Tulsi Kumar

“I want to really sing for Ash!" - Tulsi Kumar

You would never believe Tulsi Kumar was the daughter of musical baron Gulshan Kumar. The young and vivacious singer has not only inherited musical genes from the Kumar family, but has also developed an innate flair for fashion. One wouldn't be surprised if Tulsi was dreaming of musical notes in her dreams but she has one solo desire, to make her father proud. Her feminine and fresh voice has fetched her great acclaim amongst the Hindi musical fraternity but she believes her best is yet to come. Tulsi's last hit was the popular "Hit Hit" from Billu which was played over the airwaves repeatedly and danced to by Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan. She is definitely well recognized as a future singer to watch out and with the massive accolades associated with her and the T-Series reputation to live upto, she is confident of making it to the top. Take a melodious look as Roshni Magazine hands over the mic to the future baroness as she talks singing for films, fashion and of course, music!

When did you realize you wanted to become a singer?
Actually right from my childhood, I was really bent towards music. I used to watch a lot of television and hum songs along with it. My dad supported me and he wanted me to get into learning classical music. So he put me in those classes when I was about seven years old. And I started training in a school in Bombay called Suresh Wadekhar Music Academy. So I started training and that’s how it began. I’m still learning. Music is something that you can never say that you know it all. Its huge and you have to keep learning.

Did you find you were under a lot of pressure? Simply because your family comes has a completely musical background.
There was some pressure because my father carries such a big name. He has bought in so much talent especially in the singing line. So there was some pressure but that is the reason I took it very very slow. I came out with my devotional tracks first. I sang a lot of bhajans and remixes and then I gradually did songs for films. Once I was accepted and people started liking my singing, I only know am coming out with my solo album. So it’s been a slow process.

I’m definitely a fan of your music from Saathiya to the more recent Hafiz Khuda. But you began with devotional songs and bhajans, what made you make the change to mainstream?
I began singing devotional songs when I was seventeen. And I sang my first song for a film when I was nineteen.

Which movie was that?
That was Humko Deewana Kar Gaye and Aksar both. I recorded for HDKG first but Aksar, Jaanabe Jaaniya, that released much before that.

What is something about your father you will never forget?
I was very young and just thirteen when he passed away but just the way he was and many things about him I’ll never forget. He used to go to the temple every morning. He was a very religious person; we all know that. Apart from that, I try to become like him but I can’t. He wouldn’t stress for anything and built up a huge empire all with a smile on his face always. That is one trait I want to adopt from him but I am a very emotional person and get tensed easily. I want to adopt how he was cool about situations yet with a certain seriousness but he was very chilled out and out of stress kind of person.

Who are your singing favorites?
Amongst the singers, I’m an ardent fan of Lata Mangeshkar. I think she is a teacher to all singers even today. Apart from her I really like Sonu Nigam and Kavita Krishnamurthy.

How much do you practice each day?
I used to practice a lot more before but now, because of recording pressures I at least practice for two and a half hours every day.

That’s incredible! What are some of your upcoming projects?
I’m singing for a couple of films, Ken Ghosh’s next Yahoo starring Shahid [Kapur] and Genelia [D’Souza]. Apart from that I’ve sung for Kajra Re and there are a couple of more untitled films that I have sung for. But I’ve been concentrating on my own album which is titled Pyar Ho Jaaye and releases in June this year.

What kind of songs will the album include?
Much like the title suggests, it’s a romantically inclined album. But I have a hip-hop track, a Sufi track; it’s like a mix. You’ll find many kinds of tracks in it. There is also a Punjabi number. All in all, there are fourteen tracks in the album so there is a lot of variety.

You’re also very young of course and have been deemed as one of the most fashionable singers. What is fashion to you?
Oh thank you! (laughs). Fashion to me is being cool, comfortable but yet being sheik and sexy. I’m really into clothes and my sister is a fashion designer. She is my guiding light for clothes. And now staying with her, my fashion sense has improved. So that is where fashion comes to me.

What do you do in your spare time?
I chill out with friends. I have time where there is no recording but for the last year, I’ve been very tied up because of my album; meetings and shooting the video. All of that has taken up a lot of time. But whenever I’m free, I chill out with friends, go for movies. I’m not a party person but I usually end up going for dinners and movies.

Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
My favorite actor is Shah Rukh Khan and from the actresses, it keeps changing actually.

Which actress do you want to sing for?
I want to really sing for Aishwarya [Rai Bachchan] and I feel like I would like to sing for the newer lot of the heroines. I’ve already sung for Deepika [Padukone] in Billu. I’ve sung for Genelia, which will be coming up soon. So I want to sing for more newer actresses because I feel like they are more fresh faces and I think my voce would gel with them.

Which is your favorite song that you’ve sung till date?
All my songs that I sing I like but then I always say I could have done a better job. So I’m usually very critical of my songs.  But the song of mine that I really like is from Darling, Akele Tanha. It was not promoted too much and wasn’t even a part of the film but that is one song that I really connect to.

Thinking about it Tulsi, you’ve been on my iPod a lot! Hit Hit was on for ages and then Hafiz Khuda more recently.
(Laughs) That’s nice to hear early in the morning.

What would you have been if you had not been a singer?
From childhood I had it set in my mind that I wanted to be a singer so I was working on it from a very young age. But if I wasn’t a singer I would have definitely completed my MBA like most people and gotten into the family T-Series business in some way.

And acting anytime soon?
No way! I’m not a camera person (laughs). I would feature in my own videos for my songs but acting is not something I am keen on. I want to concentrate on singing and definitely composing in the future.

Oh great!
Yeah! For now, I just want to focus on singing but later on, composing for sure. I’ve already started working towards it. It will take me some time because I’m very new in that field but I’ll definitely start at the end of the year.

Who are your inspirations?
Inspiration to be here is my Dad. I’m here because of him and his hard work. I’m completely inspired by him.  In the music field my inspiration would be all the good singers, Lataji, Ashaji [Bhosle], Rafi Saab, Kishore Da [Kumar]; all these older generation singers are like teachers to me.

What advice do you have for aspiring singers?
I still consider myself as an aspiring singer to be very honest. I still have to make a mark for myself. Where I want to reach personally from within, I don’t think I have reached there until now. I might have had a few hit songs but from within, you have a target which you want to achieve and I’m still working towards it. But definitely for new upcoming singers, I would say doing your riyaaz is very important  and you can have that talent in you but you must keep brushing your talent and keep revising your lessons. So in the field of singing you have to keep listening to different tracks and doing your riyaaz. Singing a new track is very different from singing an already sung song like we see on the television on reality shows. Contestants sing already sung songs. They may be very difficult and Lataji has sung them but that is a different approach. When you get a brand new song which with a brand new composition and you have to sing that song in two hours in the studio, that is a real challenge for which you have to be prepared and for which riyaaz is very important.

And any message for your fans?
For my fans, I would like to say, keep liking my music. Keep loving me so I can come out in more and more songs and showcase my talent for everyone in all different kinds of songs. I’d like to thank my fans!

~ Roshni M.
(July 2009)

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