Her laughter is contagious, her songs are unforgettable and her deep husky voice makes her stand apart from the rest. Shefali Alvares, who has numerous party numbers like ‘Badtameez Dil’, ‘Party On My Mind’, ‘Subah Hone Na De’ to her credit, has in no time made a place for herself on Bollywood’s music map. While she vacations in the picturesque locales of Leh-Ladakh, we exchanged a quick conversation with Shefali where she runs us through her Bollywood journey, her equation with Pritam and her forthcoming projects in glamsham’s special section Music Mania! Read on…
Your father Joe Alvares has been a great singer. So was it obvious for you to get into music?
He never forced me to sing. It just happened. I was only forced to learn piano which now I regret giving it up. But I always wanted to sing since I have always loved music. It is easier to sing than talk.
How did playback singing happen?
Playback singing happened by chance. My first ever break was a Telugu song with Sandeep Chowta, renowned music director, where I met this guy called Sunny. Later, Sunny started assisting Pritam and that’s when he called me and said that Pritam is looking for a fresh voice so come and try. So that is how it all started.
Your maximum association has been with Pritam and Amit Trivedi. Aren’t you open at working with other composers?
Well, of course I am. But it is not a conscious decision. I believe that when someone is in the need of your voice, they’ll call you. There are loads of singers in the market so whenever you are needed, people call you accordingly. I am open to working with new people and want to sing different kind of songs.
How has been your experience of working with Pritam on ten films?
Working with Pritam has been amazing. He is very focused about what he wants. It was fun working with him. He has allowed me to be myself while recording songs. I had to work on my diction, but it was a great learning experience with him. So in some sense, Pritam is my Godfather. It is with him that I started my career and have many chartbusters.
Which other music composer you are keen to work with?
I am keen to work with A.R. Rahman. He is fantastic. That’s one person whom I am keen to work with. And yes I am looking forward to work with Sneha Khanwalkar, who did music for GANGS OF WASSEYPUR 1 & 2 because this will be the first time I would be working with a lady. So I am quite excited.
Your list boasts of party songs. Do you think you are getting stereotyped?
Yes I have been put into a bracket but the songs that I have sung now are different. So once those are out, people will start changing their opinion.
Which is your pick from your list of party tracks?
For me ‘O Gujariya’ (QUEEN) is my favorite. It is my kind of music and also Amit Trivedi gave me the liberty to sing it my way. On the other hand, my songs with Benny are very amazing. Our voices combine great together. They sound amazing on-stage too. Also I have loved Benny’s ‘Locha-e-Ulfat’ from 2 STATES.
Which song can be considered as a turning point in your life?
It has to be ‘Tu Mera Hero’ from DESI BOYZ. That song has been my biggest hit and wherever I have gone, I have heard funny instances about it. In Punjabi shaadis, I have to literally sing it for 30 times. So that song is very special.
One song you wish to recreate…
I always wanted to do one song which I grew up listening to and thankfully I managed to sing it in STUDENT OF THE YEAR. It was‘Gulaabi Ankhen’. It didn’t get released in the album but was there in the film which was great. Singing that song was pretty nostalgic and it had heavy R&B vocals.
Who is your favorite singer in Bollywood?
Right now, I think Arijit Singh is my favourite and from the west it is my father Joe Alvares. However, Michael Jackson is someone I have always admired!
Which bollywood actress you are keen to sing for?
I hope I get to sing more for Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone.
People generally relate songs to the actors featuring in it rather than recognizing the voice behind it. Does this affect you?
It sometimes hurts but I also like my privacy. As in if people start knowing the voice and the face behind the songs, I will no longer get to enjoy my privacy and personal life.
I will come under the scrutiny of the media. But well, now even this is slowly changing. I have started getting my credit and love when I am performing live at the shows. The audience is there and they know it all. I thrive on singing at live shows.
Three words that describe you…
Travel-friendly, music lover and shy!
What are your forthcoming projects?
Since I am settled in Bhopal after marriage, I have limited things currently. I am working with Sneha Khanwalkar next. I am doing a song for Pooja Bhatt produced a film. Also, I have recorded two songs with Amit Trivedi for a film. But I can’t disclose more about it.