Lively tunes for a worthy cause

Dec 22, 2014 – Saumya Bhatia

Reposted from The Asian Age

Pop singer Sagarika Deb is in news for right reasons. She will be honoured with the International Women Achievers Awards (IWAA) in Canada in March 2015 for her contributions to music and her humanitarian works. What makes this achievement special is that Sagarika is the first Indian to be honoured with this award in the IWAA Role Model category.

Sagarika will perform her song Shine a light, which was inspired by the brutal gang rape of 2012 at the awards ceremony. Upon asking what does this recognition means to her, Sagarika says, “To know that I am the first ever Indian to receive this award feels on top of the world. I started my career with an experiment with no idea where I will lead. It was only a strong will to put the music in me in front of people. From an amateur in the music business to now receiving an international award in less than three years means a lot to me.”
Sagarika is recipient of several awards such as, Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award, Indian Women Role Model Award, Young Achiever Award and many more. Talking about how the 2012 incident inspired the song and how situation remains grim even today, Sagarika says, “Each and every girl not only in India but in the entire world would like to stop the tragic incidences happening against them. My team members and I wanted to do our part and it was only through music we could show what we felt. We started discussing the idea and coincidentally, at that moment, I received a message from Dr Kiran Bedi’s NGO Navjyoti India Foundation to be a part of their women empowerment campaign against eve teasing. Navjyoti ki oar (the Hindi version of Shine a light)) was written specifically for them to be used as the anthem for the campaign. We made the song in Hindi and English so that it can touch the hearts of not only people living in India but the English speaking countries as well. Mellina Barnett and Mellina Barnett both from the UK wrote the lyrics and composed music respectively for the project.”

She adds, “It’s a pity that even today women don’t feel safe. As a young girl residing in Delhi, my parents are scared to let me go out alone. Just with the hope of throwing some light on the plight of women not only in India but everywhere, we have composed the song. It was a pleasant surprise when two French filmmakers Casandra Prerost and Bruno Acard contacted my manager to make a music video of the songs. It proves the desire for a change was burning in the hearts of people across the world. We shot the music video extensively in many parts of Delhi. It was showcased in European Independent Film Festival with much appreciation. Shine a light is an expression of hope and change. It is about kindness and peace, and not rage and anger. President of IWAA, Blair Brown asked me to perform the song during the award ceremony so that more people can join hands in bringing a change in their countries.”

Sagarika belongs to a musical family. Her mother and sister are brilliant singers, she points out and rightly so, her mother is her inspiration. “Ever since I was growing up I saw my mother performing on stage and singing and then I started joining both my mother and sister on stage. My connection with music started at around two and half years of age. Since then there was no looking back. I always knew I will be a performer and stage is where I belong.”

Sagarika is also the creator of world’s first Internet girl band Wild Blossoms, upon asking how did it come together, she replies, “I have always had immense interest in Internet and social media, and I am using these channels to share not only my music, but also talk about women’s empowerment and animal rights. Wild Blossoms was an experiment which will always be very close to my heart, although now I am concentrating on evolving as a solo artist.”

Sagarika will soon be seen in a Punjabi music video and a short film One Wrong Step. “It is a short film produced and directed by the Anhad Studios. It is made under the direction of Ravindra Rajawat and is made for spreading a message and show the world how the young girls are manipulated, even at the hands of their known people and elders. As for the Punjabi video, I am acting and not singing in the video.”

She is presently working on her first solo album and collaborating with songwriters and lyricists from Europe and USA. “One of the songs from the album is already recorded and I am excited for its release, as this may be the first time anyone is making a solo album with people from so many different parts of the world, without even meeting any of them in person. It’s a lengthy process since all of us live in a different time zone and meet only on the Internet.”