Karishsma Sanu Sovvota, a singer, song-writer and lyricist based in Bangladesh, is gaining popularity at the speed of light. Her knowledge and understanding of classical music have given her an insight like no other. Her amazing songs and her more incredible lyrics have been an absolute hit for the youngstars relating to them. From having a different and wonderful perspective of the world, Sovvota shared her story with us at TINDS during a conversation.
TINDS: Tell us a little about yourself.
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: I am a human being. I live a very simple life and I am often looking for ways to make it even simpler.
TINDS: 3 words that describe you the best.
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: Courageous, Foolish & Creative.
TINDS: What would you be if not a musician?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: I’d be a bag designer. I used to run a business of bags before COVID hit. I always used to make bags for myself because I never happened to like the ones available in the market usually. I started doing this when I was a kid as we learned stitching and stuff in our home economics class. As I grew older, it kind of became a necessity. Being a musician, we often have to carry instruments and there aren’t too many available in the market meant for the purpose. The ones available are mostly not good enough or of bad quality. Keeping this in mind, I partnered up with my cousin to make a few bags serving this purpose only. As I am a musician, it was easier for me to figure out the kind of options I wanted in my bag for my instruments and what would keep it safe as well. I made the designs and we had a very good thing going on until 2020, we sold around a few hundred bags perhaps.
TINDS: How did you end up studying music?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: I always knew what I wanted and there were no confusions at all. One fine morning back when I was only twelve, I wrote the lyrics, set the tunes and made a song by myself. I have never felt so content in my life ever before and I can not express in words the kind of feeling that I get by making music. That is the day I decided to be a singer and song-writer and knew this is the profession I wanted to pursue. Since then, I have always tried to work on this agenda. I studied music in Dhaka University and I belong to probably the first batch of students who had the opportunity to learn in depth about music from the institution.
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TINDS: Tell us about your first song that was released.
Karishsma Sanu SovvotaSovvota: The first ever song was released in 2007, an album named “Jhalmuri”, which included songs of many singers and the music was composed by Arnob. Back then, when an album used to be released during Eid, a lot of people were very likely to buy the cd and listen to the songs. That was my first ever exposure to the audience I’d say.
TINDS: How many instruments do you play?
Sovvota: My biggest instrument is my voice for sure. I learned to play the piano when I was young. I picked up the guitar pretty much by myself, but my brother helped me when needed. My father used to play the flute which I learned from him. I got my ukulele from Thailand and learned how to play it from the store owner in a span of 3 to 4 days only. I can play the ‘Tabla’ as well because it was mandatory for us to learn in the university.
TINDS: How does it feel being up on stage?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: I enjoy performing on stage more than anything, that’s my favorite place to be at. It fills me with delight when I see people in front of me. I rather enjoy this instead of getting nervous, the more the people the merrier. I think I turn into a different person when I am up on stage performing.
TINDS: We know that you run a music school as well. What is it like teaching music?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: Anondom Shongitangon belongs to my father and here we believe in teaching music to the ones who are willing to learn. We cater to every student individually and teaching music is sacred to me. I feel like I have knowledge about something and it is my duty to let people in on this and spread the knowledge. I intend to do this as long as I can because I believe that the knowledge of music is meant to be shared. We have had students from 3 years of age to 63! Anybody and everybody who is interested in learning music is welcome at our institution. It’s a family legacy and I am simply helping to continue it.
TINDS: You have been a part of a recently released Coke Studio Bangla song. How did that feel?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: The entire Coke Studio Bangla experience felt okay to me, however there has been a big fuss about it. To me, it was like a job and I’d be paid if I did it right. I was asked by Arnob Bhaia to be a part of this, and since he asked, I couldn’t say no out of respect.
TINDS: Why’d you decide to sell CD’s for your first album in this age of streaming?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: ‘Jodi Thakto Dana’ was my first solo album, although the songs of the album were released on online platforms, I decided to release a physical album. The CD is like a souvenir and it has different worth. Like being able to touch the pages or smell a new book can not be achieved by a PDF soft copy of the same book. Me and my cousins put a lot of hard work into it, one person was assigned to write the CD’s and I manually put the stickers on all of them. The cover was printed from a separate place and we worked almost the entire night to finish the packaging. I decided to do this alone due to the frustration I felt when I was looking for sponsors. Upon finding none, I was motivated to release the album on my own. Luckily enough, I was able to sell around half of it on the first day during the launching event in Dhaka University area.
TINDS: Who have you been listening to recently?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: I have been recently listening to an album composed by an Italian singer named Anthony Lazaro which I really liked. I heard one of my students humming one of his songs when I asked which song it was, she could tell me the lyrics but not the name of the artist. I searched for the song and came up with the name of the artist and after listening to all of the songs of the album, I messaged Anthony on Instagram about how I liked it. He was kind enough to appreciate it and even followed me back on Instagram!
TINDS: What would your advice be to young musicians?
Karishsma Sanu Sovvota: I don’t think I have much to offer as advice to the young musicians because they are already very smart. In fact I believe that there is a lot that I can learn from them because they are more advanced. They are more aware about what’s going on around the world musically. For example, the album that Dameer Khan released is absolutely wonderful and is of international standard.
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