Chennai: When Falguni Shah moved from Mumbai to the US in 2000, little did she know that she was about to create a name for herself in the world of music. Fast forward to 19 years, today, Falguni’s work, ‘Falu’s Bazaar’ has received a Grammy nomination for Best Children’s Album.
She is known for her ability to blend a signature modern inventive style of music with Indian classically-shaped vocals. News Today reached out to her for a chat. ‘It’s still sinking in,’ she says when asked how she feels.
Falguni belongs to a family of ardent music lovers. In fact, her mother and grandmother are singers. Naturally, she grew up in a home where music was always a part of the life. She says, “I started learning music from a very young age and got my masters in Indian Classical music.”
Falguni recalls the days when she first stepped into the ‘land of opportunities’. “When I moved to New York, it was a big cultural shock. It took over ten years to understand how things work here.” She confesses that it was quite ‘hard to adjust at first’ but today, Falguni has settled and continues to learn the American culture.
Falguni’s mother exposed her into the world of music when she was just three. She also narrates how she honed her skill to become a better singer. “I remember for 10 years of my life, I practiced 16 hours daily,” says Falguni.
“It was brutal but I see the fruits now.” She goes on to credit her family, saying, “My mother gave a big hand in my upbringing. My brother, Darshan and my dad were extremely supportive.”
How does she starts working on a new song? “Inspiration comes to me naturally. Once you get inspired by something, lyrics and melody start flowing and become a song.” She adds that this may happen in two minutes or sometimes it can even take two months. “But you should have the patience for music to come the right way,” she points out. “I get my ideas through observation, discussion and reading.”
She talks about her album, ‘Falu’s Bazaar’. “It happened because of my son’s curiosity and questions as a little boy,” explains Falguni. “When he returned from school he would ask me, “Ma, why is our food yellow? Why do we count our numbers differently? Why do we speak a different language?” I thought the best way to answer this was through music. The more questions he asked the more songs I wrote and it soon became an album. It is written straight from a mother’s heart for her child to give a sense of an identity and reassure him of his culture and heritage as an Indian-American child in New York.”
Falguni also offers tips for aspiring musicians. “Never give up. Always follow your heart,” she says. She signs off saying, “I would love to come and work with composers in Chennai and sing for movies made in South India.”