Srijani Ghosh was born in Kolkata where she discovered her love for music. Now, Srijani is based in Australia and has earned international fame as a ghazal singer. When you listen to a ghazal rendered by her, you get a glimpse of the years of hard work that she has spent honing her craft. In this interview, she talks about her recently released single ‘Reflection’, the evolution of ghazal as a genre, challenges associated with working from Australia, the importance of formal training for a musician and more.
Your new single ‘Reflection’ is about making peace with the past and moving ahead in life. Is ‘Reflection’ inspired from the events in your life or somebody you have known?
Yes! In many ways, ‘Reflection’ is inspired from the events that have occurred in my life and many people I know closely. However, I understand that making peace with the past and moving on, is a story of everyone’s life. That’s why I think the audience is able to relate to this song. I got a lot of messages from people who heard and appreciated the song. “Duniya ko chalo parkhe naye dost banaye” has been the favourite line of many from the song. I feel happy that my song has encouraged people in moving on and exploring life again.
There was a time when ghazal albums would be released regularly by commercial labels like Saregama, Tips, T-Series and others. Now, full-fledged ghazal albums are rarely released. How, do you think, this genre can be kept relevant in today’s times?
It is a bit unfortunate but true that ghazals are becoming relatively rare unlike how it used to be just a couple of decades ago. Along with the other genres that people listen to, ghazal deserves to be popular. Maybe, we need to come out of our comfort zone and experiment with it in a way that it can become a regular part of movies, playlists, radio channels. It’s not that people are not aware of this genre. It’s just that people have a restrictive perception about ghazals, which can change if they are played and created more frequently and cater to a larger audience. I strongly feel that ghazal will never lose its relevance.
How do you think ghazal has evolved in the last few years? What are the positive changes you see happening in this particular genre?
The most evident evolution that I have noticed is that ghazals have got simplified in some ways. I think ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh ji did this in the most amazing way. The style he chose became an instant hit. People started connecting with ghazals more. Suddenly, the listeners felt it was something they could hum along. This was the most positive and impactful change in the ghazal genre.
You have studied music extensively for years. You also teach music yourself. In today’s times, a lot of young people disregard the importance of musical education.
Music is a subject. Hence, it is imperative that you study music, do your research, seek knowledge from qualified mentors and grow. Being an educated musician is important especially for those who aspire to excel. Today, there is so much emphasis on music competitions, singing challenges, performing platforms, which in many ways inspire people to learn. However, I believe there should be a similar emphasis on learning too. When you know about something beyond the surface level, it can allow you to explore more things. You also become more confident as you know what you are doing.
Does living in Australia limit your opportunities as a singer or musician?
Yes, living in Australia makes it very challenging for me as it doesn’t allow me to be present at the right place in the right time. I have missed out on many opportunities in the past for being geographically far from India. Being closer to the industry is important as you are available when an opportunity comes along.
What are you doing next?
Up next is a wedding saga that I have recorded with the National Award winning music director Amar Khandha. I have also recorded for a government project with one of the most melodious music directors of Bollywood Arko Pravo Mukherjee. I am really excited and looking forward to my next releases.