Bhubaneswar: Indo-Canadian Bollywood singer Jonita Gandhi needs no introduction, for, she has made an indelible mark on the hearts of music lovers, especially the younger generations for quite some time now. Stepping into Bhubaneswar for a concert tonight, www.odishatv.in caught up with her for an exclusive chat.
You became an YouTube sensation garnering millions of fans through your kind of singing. Any unplugged cover version and the name was Jonita’s. Could you please share your experience, the response and exposure you got from YouTube.
When I started in YouTube, I think it was still new. There were not so many Indian cover singers. So I had that advantage I guess, being one of the first people to do it. I think people really responded well, luckily. They liked the unplugged versions of the songs that were popular. And that was really encouraging for me because at that time I was struggling to figure whether I was good enough to make it in the Industry, and then after all the love that I got on YouTube, I am so grateful for that because that pushed me to take my career forward.
Was being a musician’s daughter the take off pad for you as a musician? Any inspiration?
My inspiration is my dad for sure. He is the reason I started practicing and performing when I was very young in Toronto and around Toronto in all the festivals and Indian cultural events. And otherwise, I looked up to so many singers growing up, so many artistes. I am a big AR Rahman fan, I am a big fan of Lata Ji, Sunidhi Chouhan, Shreya Ghoshal, all these people are big inspiration for me musically. And in the West also, I listen to a lot of pop singers, all of that has influenced me and inspired me.
How has been your journey in Bollywood? What’s special about this evening’s concert?
My journey in Bollywood has been awesome. I am blessed that I am working with amazing people. Tonight, I will be showing you guys some of the songs that I worked on in Bollywood in the last couple of years and will also be covering other popular songs that I like to perform and I am sure everybody will love. It will be a great mix of Hindi, English, Punjabi. Hopefully, something will be there for everyone, old songs and new songs. So I am excited to meet people, sing along and dance along.
There has been this trend in Bollywood when actors turn singers and vice-versa. You are beautiful, young, graceful, versatile and have such a beautiful voice. Do you intend to get into acting sometime soon?
First of all thank you for the compliment. I think there are more actors who are singing than there are singers acting. There are not so many singers acting. Personally I have never really looked into acting too much. When I was very young, I used to do a few projects here and there. But, it’s not my priority. If an opportunity comes, then will see may be. But for now, I want to focus on my singing. May be I will act in my music videos only.
Did you visit Odisha earlier?
I think this is my second or third visit may be. I have been here with Sonu Nigam Ji, I performed with him. But I am pretty sure it was a while ago.
Can you say something in Odia for the people of Odisha?
Of course if you teach me…
Please repeat after me then, “Mu Tumaku Bhala Pae”
“Mu Tumaku Bhala Pae” but what does that mean?
It means I Love You….
Oh, I meant that for everybody out there, for the people of Odisha…
About the Singer: Jonita Gandhi was born in New Delhi but her parents moved to Canada when she was only 7 years old. She grew up in Toronto and Brampton. Gandhi has formal training in Western classical music and during her stay in India has taken up training in Hindustani classical singing.
Jonita Gandhi started posting videos in collaboration with Aakash Gandhi when she was 17 and they went viral on internet. She has big hits on YouTube for covers of songs Someone Like You, Pani Da Rang, Tujhko Jo Paaya, Tum Hi Ho, Suhaani Raat, Yeh Honsla, and many others. She has also performed in BC, Canada for songs like Aao Huzoor Tumko, Lag Ja Gale which are very famous.
[Jonita was in Bhubaneswar for a concert organised by the New Indian Express at Utkal Mandap here.]