Mumbai — Kanika Kapoor hails from Lucknow, where she did her Visharad and then Masters in music from Bhatkande University. An early and (now) broken marriage took her to London, opening up a whole new world of music. She now wants to be a musician and performer, not just a film playback singer.
With this kind of amazing mix in her foundation, one can barely reconcile Kapoor as the voice of Sunny Leone in “Baby Doll” (“Ragini MMS 2”) and “Desi Look” (“Ek Paheli-Leela”) as well as the item singer of songs like “Lovely” and “Kamli” in “Happy New Year” and “Chitthiyaan” in “Roy.”
But if that’s not life, what is! In the office of Wizcraft (the agency handles her PR), we sit down for a quick interview.
Q: It’s a hundred-percent record so far in popularity. How do you approach a song?
A: After this interview, I am leaving for a recording of a song to be filmed on Alia Bhatt. I will visualize Alia’s face, expression and persona when she enacts the song. But then I did not know who Sunny Leone was when I first sang for her, so I guess it is also the music director’s brief.
Q: Apart from Meet Bros. Anjjan, Dr. Zeus, Vishal-Shekhar, Sanjeev and Darshan Rathod, Raghav Sachar, Jitendra Shah and Amit Trivedi, who else are you singing for?
A: I would not like to reveal these things. And playback is just a part of my career. I am doing a lot of singles now, including with international artists like British producer Naughty Boy, who has just won a Grammy. I am also doing Sufi music, which has such meaningful lyrics and great melody. I love any music that touches me. And Dr. Zeus is not a composer, but only a producer. His songs are all my compositions, like “Desi Look.”
Q: You had some bad experiences with him.
A: I would not like to dwell on that chapter in my life. “Desi Look” was one of the last songs in which I associated with him.
Q: Some details about your beginnings, please.
A: I belong to Uttar Pradesh. My guruji was Pandit Ganesh Prasad Mishra, who would come to our house in Lucknow to teach my chachaji (paternal uncle). He is from the Banaras Gharana and also guru to Pandit Rajan and Pandit Sajan Misra. When my family saw my musical inclinations, I also began learning from him.
My childhood includes a lot of competitions at school and elsewhere that I won, and my dad gifting me a huge Yamaha keyboard when I was 10. I even had a mini-studio in my house with all facilities. I became a child artist with All India Radio at 15 and began singing for the shows of our family friend Anup Jalota. I would have my very own 15-minute classical act, in which I would sing tarana, raags and semi-classical songs, including those from films.
But I got married as a teenager and took off to London, where I again had a studio in my garage. After three children, my marriage went sour. Before that, I had signed up Dr. Zeus and our cover of the Punjabi folk song “Jugni” got me attention.
Meet Bros. Anjjan, who were friends of my brother, called me to sing “Baby Doll” and just said, “Have fun while singing it!”
Q: Among all your film songs, “Chhil Gaye Naina” from “NH10” stands out.
A: Yes, that was my fastest song. I was called a day before the recording as the film was ready and they wanted a promotional number. It was actually out in a little over a week from the recording.
Q: What are your musical ambitions now?
A: I don’t run after anything, and whatever I dreamed of doing, I did. I am living my ambitions and dreams already.