‘How often do you get powerful female songs named after a natural calamity?’, asks Jwalamukhi singer Poorvi Koutish

By Bryan Durham - March 18, 2020

Jwalamukhi from AR Rahman’s maiden production 99 Songs may have become Poorvi Koutish’s calling card, but the playback singer’s powerful vocals have been heard before.

‘How often do you get powerful female songs named after a natural calamity?’, asks Jwalamukhi singer Poorvi Koutish
Poorvi Koutish with AR Rahman

As early as 2012, Poorvi was an Indian Idol Top 4 finalist. Two years later, she would be heard in Pritam’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects in a song called Tauba Main Vyah Karne Pachhtaya alongside Shahid Malya.

In 2017, she was heard in Anirudh Ravichander’s Vivegam in a song called Veriyera. In 2018, it was ARR’s Ruby Ruby (Sanju) with Shashwat Singh for company.

In the independent music space, her oeuvre is far more sparse and is interspersed with several covers, but two originals shine bright — Kahaaniyan Khayalon Ki and Jaana Kahan.

One thing that comes across in all these songs are her powerful, confident and beautiful vocals. We first heard her at this year’s Mirchi Music Awards showcase of 99 Songs (tune in to Zee TV on March 22, 2020 for the event telecast) as she performed live with ARR.

We reached out to her to shoot a few questions her way. Here are excerpts from that conversation…

The best part about singing Jwalamukhi was…
That it’s composed by and is part of the movie that’s produced/written by AR Rahman. That it’s named after a natural calamity… I mean how often do you get powerful female songs named after a volcano or a cyclone, right?
I literally had a blast working on it! (Laughs) That I was lucky enough to experience the entire process from lyrics to production to mixing and finally watch the incredible music video.

Arijit Singh and you have one thing in common apart from Jwalamukhi, the fact that neither of you won the talent hunt shows you were on. Think of it as a blessing in disguise?
Everything is a blessing. No one can take away what’s meant solely for you.

Kahaniyan Khayaalon Ki is the only original you’ve put up on your YT channel…
I have more originals but not ‘official’, per se. They’re more of a music production experiment as a practicing music producer under the hashtag #StorySunday Originals (my YT playlist).
Kahaniyan Khayaalon Ki was more of a collaboration with musical folks from Australia, and we happened to create the song within a few hours. It’s more of a memory of having made new friends, really.

Why is it that most singers would rather put up covers on YouTube?
Most singers put up covers these days I guess for a few reasons (I could be wrong). Here are a few…

  • They love the song to death or the song resonates with them in some way
  • The song’s popular so it engages more audience to their work/ page
  • Can be a presentation/ demo to music directors/industry showcasing they can pull off pop music
  • Their originals don’t get as much attention as popular music does, so that’s a resort.

In all fairness, I do upload covers too under the hashtag #WickedWednesdays every week, but they are reimagined originals, they don’t quite sound the same as original compositions.

The only other original of yours that comes to mind is Jaana Kahan…
This song was for Dhrubo Paul, one of my friends who composed and produced this song. Entirely his production. What’s special about the song is
the meaning. It talks about life being one’s journey to one’s self which includes multiple experiences, struggles, paths etc. which all lead to self eventually.

Do you think Jwalamukhi will open doors, or that your Bollywood career is still a work-in-progress?
I think Jwalamukhi has already opened a lot of doors for me in many ways, it’s helped me express something I was trying to convey in Bollywood for a long time, but I needed a ‘Bollywood production’ to help me express it, and I’m extremely lucky to have this song because it’s EXACTLY that. It is me.
My career is definitely a ‘work-in-progress’ and Bollywood is a part of it that has started to bloom through Jwalamukhi! I do have a good feeling about it !!

What are three lessons you picked up from ARR?

  • Set your intention right
  • Let your music do the talking
  • Work, work, work!
    Still working on it…

What’s next for you?
There are a few Bollywood projects but I can’t speak about it yet. There are other projects that I’m not supposed to talk about at the moment but will be updating soon on my social media accounts (be sure to follow!)
I’m currently producing my EP, which has been on a hold for almost a year, but I’m resuming the work, hopefully we’ll all listen to it this year!

READY RECKONER

  • Poorvi made it to the Top 4 of Indian Idol Season 6 in 2012.
  • Today, she is an Indian playback singer with releases in Hindi and Tamil
  • She has performed live with the likes of AR Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Raghav Sachar and Siddharth Mahadevan
  • She has had Hindustani classical training since childhood
  • She also studied Opera for two years in Chennai post Indian Idol
  • She interned for a year at Panchattan Recording Studio (AR Rahman Studios) as a music producer
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