Madhubanti Bagchi, a singer and composer well known for her melodious voice. Started her playback singing career at a very early age not just in Bengali but in other languages as well and has had the opportunity to collaborate and work with several artists in the industry. During a conversation with TINDS, Madhubanti shares her amazing story of her musical journey.
TINDS: Tell us a little about your childhood.
Madhubanti: I have grown up within an environment of music. I was taught music from a very early age even though nobody from my family pursued this as a profession. I have learned classical music almost throughout my entire life.
TINDS: Where were you born?
Madhubanti: I was born in South of Dinajpur, in Bangladesh, in a town named Balurghat. It was during the time of partition when my grandparents moved to the side of famous musicians India. It wasn’t until later, when my father got a job and we shifted to Kolkata as well and that’s where I grew up.
TINDS: 3 words that describe you the best.
Madhubanti: Stubborn, Impatient & Sincere.
TINDS: How did you start doing music at an early age?
Madhubanti: I used to sing more than I used to talk to be honest. Everybody in my family loves music. My father used to sing often and he is a trained classical singer as well. It was due to the musical environment I grew up in that music was embedded into my subconscious. My parents figured that I had a special connection of some sort with music and encouraged me to go ahead.
TINDS: Which instruments do you play?
Madhubanti: I used to play the harmonium when I sang songs. I can play the tanpura and a little bit of Tabla. I learned a little bit of guitar by myself and I was fascinated by Bass Guitars so I looked into that too. I am trying to learn a little about keyboards now as well.
TINDS: How did you end up being a professional musician from an engineer?
Madhubanti: I always used to hang out with famous musicians. I used to listen to a lot of metal songs during my B.Tech and I was a part of a band as well. I was enjoying it a lot but practically I wasn’t sure if it would be viable as a career. I was dreading the fact that I’ll someday be done with my degree and I’ll have to visit some IT office with an ID wrapped around my neck. The day I visualized that I just could not picture myself that way. I needed an alternative and put my head to it. I got a job in my 3rd year, but I knew for sure I would not be able to continue music simultaneously with the job. So I refused the job and got admitted to Jadavpur University to do my M.tech, which I figured would give me an additional two years to make up my mind. When I was on the verge of finishing my M.Tech, that’s when I got called for an audition and got it. By the time I finished my Masters, I decided to pursue music as a career.
TINDS: Which was your first released song?
Madhubanti: It was for a movie named ‘Ami ar Amar Girlfriends’. The audition was for this movie only that I talked about and I got that.
TINDS: What was your experience of playback singing like?
Madhubanti: It was eye opening for me in a lot of ways I would say. I have learned and sang classical music by myself for a very long time, then we had our band and we’d do our thing. There was nobody to instruct us about what to sing or how to sing it. When I got to playback singing and first stood up to the mike I thought I sounded terrible and I felt heartbroken. I knew the ones who selected me obviously had reasons but I wasn’t content with my own output. I criticize myself more than anyone else on Earth. There is a big difference between singing live and in a studio. The more you sing in front of a mike the more you understand your voice and get better.
TINDS: Please tell us a little about your very recently done song of Coke Studio Bangla?
Madhubanti: It was actually a very special experience for me. I randomly got a message while I was having coffee with my friends inquiring if I was interested in performing on a song for Coke Studio Bangla. My only query was about who’d be the music producer and when I was told about Arnob, I agreed instantly because I have always been a huge fan of his. It was amazing working with him and it felt great because he gave me the absolute freedom to sing the way I wanted to.
TINDS: Songs that you often listen to?
Madhubanti: I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, it’s hard to specify. I listen to Arnob because his songs are evergreen. Arijit singh and I listen to a lot of Beatles as well, it’s very hard to find that sort of experimental music nowadays. I listen to the general pop music that’s going on in the trending list of music because I like to keep myself updated. I still listen to a lot of metal music till date and I’d show up for sure if there’s a concert anywhere around.
TINDS: Coming this far, what have you had to struggle with?
Madhubanti: To be very honest, I haven’t had to struggle a lot. I consider myself very lucky in this regard because I have seen a lot of people around me with enough potential, struggle a lot. I think things came easy to me and I am extremely grateful for it.
TINDS: What would your advice be to new musicians?
Madhubanti: I think the young musicians have it all figured out and they are very clear about what they want to achieve. They are very smart about the social media stuff and know how to handle it, whereas we on the other hand are just getting to figure that out. My only advice would be to not work to make something that people may like, instead it’s important that one should focus on making music that they like.
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