Meet Pallavi Ishpuniyani, the pop singer who is equally adept at singing in Punjabi and Kannada
Mumbai-based pop singer Pallavi Ishpuniyani is trained in Hindustani classical music, and uses her skills to sing across genres and languages.
All music connoisseurs would agree that songs transcend the boundaries of language, speaking through emotions instead. A soft romantic ballad, for example, has unmatched appeal, no matter the language it is performed in. Mumbai-based singer Pallavi Ishpuniyani is aware of this and has released two vastly different romantic numbers in the last two months - ‘Tere Wangu’ in Punjabi released in August and ‘Kaleyutiruve’ in Kannada in the last week of September.
“Tere Wangu is a contemporary folk song blended with some magic dust in the form of modern production aesthetics. It’s a Punjabi love song, and it highlights the interludes of separation and long periods of waiting in romantic relationships. Kaleyutiruve is an EDM pop romantic song, quite different from my regular style. I’ve been so excited about the release of these songs as they are nothing like each other, yet have catchy melodies that stay with the listener,” Pallavi excitedly shares with YS Weekender.
From Punjabi to Kannada
Originally from Nagpur, she currently shuffles between her home city and Mumbai. She is a singer-songwriter trained in Indian classical music. Her taleem, or traditional learning, began under the tutelage of Kumar Mukherjee, a disciple of Munawar Ali Khan of the Kasoor Patiala Gharana in Kolkata. She then pursued her graduation from Khairagarh University in Hindustani classical music, as well as a post-graduation from the University of Delhi in the same field.
Pallavi’s first single was released in collaboration with popular Punjabi singer Mika Singh. Titled ‘Holi Mein Rangeele’, it was released on Holi in 2020. Its music video was directed by Remo D’souza and starred Mouni Roy, Varun Sharma, and Sunny Singh. Her next collaboration was with renowned DJ Suketu for the song ‘Party Wala Holiday’, which was a fun party song penned and composed by Neeraj Shridhar.
Despite the onset of the pandemic, she continued to create independent singles, choosing to release them on her own. Her debut independent single called ‘Night Out’ was released in February 2021, and was inspired by the popular Punjabi folk melody ‘Sanu Neher Wale Pul Te Bulake’, originally sung by the legendary Noor Jehan. The second song was ‘Sehreyan Wala’, released in April this year – a well-known Punjabi wedding number that has had many creative iterations by singers over the years.
Pallavi shares, “Aaya Laadiye Ni Tera Sehreyan Wala is a very popular Punjabi folk wedding song. Hence, I tried to add my own flavour and modern spin to it while staying true to the beauty of the original song. It was an incredibly fun experience putting this dance number together and reintroducing a classic with a modern twist.”
Her third release this year was ‘Tere Wangu’, an original Punjabi love song created by her. Translating literally to ‘Like You’, she was immediately drawn to the lyrics of ‘Tere Wangu’ when she heard them, realising that they captured a universally relatable feeling. The emotional message of the song really touched her.
The lyrics for this original composition were penned by Kumar Sagar, and the song was composed collectively by Kumar and Pallavi. The track has been produced by Avijeet Satapathy, and mixed and mastered by Praveen Muralidhar. It was recorded remotely as everyone involved was located in different cities – she was at her home studio in Nagpur, the lyricist was in Chandigarh, the music producer in Mumbai, and Muralidhar worked from his home studio in Bengaluru.
Her latest song is the Kannada Single ‘Kaleyutiruve’ released on September 25.
Apart from her independent music, she has collaborated with several noteworthy names in the music industry such as Bikram Ghosh, Sameer Phaterpekar, Aashish Rego, and Tapas Relia, and has lent her voice to numerous ad jingles, television, and short films. She performs regularly at public and private events across the country.
Having lived in different parts of India, Pallavi has experienced different cultures and can speak various languages, which add nuance to her musical skill set and help her stand out.
She explains, “It is a dream for any artist to mould their creativity in different ways and for me, experimenting with music and singing in different languages and genres is what makes me versatile.”
Though she is influenced by various cultures and languages, Pallavi often returns to her Punjabi roots, as was evident with ‘Sehreyan Wala’. For the video of this folk song with a pop spin, she donned traditional Punjabi attire and danced in a Punjabi village home decked out for a wedding.
Pallavi enjoys experimenting with genres of all kinds, including party songs, Sufi music, and classical numbers, among others. However, she chose to begin her independent artist journey with the Punjabi language as that is what she feels most connected to.
“I believe that Punjabi music is more popular now than ever before. But that is not the reason that I released singles in Punjabi. It is just my personal choice as I belong to a Punjabi family. The Punjabi language and culture are very close to my heart and I love to jam to Punjabi music but I also like to perform songs in other languages and genres,” she promises.
The new song
Pallavi’s debut Kannada single, ‘Kaleyutiruve’ is her collaboration with musicians Yuvraj Chopra and Aditya Hongal. Believing that “language is never a barrier when it comes to music”, Pallavi adapts to varying music styles and languages by listening to them frequently.
She shares, “Although I’ve not been or lived in the South, my love for singing in various languages is strong. I don’t really find it difficult to sing in a language I don’t speak because my friends from the music fraternity help me out by correcting the pronunciations if needed.”
This particular song is a romantic number about a boy waiting for his love day and night. The song evokes a dream-like ambience as the protagonist pines for his lover.
She shares, “Kaleyutiruve is an EDM pop romantic song, beautifully composed by Yuvraj Chopra, arranged and produced by Aditya Hongal and penned by them together. They also teamed up with an illustrator to make an interesting animated video to accompany the track.”
This song is her third single as a featured artist and seventh including her independent releases. Looking ahead, Pallavi is keen on putting out more music and also collaborating with other artists. For Kaleyutiruve, the team has collaborated with the Zee Music Company and the video is currently streaming on Zee Music’s YouTube Channel.
Speaking about collaborating with other artists, Pallavi adds “It’s such a pleasure to work with such great people! With the current situation around the world, I think the least we can do is use our art to spread happiness and positivity for a moment of distraction during these difficult times. I hope the audience loves the song as much as we do!”
She ends by highlighting that everyone involved in the project gave a piece of their heart and soul in capturing the core feel of the song, and urges people to listen to her recently released numbers currently streaming across all major platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and Gaana, among others.
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Edited by Kanishk Singh