I was born on 24th Magh in Dhading, Dhuwakot-4, Ratmate. I remember when I was a child I was very ‘simple’. I was quite different from my brothers – Sanjay and Rahul. I was quiet and soft spoken and I still think that I am so. I did not like any kind of violence and aggressiveness at any level.
I didn’t really think that one day I would be a singer. When I was in school, I used to sing during annual events. My teachers and friends used to encourage me. They said that I should be a singer because I had a beautiful voice. At that time I used to take it as just recreation. I didn’t think that someday it would be my career. I came to Kathmandu to give voice test at Radio Nepal to be a modern singer. Also at that time on the auspicious occasion of Radio Nepal’s anniversary, they were organizing a Nepali folk song competition. I filled the participating form and stood first. At that time it felt as if I was on top of the world. Why wouldn’t it feel, I was just fourteen and more importantly the song – ‘Simsime Panima’ (the song I sang in the competition), from my own collection having my own words was a big hit. Still one and half decades later I still find that song being played during many functions. Every time I hear that song in functions and find people humming it, I feel very proud. At that time I didn’t hope that “Simsime Panima” would be such a historical achievement not only for me but the entire Nepalese musical industry.
“Simsime Panima” was the song which gave me the courage to pursue my career in music. But, when it seemed that everything was going fine I fell ill. I suffered for many years from a heart disease, palpitation more precisely. Despite being in physical agony I launched a few albums in order to give a new taste to the Nepali musical industry, but they could not reach the heights that I had initially expected. When I recovered I was no more a girl but a woman.
There were several ups and downs in my singing career. However I dedicated some of my musical albums to Nepalese supporters and lovers. I always believed in music not having any country, language, caste and criteria. So, I thought of releasing a new album for all age groups comprising many musical fields. I started learning classical music from Late Ram Thapa, with a belief that I could give my best. I continued learning classical music with Gurudev Kamat and I still do. Its been three years since I started it and with all my effort and my teachers for the last couple of years, I have brought forward a new album – “The Line”.
The music arrangers of “The Line” are Phadendra Rai, Maha Raj Thapa and Norvu Sherpa. I hope the album will help uplift the Nepalese music industry because it includes eastern, western and folk style. I have music videos of some of my songs, directed by some famous persons from the l field like “Ma Pani Aaunchhu ….” by Bhusan Dahal, “Pokhun Bhanae ….” by Alok Nemang and “Timilai Kehi Hudai Na Hos” by Suraj Singh Thakuri. I would like to thank Music Nepal for marketing. I am very glad that I have been the last singer to sing the last song composed by Late Ram Thapa himself – “Chhati Bhari Timrai Maya ….”
Keeping in mind that everyone has some responsibility towards the society I have dedicated this album against all the sufferings of Nepalese women. I feel this initiative will help to uplift the living standards of many women in our community who are being deprived of their rights and tortured in many aspects. I would like to thank everyone who helped me bring forth this album especially Mr. Bhupendra Khadka to release this album, for his immense support. I am hopeful the listeners will like this album. I really have worked hard and if you have any comments feel free to share. There might be many flaws in my work and I will try to eliminate them in my future presentations. Thank you!
What are you busy with these days?
My new album has just been released, so I am busy on its promotion and things. Since the new album was appreciated by the media and the music lover, I’ve been getting offers to perform in different programs and shows. And as I am a housewife, I have much responsibility towards my family too. Along with this, I am collecting lyrics for my upcoming album.
You have appeared after a long time and have also changed the pattern of the music that you used to do. How difficult was it for you to change the pattern and how has been the audience response?
The responses are better than I had expected them to be. The response from outside the Valley has made me even happier and more excited. I think it is the result of my three years of hard work, which I have put into this album. As far as the change in pattern is concerned, I was interested in modern music for a long time and I wished to sing in that idiom since a long time back, but because I was occupied with my own things, I hadn’t had a chance to do so. And yet I didn’t find it very difficult to sing in that pattern.
What is your process of making a song and which time of the day do you prefer to sing the most?
I think lyrics are the backbone of a song and because of that, I concentrate on the lyrics more; and after that, I start composing it and arrange the lyrics and the music composition. Well, there is no preferential time for me to sing. However, whenever booking the studio for my recording sessions, I prefer the evening time inasmuch as I think my vocal chords become clearer by then.
Briefly tell us about your new album, “The Line”, and the reason behind its name!
Well, I find it a little difficult to describe the album myself. But talking about it in brief, I would say, from the technical work in the mainstream music to its composition, it’s a full package on variety. The reason behind its name is that I tried to give it a symbolic meaning that would also represent my music career. I wanted to name it “Rekha”, which doesn’t have any end. But as it is my own name, I translated it into English. Which means a line! And as you know, there is no end to a line. In the same way, I tried to symbolize that there is no end to my music career till I die.
While you were working on your album, there was a rumor that you would not be able to sing modern songs because you were a folk-based singer. But now your work in the album is being appreciated. How do you feel about it?
Oh…. This is the first time I am hearing about such a rumor! If I had heard it previously I would have tried harder and done much better. But I had taken the album as a challenge myself, and I did my work. I felt that I shouldn’t degrade my image from this album that I had gained from the folk songs. So I took time to complete this album. And from what I heard today, I think I proved myself in front of the audience, and will therefore work even harder to prove myself in the future.
When did you decide to make music your career? And has Rekha Shah forgotten folk music? It is said that people change their business as they become unsuccessful. Is it the same with you?
Most of the works are done unplanned. I used to sing with interest when I was very small. As by imy interest, I went to Radio Nepal to test my voice, and during that time Radio Nepal had been conducting a national folk music competition and so I had a chance to participate. I sang the song “Sim Simay Pani Ma’’ which I used to listen to and sing in my village, and I won the competition. Then came the turning point in my music career. No, I haven’t forgotten folk songs. As I am a singer, I have the right to sing songs of any pattern. That’s why I am also planning to sing a Bhajan in the future, and if I get a nice folk song I’ll sing it too. But I will never sing a meaningless song like what is now famous in the music market. I changed the pattern of my song not because I was unsuccessful but due to my love towards music.
Which Nepali singer are you influenced by the most?
I listen to all good singers but I am mostly influenced by Swar Samrat Narayan Gopal.
But you differ from your influence. How?
People should change according to time and situation. But the singing is not so different. The singing has not changed. It’s just the technical work which has changed as per the situation.
Where do you find yourself in the music field now as you look back on the days when you first started your music career?
“The Line” is my first attempt in modern song, and I feel I still have much to do. From the response I am getting from this album, I feel as though I have a bright future in the modern music field. However, I will have to put in more effort. My past years in the folk music field have supported my future career.
The song that you sang in the competition “Sim Simay Pani Ma” is now almost like a national song. Do you remember how you had felt when your name was announced for the first position? How do you feel now when you remember those days?
People change with age. I was only thirteen years old back then. I was small and used to walk under adult supervision by a person who used to hold my hand to take me here and there. The announcement had started from the song which won the third position and then the second position. My name was not announced for these positions which made me a little sad. But when my name was announced for the first position, I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t do anything, I was numb. In fact, I was stunned! Now I feel very proud , and my happiness knows no bounds when I think about the success and the popularity that the song received.
What level have you achieved academically in music and which instrument do you prefer while practicing?
I have completed a course till Bemuse in Ilahabad Sangeet Vidhyalaya. Now I am planning to do amuse. Because I am a little busy with my household responsibilities and with other works, I am planning to do that a little later. With respect to an instrument, I prefer a Harmonium while practicing.
How would you define yourself?
Wouldn’t it look exaggerated if I defined myself? Well, in short, I am a person who thinks positive.
What else are you interested in besides music? Are you interested in politics?
Besides music I like to involve myself in social service. I think about various ways to serve the society while sitting at home. As for politics, I hate it. In Nepal’s context, I have not found any politicians true to their words. That may be the reason why I want to stay away from it.
What are your future plans? Is there anything left to be said? And lastly, a few words for your fans.
I don’t have any specific plans. I simply plan to continue my career in the music field. I think there isn’t anything left to be said. And as for the fans, I request the audiences to comment open-heartedly on my weaknesses if any. Also I request them to listen to the songs before commenting.
|Full Name||Rekha Shah|
|Date of Birth/Age||Magh 24th / Feb 6th|
|Aim||To become a good person, successful singer, and a social worker.|
|Dislikes||chhadmabhesi manchhe man pardaina (Two faced).|
|Awards||Yuva Chhinalata Geet Purashkar and many more.|
|Your albums||The Line (6th Album)|
|Inspiration||Self & Friends.|
|Favorite Food||Newari Food.|
|Where would you like to go?||Muktinath, Manang.|
|Concerts||Over 100 shows.|
|Music you listen to||All kinds of music.|
|How would you define music?||A part of life.|
|Favorite Nepali Artists||Deep Shrestha, Uday Sotang, Narayan Gopal, etc.|
|Favorite Non Nepali Artists||Aasha, KK, hariharan, Sunidhi Chauhan.|
|What do you look in a song?||Lyrics, Music and Arrangement.|
|Music industry in Nepal||Not so good.|
|Message to Nepalese abroad||Don’t forget Nepal.|
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