She was the queen of playback singing in the 90s. And Alka Yagnik says she is happy to record songs that suit her even now. To know more about her, go to www.follo.in/AlkaYagnik.
From being called a 'chaloo singer' when you started to 7 Filmfare Awards and 35 nominations now... Must have been quite a journey!
The first song that got me recognition was 'Mere Angne Mein.' Few years later, 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak' happened, followed by 'Ek Do Teen' from 'Tezaab.' That's when people realised I can sing all kinds of songs. To go from a 'chaloo singer' to singer of substance took time because those days, there wasn't much of media glare.
Was it difficult when you were pitted against Lata Mangeshkar?
When a new artiste comes in, people want to find out if he/she can outdo the seniors. Everybody has their own place. Nobody can take Lataji and Ashaji's place. When I started, people used to say that it is difficult for a newcomer to break through because the two sisters were ruling the industry with their voice. But, whenever I met them, they were nice and affectionate. People say that they resented it when someone new came, but honestly, I never felt anything like that.
In last 35 years, you have sung with Kishore Kumar, Kumar Sanu, Sonu Nigam and now, with Arijit Singh. Who is your favourite?
I can't choose one. The maximum superhit romantic songs I've sung have been with Kumar Sanu. With Udit, I have a lot of flamboyant numbers. And I have some very memorable songs with Sonu. It is nice to be able to sing with different male voices. When we recorded together, the energies used to flow from each other. Like when Sanu sang a particular line really well, I wanted to sing even better. And that was very good.. Lot of things have changed over the years, right from the way you record a song. Today, a film has multiple music directors.
When you have one music director for a film, there is a certain character to the album. But earlier, films needed that kind of character. Also, I believe one song is recorded by several singers and you choose one voice later. I would die if a song I recorded is given to someone else because I connect with it mentally and emotionally. In our days, songs were especially made for Sanu and me. They would wait for months if we were out of town. The songs were made keeping the singer's tonal quality in mind.
You seem to have taken it easy over the last few years...
I am busy doing concerts across the globe. Also, music directors have opted for newer talent. But when there is a song that suits me, I will be happy to sing. Like Agar Tum Saath Ho in Tamasha was tailor-made for me.
Give us one song that never fails you at your concerts.
There are lots of them. 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,' 'Ghazab Ka Hai Din,' 'Ek Do Teen,' 'Bole Chudiyan...' these make the audience scream with joy. That really makes me feel happy and fulfilled.