She is the youngest singer in the country to have hit the 1 billion mark with two songs on YouTube. Despite all the success and adulation she has received at such a young age, when you meet Dhvani Bhanushali you realise she is extremely humble, down-to-earth and has learnt very well how to handle success and all the attention that comes with it with remarkable ease. In this interview, she talks about the new milestone in her career, finishing her graduation studies, being a Kareena Kapoor Khan fan, the experience of doing live shows and more.
You have become the youngest Indian singer to have hit the 1 billion mark on YouTube. How important, do you think, is social media for people working in the entertainment industry in today’s times?
Meri gaadi toh aisi chali hai so it is very important for me. I started doing cover versions and putting them on my YouTube channel for fun. I got a good response for my videos and I realised people had started taking me seriously. That compelled me to think seriously about my career in music. Soon, I realised music is what I wanted to do all my life. If you put your heart and soul into something, you will definitely get the kind of results you might not have even hoped for. Back in the day, when we did not have YouTube and all the wonderful platforms we have today, it was difficult for people to showcase their talent. Now things have changed completely. You record a song at home, upload it on social media and before you realise it, it goes viral. Social media has turned out to be a boon not only for singers and musicians but anybody who wishes to showcase his or her talent in any field.
You became a graduate this year. Do you plan to study further?
No, I have two degrees now. I am done (laughs). Earlier, I was finding it difficult to juggle between my career and education. Now, I can focus completely on music.
You recently started doing live shows. How has that experience been?
The experience has been great so far. I performed at Bangalore recently and the crowd was cheering loudly and reacting very positively to the tracks I belted out. Right now, I am mostly performing at colleges. The crowd there is amazing. My first show was in Narsee Monjee College in Mumbai. I was nervous because it was my first show. But, the crowd was amazing. I got a good response and the nervousness slowly went away.
You are a big fan of Kareena Kapoor Khan. You got to meet her on the sets of a reality show recently.
Yes, she has always been my favourite actress and it was great to meet her after a while. I was in tenth standard when I wrote this poem for her. She read it and signed it as well. I had met her a couple of times after that as well.
You had sung for her in ‘Veere Di Wedding’.
Yes, I did. Although there were seven singers singing that song (the title track), I was happy about being a part of a song that was picturised on Kareena ma’am.
‘Dhvani’ means sound in Hindi. Did your parents always know that would get into music?
No, my parents had no such inkling when they decided on that name for me. They had no idea that I would go on to carve a career in music. Though my dad was working in T-Series, he did not have any set goal or ambition for me. He always told me he will support me in whatever profession I choose to opt for in life.
You started learning kathak recently.
Yes, I went for a few classes and will continue to pursue it in the future as well. However, I have taken a short break at the moment as I busy doing multiple things. I am doing shows and taking music lessons as well. I started taking vocal training a while back and since music is my profession, I need to get better at it first.
You had stated in an interview that you wish to be a pop artiste like Beyonce.
Yes, I do want to become a pop artiste. I am a big fan of Beyonce but I would like to carve my own identity as a singer.
What kind of music do you like listening to?
I am more inclined towards pop music. I listen to a lot of jazz. I am learning Indian and western classical music, so I have been listening to a lot of it as well. I had just started learning music. The more I learn, the more I discover it.
Do you plan to compose music as well?
I do not think I will ever become a full-fledged music composer but I do like to compose music. I keep recording songs and tunes every now and then but I am not sure if any of those are good enough to be released. I am sure I will evolve as an artiste with time and if someday, I feel I have composed a tune that sound good, I will release it. I do give inputs though. In ‘Leja Re’, the English lyrics were written by me.
Is it difficult to handle so much success at such a young age?
No, I just feel very happy when people like my work. Yes, I do understand sometimes when people achieve a lot of things at a young age, it affects them in several ways but since I have seen people going through it and losing everything they have gained, I will make sure that success never goes to my head.
Most of your songs have been huge hits but there have been a few like “Ishtehaar” (‘Welcome To New York’), the first song you recorded, and recently, “Rula Diya” (‘Batla House’) that did not get their due. How does it feel when your work does not reach out to as many people as you would have hoped to?
I do not get very affected by it as I sing to satisfy my soul. I do music because it makes me happy. If I had a good time working on a track, then it is enough for me. If people also like it, then, it is like an icing on the cake.
What are you doing next?
I will release a new single soon. There are a couple of shows lined up and I am very excited about them.