Jovan had the opportunity to chat with female Punjabi artist Ishmeet Narula on the state of the female Punjabi music industry. She is the artist behind the tracks Red Baraat, Ghaint Jeha Munda, Sakeeriyaan, Yaar Hunde Si and many other great tracks. Hear what she had to say:
What do you think has made you successful in the female Punjabi music industry?
The love of my fans! Success is a subjective word. The purpose of my music is to express my deepest feelings and if those can relate to just one heart in the world, my song is successful.
Why do you think the female music industry has become so big?
There was a time when legends like Surinder Kaur ji and Jagmohan kaur ji ruled the hearts of masses. Now again, as more girls are entering the industry, it is a sign that audience is loving what each one of us uniquely brings to the Punjabi music industry.
Do you think women are finally getting the same recognition male artists are?
Yes, they are getting same or even more recognition these days. This shift has partly happened because of the grace women bring to this profession. However, this is still an ongoing process and we women need to believe in our capabilities and move in the direction of our goals and dreams.
Besides yourself, who is your favourite female artist at the moment?
My all-time favorite female artist is Reshma ji. I grew up listening to her and singing her songs. Amongst the present singers, I love Raashi’s voice as it gives calmness to my soul. All the female singers at the moment are unique in their own ways and I am very proud of each one of them.
I love Neha Kakkar and Sunidhi Chauhan for their versatility, Harshdeep and Shipra for their soul, Jasmine and Pooja for their unique texture, Kaur B, Anmol and Jenny are solid folk voices, and Nimrat and Sunanda have beautiful voices with great screen presence.
How would you describe yourself and the music you make? How successful has it made you?
I am a very moody and a super romantic person. And that is very much reflected in my music. Songs like “Teri Yaad”, “Aja Ve Mahi” and “Sakeeriyaan” were appreciated for their intensity and depth.
On the contrary, I have a mischievous side too which got showcased in my songs “Kudi Khand Da Khedna”, “Red Baraat” and “Ghaint Jeha Munda”. I love experimenting with different genres of music and enjoy collaborating with other world artists.
How did the industry being predominantly male affect your path? What are your thoughts on the inequalities and barriers females face?
I clearly remember one instance during my initial days of struggle, when one of the music companies told me “Mam female voices don’t sell in this market”. That day I promised myself not to hear and get affected by such no sense statements. However, in just 5 years, the situation has completely flipped! And all for good!
People will always try to impose their own biases on you. It is up to you, to either turn it into fire or lose your confidence.
There are a lot of other female singers in the music industry. Do you ever feel that there's tension or negativity between yourself and the other female artists? Is there a sort of "competition feeling" amongst the female artists? What sets you apart from the rest?
I believe the word competition and creativity cannot co-exist.
I don’t feel there is a feeling of competition. I live in California, so I am not amidst the ecosystem of the singers in India. However, I wish I could interact more with the other female artists in India. There is so much potential for all of us to do so many good things together and create powerful and meaningful music.
You can check out the music video for Ishmeet Narula's 'Red Baraat' below:
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