Anushka Manchanda had taken on the new avatar of Nuka, when she launched her debut single' 'Don't Be Afraid', is out with a searing new track, 'Ayo Burn', which is a scathing, no holds barred comment of the things that have been happening in the country in recent times. Nuka has been many things as Anushka. She came into prominence on one of India's first reality shows. She was picked from among thousands of aspirants to become a part of the phenomenally successful all girl band, VIVA!. This led to her being signed on as a VJ with Channel [V] and assignments with various TV shows including Fear Factor and MTV Stuntmania because of her passion for motorcycles.
From there on Anushka moved on to playback singing, first in South films under music director Yuvan Shankar Raja and then on to Bollywood with leading Music Directors like Vishal-Shekhar, Sandeep Chowta, Anu Malik, Eshaan-Shankar-Loy, Salim-Sulaiman to name a few. She was is now blazing a new path in her new avatar and it is everything she stands for.
Who is Anushka - Singer, Actor, Producer?
I am an evolving artist, refusing to be put in a box. Being a singer, an actor, a producer, a director, an editor..these are all different vehicles of my expression. In this moment, I am proud to be one of the voices of India, out on the street with my brothers and sisters, working hard to protect everything my country stands for.
How did you become a Music Producer? How did InkInc come about? Are you also a stake holder?
I got irritated at having to depend on other technicians to create what was in my head. So I took a music production course. IncInk is the lovechild of Navzar Eranee, the seed of which was sown when we all gained access to some of the best talent in the country, through a project we were working on. No, I am not a stake holder.
Who is Nuka? Why another identity you are already famous as Anushka Manchanda?
Nuka is who I really am. An artist producing art without any adulteration or censorship. With Anushka Manchanda I have done work for years on films and projects with other people. I wanted to separate the two, only to make it easier for people looking for the art or music I am making now.
Do you like to produce Music in English language? Do you play any Instrument?
I think in english and I write best in english too. I play piano.
Tell us about you song 'Ayo Burn', what is your statement/message? Any other info you would like to share?
I say pretty much everything I am feeling in the song! There is so much apathy, and things have been bad for a long time..but today I feel a new ray of hope. The youth is out on the streets. People are listening. This song is meant for those still sitting on the fence. We need you. And we need you now!
Are you sending a message to the current Political establishment?
This song is being sung to people like you and me. It’s for us to take responsibility. If we sit back and let all of this stuff happen to us and the people around us..then are we any better than the ones causing this?
Would you venture into Politics?
I’m not politically motivated, never have been, although I am paying more attention to what’s happening in the country today.
Whats your next song/album?
I have a track I’ve produced for Kaam Bhaari which you will hear soon.
Shahin Badar is a versatile Award winning Singer/Songwriter, acclaimed worldwide for her vocals in The Prodigy's banger, 'Smack My Bitch Up', and made her legendary. She has collaborated with various world renowned producers across the world covering music genres like EDM, Trance, House, TripHop, Pop, Sufi over which she implemented her production ideas. Her collaborations includes the likes of Indian Ropeman, Bobina, Gemini Brothers, Noise Control, Doug Laurent, Kaya Project, Gio Makyo, Jah Wobble, FX, Fraser T Smith, Twista and Juliet Lewis and many more. She is also credited with successful albums like 'Laila' and 'Destiny'. Recently my vocal Chants of 'Smack My Bitch Up' got sampled by USA Rapper ASAP Ferg for his single 'Floor Seats', and also in a series BALLERS starring Dwayne Johnson. Both hugely successful in USA.
Shahin Badar's vocal contributions feature in over 50 international film and TV soundtracks like the UK Music Hall of Fame, the Lara Croft Tomb Raider:2, Charlie's Angels, Scary Movie 2, Closer, US sitcoms North Shore and Kevin Hill, and Sky News broadcasts. She has also sung in Bollywood movies for A.R. Rahman in Zubieda & Yuva, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke to name a few. Raga to Rock caught up Shahin Badar during her stay in Mumbai to find out about her Remix versions of 'Jaag' and her future plans.
Tell us about your song 'Jaag'
'Jaag' is an edgy and hypnotic song about women empowerment, that revolves around awakening one’s resolve for independence, breaking the shackles of misogyny and appeals to the listeners to move forward without being tied down by age-old customs and norms.I have released 4 Remix versions of my single ‘Jaag’, the remixes have been produced by world famous EDM Producers like DJPodje from Ireland of “4SuMotion”, he has produced the Vocal & Dub Mix. The 3rd remix has been produced by UK DJ & Producer Juttla and the final track is also produced by UK based Kaya Project.They have done a fantastic job on the remixes.
Tell us how do you use your work for the empowerment of women ?
To me basic core of humanity is understanding and respect. All my Music videos have a message for women about her Power, Strength, Belief, Struggles and Guidance, who continues to fight for her rights through peace, understanding and knowledge.and that is what I am trying to spread to the world.
Who inspired you to be a Musician?
My mother is my inspiration, she trained under Naushadsaab and Emdad Khan Sarangiwala. As she was not allowed to pursue music as a career, it was passed on to me! My mother also writes Ghazals as a hobby, she has penned two of my tracks "Laila" and "Jhoom Jhoom" on my debut album.
Give us a few names and experiences with the legendary Artists who you have worked with?
I have had the pleasure to work with several Legends, all were unique. Its honour to work with Hollywood Music composer Michael Dannah for the film, 'The Hulk', I shall always remember the way he greeted me. A.R.Rahman was a little shy but a wonderful person to work with, we had some great laughs. Above all great respect goes out to our legendary big beats man Liam Howlett, when recording my vocals for 'Smack My Bitch up' it was truly exceptional.
How does it feel being called the voice of The Prodigy?
You made me smile, I guess the chant on 'Smack My Bitch Up' has left it's mark in the history of EDM music. A great honour to be associated with The Prodigy. At their concerts, to hear the fans sing along to the chant with such devotion is unbelievable, used to brings tears to my eyes. The Prodigy fans around the world are No.1 and I love their humility and crazy energy!
How do you feel with the loss of Keith Flint?
It just does not feel the same without Keith Flint. May his soul rest in peace.
Why have you not sung in Bollywood soundtracks?
I have recorded three tracks with Oscar winner A.R.Rahman. My vocals featured on the track, 'Dol Dol' on Mani Ratnam's film Yuva and I also delivered alaap chants on the back ground score of the film Zubeida. I am stil waiting for Azizi to be released. A fine track produced by Rahman and written by Mehboob.I would like to do more work. Over the years, I was extremely busy taking care of my parents. I haven't had much chance to take time out for myself until now, I am also hoping to work with some cool Music Producers from India this year.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Would love to continue with my travels around the world, meet beautiful people who will keep enriching my life with their knowledge of grace and kindness. Rest we hope, depends on the Almighty's Good Will.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.