The Nightingale Of Bollywood, Lata Mangeshkar is a living legend whose voice still continues to make millions fall in love with music. At a time when social media was not a thing, her voice managed to reach people across the country and beyond and it was only because her talent was boundless and of the best kind. On World Music Day, she shared a few tips on how to become a successful musician and spoke about her journey.
Lata Mangeshkar has many accolades to her fame. She was the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London, she is the recipient of Bharat Ratna and three National awards. She is a source of inspiration to many aspiring singers and her journey is just as beautiful as her songs. Lata ji says, nothing comes free in life, and if you want to achieve something you have to learn how to face hardships and get through it.
My struggle was not for me. It was for my family. I was very young, only 13 when my father passed away. As the eldest child the responsibility of looking after my siblings, my three sisters, and a brother fell on me. Since singing was all I knew I set out to recording studios all over Mumbai in my cotton saree and chappals, traveling from one end of the city to the other by train, often on an empty stomach. Kind composers like Naushad Saab and Sajjad Hussain Saab would offer me lunch.
If you haven’t suffered, how can you sing about pain? Today’s generations have it relatively easy. Songs are recorded on computers. In our times the live recordings had as many 100 orchestra members playing instruments live. When we sang duets Rafi Saab and I, Kishoreda and I were together sharing the mike. Nowadays a duet is recorded from two continents. The emotions are missing.
Imitating Rafi Saab, Kishore Da, Asha or me is okay to begin with. But you have to find your own voice as soon as possible. This is why cover versions of old classics are inadvisable. An imitation is an imitation. It cannot take you anywhere worth going to. Find your own voice. Learn Indian classical music, know the ragas, and practice…Do riyaaz every single day. I unfortunately became so busy that I neglected my riyaaz. It is the one regret I have as a singer. I wish I had made time for my riyaaz every day. My advice to young singers is, treat your voice as a temple.
These golden words by the legend are surely something to live by. Hard work is indeed an integral part and in fact the first step towards achieving life goals. Happy World Music Day to all the musicians out there!