I stood up from the fancy gold colored couch and smoothed out the wrinkles on my magenta gown. “Lub Dub, Lub Dub, Lub Dub.” My heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to explode. As I walked up on stage, my hands turned cold, my throat ran as dry as a desert ditch, and a trickle of sweat ran down my cheek.
I had worked hours a day, days a week, and weeks a month for Indian Idol, yet I didn’t feel ready. This show was going to be broadcast internationally; how could I not be tense about it? I faced the audience, the vivid array of lights blinding my eyes. As my track filled the recording studio with its soothing sound, I looked at the stage more closely to divert my attention.
The stage was made up of blue sparkling glass, with thousands of lights filling the studio with vibrant colors, while hundreds of cameras spiraled around me. I couldn’t believe it! The fantasy that I had daydreamed every day was finally coming true. I was eight when I wrote it on my dream board. It was a blurred and hazy vision. There was no way I was going to sing on Indian Idol (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs North America), growing up so far away in the United States. Yet I wrote that dream down on my board.
I sent my audition video the day I saw the ad on television. I didn’t know if I would get selected for the show, but it was a dream that I wanted to work toward. My ability to sing originated from a petite seed inside me that sprouted when I was very young. Singing and music gave me a feeling of power and intense light, and I constantly craved for that feeling to fill my heart and lungs.
But now I was actually standing on the most beautiful stage in Mumbai, thousands of miles away from home to fulfill my dream. Suddenly the host grabbed my attention. It was my turn to sing. I closed my eyes and let my skin soak up the atmosphere. I let my voice out with confidence, like a bird spreading its wings to take flight. I felt the vibrations of the music through the soles of my feet. I was finally here, and I was going to absorb each and every part of the experience.
As I watched the performance I had given two weeks ago as it aired on international television, I realized that the reverie I had deemed impossible had actually come true. My belief and constant perseverance created that thousand-mile bridge. But it’s not just about singing to perform and compete.
Music can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people. Music has brought individuals closer to who they are physically, emotionally, spiritually, and culturally. To my sister Amishi and me, music is not just about singing to perform or compete; rather, we feel a unique connection to our American Indian background.
Living in the United States but being brought up in an Indian household has taught us the importance of the two different cultures that make us who we are. I remember sitting with my family in India singing old Bollywood songs and jamming out to pop music in my car. That was the time I acquired the devotion and dedication towards music that still remains with me today. Being trained in Indian classical and Western pop music has allowed Amishi and I to become one with our diverse cultural background.
On a hot summer day, Amishi and I were sitting on our front porch singing Bollywood songs and jamming out on ukuleles. After a few minutes, Amishi started singing the chorus of Attention by Charlie Puth, while I was still singing the main chorus of a Bollywood song. Within seconds we both looked up at each other with wide eyes.
Our jaws dropped in utter shock. I quickly started playing the uke again and singing the Bollywood song chorus, while at the same time, Amishi sung the chorus of Attention. We were fascinated with the crossover we had discovered. We never thought that mixing Bollywood songs with Western Pop music could sound so pleasing, and that little moment led us to create our own style of music.
We obviously had to come up with a name for this new style of music, so after thinking about it for a few days, we decided to call our music style “Bollypop”. Bolly comes from Bollywood and the word pop comes from Western Pop music. It was a fitting blend.
Bollypop incorporates different genres of music, a mix of languages, variations in harmonics and vocals, a mashup of popular songs on one track, and last but not least, a fusion of American and Indian culture.
Amishi and I started our own YouTube channel to share Bollypop where we upload our newest and brightest music videos. We have performed Bollypop at various charity events, music festivals, and at the Governor’s Mansion. Through Bollypop, we aspire to share our culture and passion for music with the world. Music is a language that connects individuals in ways that no other medium can. Music touches our soul, flows through our blood, and keeps us breathing.
Check out our YouTube channel! A&A Bollypop
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