Mother's Day 2020 might have fallen in the middle of a global pandemic, but that cannot stop this day from being special. Singer Anushka Manchanda has also chosen to express her love for her mother in the best way she knows, through music.
She has released a peppy and upbeat ode to mothers all across the globe, aptly titled Thanks Maa. The track is available exclusively on the new music streaming app Resso.
Talking about the inspiration and creative process of Thanks Maa, Anushka said, “My whole family lives together and all of us are very close. I have always had this relationship with my mother that has been more of a relationship of friends. And my mother always had an open line of communication with my brother and I, and when she would tell us that, ‘I may not approve of everything, but I definitely want to know what my kids are up to’. She kept it in a way that we want to talk to her about anything. So I have actually never had to lie to my mother about anything."
She also said that Thanks Maa was a collaboration with her close friend and frequent collaborator Charan Singh Padhania. She said, "The song has been written and composed by a really close friend of mine. He’s a producer and musician called Charan Singh Pathania. He is basically someone who my brother and I have worked with on a lot of projects. And he is absolutely a brilliant songwriter. So when this call came in, I called him and told him ‘Bro, Mummy ke liye gaana likhna hai.’ So the vibe is that we want to thank our mothers. It's not just an ode to our moms but moms everywhere."
Anushka has had quite a remarkable lockdown. The singer had broken her bedroom to make a studio just before the stay-at-home regulations had been implemented. However, she is quite happy with that arrangement. The more remarkable thing was the highly talked about reunion of Viva! India's first girl-band, after 15 years. Anushka along with members Pratichee Mohapatra, Mahua Kamat and Neha Bhasin performed their superhit track Jaago Re, which created quite a frenzy on social media.
Anushka talked about the divine intervention that actually brought them together after years of conversations about a potential re-union. "In December I had called Pratichee and was telling her that we should do something with Jaago Zara because I have been seeing Jaago Zara being referenced in every protest I have been to. And for me something about that song is so powerful, inspiring and so timeless. We all have different causes that we support and care about, and you can apply the song to any situation you feel strongly about. The idea of the song is to give strength and to give hope."
Anushka said that in the beginning of April, the four members talked on the phone to discuss a re-union, and on the same day their old managers sent them a folder of old pictures of the band. That was a sign for them to re-unite after 15 years.
Anushka confessed that even though they were aware people would be excited for the reunion, the group had not expected the amount of appreciation the re-union received. "It was so beautiful to read the comments. People were saying they remembered their childhood, a lot of them were tagging their friends and talking to them after years! They were like ‘How are you, remember we used to listen to this!’ That’s the true power of music, you know? It brings people together," she said.
Anushka also talked about her initiative Nuka, her alternative art account where she puts out her independent music. The singer is quite proud of the creative control she has gained with it. "I am now at a place where I am able to express myself without any censorship, adulteration or the infleunce of external factors. That's the best thing about being your own boss, you are only answerable to yourself. And that's only because of the kind of support that I have from my family. I mean, honestly, if my mom and my dad were understanding and supportive, I would never have been able to go out there like this, and be so brave, bold and so outspoken about things. It is because of them of them that I am in this position and with NUKA, I love being in complete control, I won’t lie about it."
Anushka has never shied away from putting her piece of mind in the public domain. Her latest track from Nuka, Ayo Burn with rapper Kaam Bhaari aspires to shake up the status-quo and challenge the apolitical. When asked if she ever feared the flak that a project like this could bring, Anushka said that putting your projects out of the stuff is like "making a deal with the devil."
She also shared an advice that shaped her up as an artist. "I remember talking to my manager at that time and expressing my concerns. I was telling him that I am out there but I hope my family doesn’t have to bear the brunt of my actions. So he told me, ‘I just want to ask you one thing, are you an artist or an activist?’ He asked me what I was best at and I said making music.
"He said, ‘then be smart, use your music to talk about things that bother you. Use your art to communicate with people.’ And it really saved me, what he said to me. Over the years, I have not always been able to do that due to my commercial work. Even though I’ve always been vocal on my social media platforms about issues, now I have had the chance to really artistically inspire and send a message out,” she said.
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