Singer Shae Gill may have found fame through chartbusters such as Pasoori and Sukoon, but she feels she can do a lot more with her singing and music talent. In an interview with BBC News Punjabi, Anushay – her real name – spoke about her Coke Studio debut, the genre of music she wants to experiment with, and the desire to grow beyond a “mediocre singer”.
The fame game
“Pasoori changed everything for me,” Gill exclaimed. “I’m financially independent now, and that’s great for me. It’s great for any girl. I think every woman should be financially independent. I am happier now because I can finally make my own decisions, which I couldn’t before.”
Gill recalled how Pasoori actually happened and why she will always be grateful to Xulfi. “Sir Xulfi messaged me saying that he had been following my work for some time, and he loved the emotion in my voice. He said he likes how expressive I am when I’m singing,” she recalled. “I am an expressive person naturally. I don’t shy away from expressing what I feel. Anyway, they said that I’ll be collaborating with Ali Sethi. I was over the moon but also extremely nervous. I was around legends, how could I not be nervous? I was a newbie,” she said, adding that she felt like an imposter throughout the making of Pasoori.
“I still feel like an imposter sometimes but I’m trying to come out of it. I’m trying to feel more like this is where I belong.”
The next step for Gill, however, is to come up with an original song and there’s a lot of pressure on her to do that. “People keep telling me that it’s time to release an original now. I say ‘How do I do it? I’m trying.’ There’s a lot of pressure, way too much. I need to somehow balance it out because if I take too much time, I might just get lazy and never release my own song. So, a little pressure is welcome but not so much that it gets overwhelming,” she laughed.
Singing on demand and not at her own convenience has been a challenge for Gill. “I’m having so much fun in this phase of my life. I think it’s right enough. I used to be okay with singing at my convenience, but not with a spotlight on me. I’d panic when someone would ask me to sing for them and stage fright would take over me; thankfully, I have grown out of it now.”
Recalling an anecdote about how she messed up on stage due to stage fright, she shared, “I’ve failed so badly on stage. Two times, actually. I don’t know what went wrong with my brain but I was introducing my team and I forgot the name of my bassist Melvin. I knew his name but at that point, he was also whispering it from the back but I froze. I forgot how to pronounce it,” she said.
“Now, I tell myself to just get to the stage and it will be fine. I try to take energy from the audience,”
Going with the flow
When asked about the style of music she would want to experiment with, Gill wasn’t so sure. “Music gives me a sensation. I like all kinds of music. Except for extremely heavy metal, I listen to everything. I love all kinds of music so I don’t really have a particular genre in mind. I grew up watching Hannah Montana and wished to be a singer, but never took it seriously because well, you can’t, in desi families. So, my dream has just begun,” she said with a smile.
One thing that Gill hasn’t gotten used to yet is the paparazzi side of fame. “I can’t imagine not going to the mall, or standing on the street for pani puri. I love those little things. I don’t ever want to lose that,” she said, adding that she would be okay even if she doesn’t make it too big in music.
Upon whether she had had any bad fan encounters, she humbly said no. “Men get a little weird sometimes when you are visibly uncomfortable and say no to selfies, they would still keep taking them. But otherwise, it’s all good,” she said.
“I just want to make good music and do good for people in this world. I’m doing mediocre singing right now, I have to get really good,” she said, adding that it’s one of her goals for next year.
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