Singer Aastha Gill has come a long way in a short time, since the days she was largely recognised as the promising female voice in Badshah hits such as “Dhup chik”, “Abhi toh party shuru hui hai” or “DJ wale babu”.
Lately, whether she has sung with Badshah (“Pani paani”) or Akasa (“Naagin”), she has owned the song as much as the other singer.
Aastha, who started out with Bollywood hits in films as “Fugly” (singing “Dhup chik”) and “Khoobsurat” (“Abhi toh party”), would attribute her rise to the advent of non-film indie music because, as she points out, no one in the music industry depends on a playback career anymore.
“Earlier, things were different. We could not be choosy about stuff. Right now, things are changing. I think the independent scene has grown so much so fast in India that people are self-sufficient now. We are doing our own bit of work. So, no one’s dependent on film songs anymore,” she tells IANS.
For Aastha, the rise of independent music has come as a relief to artistes like her because Bollywood in recent years has been known to not pay its singers. For the uninitiated, Neha Kakkar in 2020 had first opened the pandora’s box, speaking to IANS, about singers hardly getting paid in the film industry.
After Neha, Aditya Narayan, too, has reiterated the notion saying singers don’t get a “single penny” in Bollywood and that there is a “pandemic in the music industry”.
Aastha belongs to a new generation of singers who have learnt to craft a career and make money without banking on Bollywood. But now that new-age voices like her don’t depend on film soundtracks for an income or career, will the film industry learn to pay singers their dues in order to avail their services?
“Everyone who is working is paid for their art and talent. So, obviously, singers giving their voices to songs must be paid, too. I don’t know if it will bring a change in the industry but definitely we singers need to put our foot down,” she replies.
Referring to the booming non-film music scene, she adds: “I hope because of this change, things get better in the industry and people start paying singers for what they do.”
Right now, she is excited about two things in life. “Paani paani”, her new song with Badshah has garnered 24,26,35,946 views on YouTube, maintaining the duo’s record run of hits.
Secondly, she says she had an unprecedented experience with a change of image, participating in the adventure reality TV show “Khatron Ke Khiladi” season 11.
“I was very nervous because this was my first reality TV show and I did not know anyone from the team. I just went for it. I had no idea how people would treat me because I have never gone out of my bubble,” she confesses, adding: “Then there were the stunts! I have a major creepy crawlies phobia, so it was scary.”
Participating in the show seems to have made her a big fan of host and filmmaker Rohit Shetty.
“He is the biggest support when you are in the stunt because, sometimes when you hear carefully, what he says actually helps you perform better. I released that after doing my first stunt. If he wasn’t around, it would have been difficult for me. He is the biggest support when one is performing a stunt,” she said about her experience of participating in the Colors show.