On the line of tunes with Tulsi Kumar

She is young, versatile and confident. Singer Tulsi Kumar started her journey with music at the age of 6, when her father Gulshan Kumar found her humming the songs and decided to train her in classical music. And today when she has made it to the music industry, she believes that now, her only aim is to live the dream of her father for her becoming a successful singer.

In conversation with Rishabh Raj, Tulsi speaks about her ineffable connection with music, her father and how the remix and live shows have made the play back singers a household name.


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Q) Let’s talk about your childhood days, your association with music and family connection with music industry.

I was quite an introvert as a child. I had a strong bent towards music and dance. I was my father’s pet and I still remember when I was around 6 I used to watch television and hum songs .My father used to stand outside the door and hear me. And it was he, who told my mom that I have a sweet voice and should be given formal training in light classical music. So at that tender age he understood my love for music and admitted me to Suresh Wadekar ji’s academy, and from there my musical journey began which continues till today and must go on forever.

As we all know my father was an ardent lover of music and he also had a great vision for spotting talented musicians and artists. I have a quaint memory of him playing the music of various films like Aashiqui, Dil hai ki manta nahin, Sadak etc at home during my childhood days, and introducing various new singers like Kumar Shanu ,Anuradha Paudwal,Vipin Sachdeva to name a few. Definitely the atmosphere at home was extremely musical and today also the legacy (created by my father Sh.Gulshan Kumar) continues where my brother Bhushan has taken over in a big way and is doing his level best in making my father proud with his great musical sense and business tact.

 Q) Was it pre-determined in your mind to make career in music because of your family background or you had some other plans too?

I never had any set of plan. But I always loved music and as I said I started learning light hot-tulsi-kumarclassical at a very young age and used to always take part in singing competitions in school. I have grown with music and definitely wanted to take it forward to the next level by getting into playback. Moreover in the journey I unfortunately lost my father and definitely wanted to live his dream of me becoming a singer and making him proud.

 Q) If you would have entered in the industry 20 years back, with what song you would have started and why?

Well if that was the case then definitely it would be with the songs of AASHIQUI. This project was produced by my father and was a complete musical film. Each and every song of the film is still remembered and hummed by people. The romance and purity of this music truly touches ones soul. If given a chance I would have started by rendering those soulful romantic numbers for sure.

 Q) Let’s talk about your journey in the industry, how it has been? When did your first break happen?

It’s been a great learning experience and a fun journey till now. I have got an opportunity to work with some very good music composers like Anu Malik , Himesh Reshammiya, Pritam, Sajid Wajid, Salim Sulaiman, Mithoon ,Meet brothers to name a few. Every composer has his unique style of making a singer render their composition and I have learnt a lot from all of them in terms of style, bariki( minutes), expression and feel. I have indeed grown as an artist with every song of mine.

My debut song was called ‘Janabe Janiya’ from the film AKSAR .It was deut with Himesh Reshammiya. Himeshji helped me during the dubbing since it was my first song for a film and I was quite nervous. Also a promotional video was shot for this song and it was really liked and appreciated by my listeners. And when your first song gets a good response it really boosts your confidence. So things fell into place and I got a good entry in the music fraternity.

 Q) Belonging to a family of great musicians, what was it challenging for you to mark yourself in the industry or it was easier?

Well, when you come from such an illustrious family background, there are lots of expectations that one has to live up to, and one is always under scrutiny. Getting an initial break is easy but to sustain yourself in the industry, one needs to strike a chord with listeners which is of utmost importance. I have been totally blessed and received appreciation and adulation from my listeners. My training in music for years, my love and passion for music has got me to the position I am today. I would say, I am extremely fortunate to belong to this family where I have inherited music from my father but at the same time I am proud of the fact that I have created my own niche through my hard work and will always work harder.


 Q) Apart from your father, whom do you idolize in the industry and why?

Well, I truly idolize my father in every sense, whether it was his dedication and passion towards his work or his down o earth attitude and simplicity as a human being. I see the same qualities in my brother Bhushan that I really look up to. In the music field I worship Lataji (Lata Mangeshkar). For me she is not only an institution of music in herself, but in true sense ‘The Goddess of Music’. Her purity, serenity and devotion towards music is something I really admire.

 Q) How do you choose a Bollywood project? Is it easier to say yes or no?

Of course saying No is painful. Every singer has his/her comfort zone. But to deviate from that and trying something new shows an artist’s versatility. My comfort zone lies in doing romantic songs, but I have started experimenting with a lot of fun and fast paced peppy tracks in my upcoming projects. I pick those songs that I know I will be able to do justice to.

Q) Today singers have stretched themselves from playback to live shows, what changes you feel have made this happen?

Being singer, the utmost important thing for us is to have a connection with the listeners. Singing in a recording studio and singing live in front of an audience are two different experiences. In the studio we record the song keeping in mind the music directors specifications and the film situation, above all, more technicalities are involved in the studio recording process. While on stage (during a live performance) we sing and perform for our listeners. We get to see their direct response for the songs and can feel connected instantly. It’s definitely a different high when you perform live. A feeling that can be expressed as…Yeh Zameen Gaa rahi hai, Aasmaan gas rah a hai….Saath mere yeh saara jahaan gaa raha hai.. 🙂

 Q) Remix and rap have overpowered the song of 80’s and 90’s. Your take on the trend.

I believe it’s only because of remix, that people of this generation have started recognizing the old songs. Although, the songs of that generation are eternal and evergreen, but the preference of today’s crowd is of faster pace. More than the lyrics they are attracted by beats and tunes. I believe this trend is temporary and the old school music will never fade out.

 Q) Any dream project that is yet to be accomplished?

I don’t know what defines a dream project but I just wish to do some great music and songs that stays with my listeners forever.

Q ) How do you define success?

It’s just the beginning and I have long way to go. With my experience in the fraternity I feel, success to me is outdoing yourself rather than competing with others.

 Q) What is you mission statement?

I am very much work driven, so my mission statement would be ‘Work harder and harder’ till you achieve and succeed. Once you achieve then also don’t stop, keep the fire burning, because that will keep you alive.

 Q) Your future plans.

At present I am doing a couple of movies including Leela, Roy and Kunal Kohli’s next project. I am also collaborating on a song with a UK based singer Arjun. Apart from that I have pushed the envelope and turned into a voice over artist for a new kids channel launch, it is about education on YouTube, and is called KIDS HUT. It was a great learning experience being part of the project.

 Q) Talk about your fashion and style statement.

I like experimenting with fashion on a regular basis, but on the other hand I keep it as minimal as it can be. My comfort matters the most and I will never move out of my comfort zone just to be fashionably updated.

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