “When I’m on stage or in the studio I feel like it’s my extra dose of oxygen intake,” says Aditi who likes to relax with a mug of tea or listen to music while she gets ready for a concert backstage. Working with maestro A.R. Rahman and singing for Priyanka Chopra remain top on her list.
Best songs: Pareshaan (Ishaqzaade), Daaru Desi (Cocktail), Aga Bai (Aiyyaa), Lat Lag Gayi (Race 2) Balam Pichkari (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)
Outrageously talented Shalmali has a husky yet tender voice that could rock you one minute and make you cry the next. And though music happened to this acclaimed singer by accident she quickly proved her mettle with accolades for her debut song Pareshaan from Ishaqzaade. Shalmali is not choosy about the songs she sings but turns down numbers with “unsettling words.” “Songs that are vulgar and don’t speak honorably of a woman aren’t acceptable to me. I have said no to such songs that have come my way,” says the Amy Winehouse devotee. Outside of Bollywood Shalmali has performed as a soloist with a Latvian troupe in a cabaret named ‘Bombaloo’ which toured Moscow, Russia and Yerevan, Armenia.
Not a big fan of bling Shalmali chooses pants, sequined corsets and jumpsuits for live concerts. For the recently held Mirchi Music Awards the 27-year old singer-songwriter rocked it in a net skirt over shorts from Mrunal Yangad.
When not crooning Shalmali works on looking better and fitter on stage. “I’ve been gymming and taking Jazz Funk Dance lessons from Shazeb Sheikh. I want to be able to look powerful even if I’m standing in one place,” says Shalmali who is working on her first English single.
NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR