Harshdeep Kaur

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Harshdeep Kaur

Harshdeep Kaur (born December 16, 1986) is a popular playback singer in India. Harshdeep was born in a Sikh family in Delhi and inherited her love of music from her father, Savinder Singh, who owns a factory which makes musical instruments. Apart from studying, she started learning music at the tender age of six.

She and her family are committed Sikhs and her presence on the Lux Junoon show in 2008 wearing a turban which is an important symbol of Sikhism was appreciated by millions of people across the globe. Also she was faithfully supported, throughout the many shows in the contest, by both her parents, with her father wearing the customary Turban and long kesh as ordained by the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh.


Early life

She learnt Indian Classical Music from Shri Tejpal Singh, popularly known as one of the Singh Brothers and she studied western Classical Music with George Pullinkala at the Delhi Music Theatre. Later, at the age of twelve, in order to explore the world of music, she joined the Delhi School of Music to learn piano, which has become her passion. "She is a singing sensation who is set to rock the music world with her powerful and magical voice", said a music critic from India. At the tender age of 14, She recorded her first album called Romantica.

Harshdeep has a good command over both western as well as Indian classical music. She feels that Sufi and folk singing is closer to her heart than Bollywood performances. Music, for Harshdeep, is like oxygen which keeps her life moving along.

Her turban-look during the 2008 contest made her stand apart in the Lux Junoon show. Being a Sikh girl, she showed complete respect to her traditions and culture by wearing either the turban or a chunni and long hair - a symbol of Sikhism. Her recitation of the Mool Mantar, the "root mantar" (magic chant) of Sikhi, for the show was an important highlight and was so lovingly delivered with such dedication......

Milestone

  • 1997: Went to Russia after winning a cultural exchange contest in Delhi.
  • 2000: Recorded her first album Romantica at the age of fourteen. She sung and composed the title song of alpha punjabi’s show called excuse me please and direct dil se.
  • 2001: Won the MTV video GAGA contest 2001. She sung a duet song called aari ve aari with pammi bai, a hit singer from Punjab, in his album nach nach pauni dhamal.
  • 2002: Sang in the movie, aapko pehle bhi kahi dekha hai, a song called sajna main hari.
  • 2003: Sang two songs in the movie oops namely alag alag and uljalul. She has cut a solo album called romantica which was released by sa re ga ma Hmv.
  • 2005: She sang the song 'Leja for the film Karam
  • 2006: She sings the famour Sikh prayer Ik Onkar for film Rang De Basanti and song Udne Do for film Taxi
  • 2007: Sang several songs in this year: Is Pal Ki Soch in film Halla Bol; song Saajana - in the film 1971 and Dil Ne Ye Na Jaana in film Red - The Dark Side
  • 2008: Took part and won the Lux Junoon Sufi ki sultan category

Awards and Competitions

Harshdeep reciting the Mool Mantar on 'Junoon' show in 2008

MTV Video GAGA 2001

2001: She won the hearts of millions when she won the MTV video GAGA contest 2001, where she won against 10000 contestants from all over India at a tender age of 14. The panel of judges included artists like Javed Akhtar, Usha Uthap, Jatin Lalit among other eminent judges. In spite of her small age of 14, she amazed everyone with her deep voice and by evoking people’s emotions with the rendition of the all time great Lambi Judai.

Harshdeep is the first female to win two Reality Show titles.

Sufi ki Sulatana

2008: Harshdeep won the singing competition 'Junoon' - 'kuch kar dikhaane ka' on ndtv imagine in September 2008. She competed from the Sufi ke Sultan genre with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan as her mentor. She was declared the Sufi ki Sultana by Amitabh Bachchan who was the chief guest in the Grand Finale.

The show was a competition between three genres - Sufi, Folk and Bollywood. Eminent singers from India and Pakistan participated in the show.

Harshdeep's presence on the show was appreciated by millions of people across the globe. Her turban-look made her stand apart in the show. Being a Sikh girl, she showed complete respect to her traditions and culture by wearing the turban - a symbol of Sikhism.

Career

Harshdeep recorded her first album Romantica at the age of fourteen. She also recorded her first song as a playback singer at the age of fourteen. Harshdeep is one of the few singers who get the golden opportunity to sing at a young age. Her soulful, mature voice gives a beautiful color to her songs.

Ik Onkar, the Sikh prayer in Rang de Basanti, was a milestone for Harshdeep. It gave her recognition on a wide scale. The prayer is the most popular Hello Tune of all mobile networks in the world. People from all across the globe can relate to this prayer.

Filmography

Interview

Harshdeep Kaur

Q. You won Lux Junoon Kuch Kar Dikhane Ka.. you were called the audience ki ladli on the show..

A. (Laughs) In a way it was tough to beat established singers like Abhas Joshi and Malini Awasthi. My genre of music was sufi. The show had Pakistani singers rendering songs in rich Punjabi but I simplified my songs.. and made them more appealing for the young listeners. I think that worked.

Q. Would you consider Ek Onkar from Rang De Basanti your breakthrough? A. (Gushes) Yes, yes, yes. I might even do a Punjabi musical.. titled Ek Onkar.

Q. At 21 you have worked with nearly all the music directors.. A R Rahman, Vishal-Shekhar, Pritam, Anand Raj Anand, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Pritam..

A. More the merrier.. I’d want to sing more for them, especially for A R Rahman sir

Q. So you thank reality television for it?

A. I do. Initially the audience only related to the voice. Now they know me by face.. It’s a big deal. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, my mentor, has extracted the best out of me.

Q. What’s in store?

A. Quite a few projects. Kajra re and Idiot Box and my private sufi album. I play the piano, I am a pure musician. Whatever I do in the future – acting or TV — has to be related to music

Q. How was the experience of singing with Mr. A.R. Rehman?

A. I have always admired Mr. Rehman's music. Singing with him was like appearing for the board exams. I was excited as well as nervous. But to my astonishment, the moment I entered into the recording studio and began to sing, everything went by as smooth as an ice cream.

Q. Tell us about the song in Rang De Basanti.

A. It is not a song. It is an extract from Japji Sahib, the Sikh's Morning Prayer. I consider it an honor to sing Ik Onkaar. Since childhood I have been singing it. We recorded the song at 4 in the morning. It is believed that early morning is the time of God and I actually felt God standing next to me and making me sing.

Q. Tell us about your first break as a playback singer.

A. My first film as a playback singer was with Music Director duo Nikhil Vinay for the film Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai. The best part was that for the first time my name was featured along with music maestros like Jagjit Singh, Asha Bhosle, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Alisha Chinoy and many more.

Harshdeep Kaur in 2000

Q. How was the feeling of hearing your voice on the silver screen?

A. It is a moment that I will never forget. For the first time I was hearing my voice in a cinema theatre. Not only me, but also hundreds of people sitting next to me were listening to my voice. Up till now my only audience used to be my family, but now there were people outside my family who were listening to my voice. My parents were almost crying with happiness. I felt even more responsible.

Q. You started as a pop singer with your album Romantica. When can we expect more albums from you?

A. I am working on my album. I am also composing the tunes. It will be released this year.

Q. That is wonderful. How did you get into composing?

A. I enjoy composing music. I don't want people to know me just as a singer. I want the world to know me as a complete Musician. I love each and every aspect of Music and don't want to stay untouched from any one of it.

Q. How did you come into the field of music?

A. I didn't come into this field. I was born in the house that was full of music. My father, Mr. Savinder Singh, owns a factory of Musical Instruments in Delhi known as House of Music. We had almost all the musical instruments at home. So getting attracted towards music was inevitable.

Q. From where did you get your formal training in Music?

A. Initially, my father used to teach me. But later he sent me to Shri Tejpal Singh Ji (popularly known as Singh Bandhus). I learnt Indian Classical Music from him and Western Classical Music from Mr. George Pulinkala. I also joined the Delhi School of Music to learn the Piano.

Q. You started your career at an early age. Did it disturb your studies in any way?

A. Not at all. My parents have always given a lot of importance to studies. They never allowed me to take unnecessary leaves from school. I have always enjoyed studying as it broadens one's perspective. I did my schooling from Delhi and then my family shifted to Mumbai. The first thing that my father made me do after shifting to Mumbai was to fill the forms of all the colleges and look for the best course. I then joined S.N.D.T. Women's University. I am pursuing a Graduate course in Audio Production.

Q. What is it, besides music, that you like spending your time on?

A. Studies. At college we get a lot of projects and assignments. At home I am always busy completing them.

Q. Everyone has a role model. Who has been your source of inspiration both in and outside the field of music?

A. My father acquainted me to music. He taught me the basic Sa Re Ga MA…. So he is my role model.


In the news

Weaving Magic

Harshdeep Kaur

Her career graph is on a 90 degree ascend. Her Halla Bol song Is pal ki soch is a hit and the lady already has four releases to look forward to — Karz, Kajrare, Idiot Box and Money Hai To Honey Hai. But guess what makes her the happiest singer of the moment? Her latest album that is based on Sufi music. The album does not yet have a title and Harshdeep isn’t very sure when will it be out in the market, but at present, she is just enjoying the bliss of singing Sufiana kalaam.

“I have always been singing Sufi songs during my stage performances, but this is the first time I am coming out with an album, purely on Sufi songs,” says Harshdeep, her voice reflecting the excitement even over the telephone. After all, a trained classical singer and that too a disciple of Tej Pal Singh of Singh Brothers, it is understandable that her taste for music runs more towards the classical variety.

“But no, I love music of any genre, provided it is good music,” she defies us. Well, what kind of music is ‘good music’, we ask. “Songs, which have a good composition and meaningful lyrics,” she says. So is she happy with the music scene of today? “There is a lot of experimentation and the focus is shifting from melody to rhythm and music. We are losing the intricacies of melody, which is indeed sad,” comes her reply.

Harshdeep’s musical sensitivity comes from her father Savinder Singh, who owns a factory of musical instruments in New Delhi. In fact, it was her father who spotted her talent one day when she was humming a song. That led to rigorous training in Indian classical and finally the win at MTV’s Video GaGa-2001, making her the youngest singing sensation at 15. What followed next were a solo album Romantica and a score of Punjabi album besides songs for flicks like Karam, Fight Club, Jalwa, Ghaav, 1971, Red and of course the famous Ik Onkar of Rang de Basanti. Well, that’s all past. Which are the songs she is looking at as possible hits of this year? She replies, “They all have nice compositions and good lyrics. For Karz and Kajrare, I am singing duets with Reshammiya but going solo for Idiot Box and Money Hai Ton Honey Hai.” We sure hope Reshammiya’s music and Harshdeep’s voice will work wonders!


Happy times ahead for young Harshdeep

Young singer, Harshdeep Kaur

It is said, “Music is the sweetest of all afflictions”. The same holds true for 15-year-old Harshdeep. Just out of her teens, this singer is all set to burst on to the Hindi film world. Harsh realised that she could sing and compete at the age of 10, when she got a chance to represent India in England and Russia under youth cultural exchange programme.

But she had been exploring her talent since the age of five and never looked back. Behind this girl’s success is the immense contribution of her Guru and her parents Savinder Singh Sohal and Kuldeep Kaur. Her father realised her singing potential and devoted his time for Harsh in long hours riyaaz (practice). Today she is 15 and still continues to learn Indian classical music under the guidance of Tejinder Singh (Singh Bandhu).

Even Harsh takes pride to be a part of Sohal’s family. Her father Savinder Singh feels on top of the world, “As what I couldn’t do, Harsh did. My dreams have now been fulfilled,’’ says Singh, who owns a music instrument unit in Delhi. It was a milestone for Harsh to win the MTV Video Ga Ga contest, 2001, which was the most ecstatic moment of her life.

She had also won the Alpha Punjabi show ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’ finals, which was adjudged by Khayyam. ‘Nach Nach Pauni Dhamaal’, Punjabi album is her recent achievement with renowned Punjabi Singer Pammi Bai, released by Sa Re Ga Ma in association with HMV. More than two lakh copies are being sold worldwide. However her board exams put a temporary full stop on her rising graph. “I would have sung the title song ‘Mahiya ve’ for recently released ‘Kaante,” she says.

Harsh has already stepped into Bollywood as she has already sung three Hindi songs for movies, which are still under production. Performing a duet with Alka Yagnik was a dream come true for this girl. Title song ‘Ru Ba Ru’ will be her first duet with Alka Yagnik in Deepak Tijori’s production ‘Oops’, which is awaited for release.

She has even worked with famous music directors like Anand Raj Anand and Ravi Pawar. Besides having a sweet melodious voice, Harsh has a great music talent. Piano is her favourite instrument, which she learns at Delhi Music Theatre. As if singing wasn’t enough, she also got into composing. Her self-composed songs are being aired on Alpha TV Punjabi as the title songs of ‘Excuse me please’ and ‘Direct Dil Se’. She also anchors musical shows called ‘Fankaar’ and ‘Akkad Bakkad Bambe Bo’, being telecast on ETV Urdu.


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