Those who have heard the songs ‘Tu Hai’ and ‘Sindhu Ma’ would have wondered who is the female voice behind those two beautiful songs as those songs were perfomed in such a way that you will keep it on a loop mode. Born and bought up in Mumbai with ancestral connections at Kerala, Sanah Moidutty is one of those luckiest musicians in the country who got selected by the Oscar winner A.R Rahman by listening to the voice samples which she sent to him. Her first break was in Bollywood while doing engineering when she was noticed at a talent hunt in college after which Sanah went on to do playbacks for films. Sanah who can sing in English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Kannada has rendered her voice in Hindi Films like Always Kabhi Kabhi, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, The Attacks of 26/11, 24, Mohenjo Daro.
She has also sung for ad films like Cinthol and Eva deos. She has done live performances with Vishal Shekhar, Band SANAM, Keerthi Sagathia and Ash King. For Sanah working with ARR is always the happiest thing and she has sung 3 duets with him for the movie Mohenjo Daro.
Sanah Moidutty in conversation with Mad Garage about her musical journey and her future projects and her road to Bollywood.
1. About your Kerala connection.
I’m a Malayali born and brought up in Mumbai. My mom is from Areakode (Malappuram district) and dad, from Pattambi. I visit Kerala at least once in two years. My manager Ben Thomas is a mallu as well. Strong Kerala connection I must say.
2. You are trained in Carnatic, Hindustani and Western music, among this where does your comfort zone lies?
I started off with Carnatic music, which I learnt for six years then switched to Hindustani music to explore another style which went on for seven years. After a few years I felt the need to develop a better tone. So I joined Western music classes. I’m not a purist. I mix styles if needed, so I don’t worry much about my comfort zone. I try my best to get the emotion and technique right.
3. About your college time music.
College time was so much fun. Especially during my engineering days, I used to regularly jam with some amazing musicians/ friends and also participate in competitions. I had been balancing music and studies all my life. But after I finished engineering I gave myself to music.
4. The “call from A.R Rahman” moment, tell us about that
I couldn’t believe initially when I got a call from Rahman Sir’s studio. I’ve been an ardent fan. Sir asked me to sing songs in all styles. I was extremely nervous and I almost goofed up in front of the mic. But Sir was patient and kind enough to let me loosen up and then record. That same night I was asked to record parts of “Tu hai” (Mohenjo Daro) as well. I had no idea what would happen. The day I came to know my voice has been finalized on the track, I was extremely happy. “Mei Nigara”, the Tamil track from 24, also happened in between. I was called to Chennai to record that. The amount of learning I went through when I stayed there was tremendous. Meeting Rahman Sir and singing for him changed so many things for me. I received a lot of love. But the most important thing is I saw my childhood dream of meeting him come true. My journey towards being a more responsible musician had begun.
5. Being a playback singer yourself with a decent number of hit songs under your name, what makes you do cover songs of popular songs performed by other singers?
When I put up a cover my intention is to reach out to as many people as I can. I believe this is a good way to engage my audience when I’m not doing playback. And if you notice the kind of covers I do, I don’t exactly follow the trend of putting up new songs only. I do songs which I personally love and which creatively challenge me.
6. We read somewhere that you got filtered by ARR based on a sample you mailed him so does that means he really got time to check his inbox?.
Ha Ha, Well, he heard the sample I sent and I consider myself extremely lucky for that! But things only happened eventually and I got a call from his studio almost after two years.
7. Recently a director commented that “copying old music and giving it new sound and music is not what the bands should do. They should do original songs and only then music industry will flourish” How you react to this?
The quality of original music made, defines the music of that particular era. And I agree that every musician should definitely strive to come up with original tracks. But it depends on what the musician feels about his own music. And that feeling is personal. If you feel you need to write better songs before you release them, I don’t think it’s wrong to wait and interpret existing songs in your own way till then.
8. Most of the YouTube videos posted by you have the name Sajida Moidutty in it, which is your sister. So the kind of support you have from her and your family.
Yes, Sajitha is my elder sister. She is very creative and has an amazing eye for detail. She does styling and makeup for all my Youtube videos. She also looks after the art direction bit. My mother, Razia Moidutty is a singer herself. I am what I am because of her belief in me. She was the one who enrolled me into Carnatic music classes when I was five. I started performing on stage from the age of seven. She used to accompany me to every performance place. I remember how she used to wait backstage with bated breath, during my performance. Dad has been supportive too.
9. Which would be that singer with whom you want to sing a duet with and which would be that song
Well I did a duet with Rahman sir so that’s always going to be the most special one. Apart from that, I would love to do a duet with Sonu Nigam because I’ve grown up listening to him.
10. Where would you shop mostly and the brands which will find place in your shopping cart.
I shop from many places Ha Ha! Being a girl is so much fun as you can shop for hundred things. I visit Forever 21 and Zara often. I love watches so I keep going to the Fossil store to check the collection: D I like street shopping at Colaba Causeway, Mumbai. You get some super cool accessories there!
11. Your upcoming projects
A movie project in the pipeline, the details of which I can only give later.
12. Any independent projects coming up
I regularly upload songs on Youtube. I recently did a Malayalam song for my channel and it was received quite well. Lot more coming up!
13. Apart from music what does Sanah Moiduty have interest in?
I like photography. I love going on nature trails. And I like reading in general. Also there are days when I eat and dance to my heart’s content!
Well a lot more to come from this young singer, Mad Garage wishing her all the best for her powerful musical days which are coming up. Godspeed Sanah.