“There are times when I hear my dad sing and I am in tears” – Hamsika Iyer
She is as eclectic as they come. From Bollywood to Electronica, Hamsika Iyer’s work is diverse and refreshing. She has a voice, the talent, perseverance and taste. Not only did she become a household name with hit numbers including Chammak Challo, Chanda Re and tons of other songs but her work in genres outside the films is as solid. Hamsika’s work with Juno Reactor (UK) and the world famous band Prem Joshua which are both as unrelated to Bollywood as possible is impressive.
Hamsika is not just a vocalist; she is an artist who acknowledges the struggle that is part of the industry. “Raabta from Agent Vinod was challenging because once I got the brief of the character I was singing for, I made my singing very personal and very controlled. With all this it also had to sound mellifluous and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Every song is a learning experience and that’s the beauty of music,” says Hamsika who came from a musical family; her dad being a musician and musicologist.
With a background like that and Hamsika’s active singing life during her growing up years with participation in shows such as Close Up Antakshari and Sa Re Ga Ma, her experience has made her wiser. “It’s very important to have an open mind, because you never know how and when you will surprise yourself,” says Hamsika who believes that is one of the most important virtues an artist should possess.
It is a known fact that talent and hard work alone is not enough to make it work as a musician and Hamsika believes in this theory. “This is absolutely true. Apart from hard work, you have to be at the right place at the right time and most importantly, nail the song when opportunity knocks at the door,” she states.
Hamsika’s diverse repertoire reflects in her all-women band Indiva. “Indiva is a two and a half year old band. Merlin D Souza, Vivienne Pocha, Shruti Bhave and I are part of this. Each of us hail from a different musical background and came together to form this multi-lingual Indian folk band with a world sound,” explains Hamsika adding that her own musical upbringing was rooted in Carnatic classical music. “I grew up with a background in Carnatic music. My dad S. Balachandran is my guru. Apart from learning music from him, I also trained under Mrs. Kalyani Mani and Mr. Chandrashekhar Bhagavathar. I am learning Hindustani music from Binay Pathakji,” she reveals. Hamsika Iyer’s foray into the world of commercials happened through her parents who were part of the advertising industry. “My Parents have been in the ad industry all along and that’s how I started singing jingles for ads at an early age. Complan was one of my first commercials,” she reminisces.
While Hamsika’s roster might be as varied as it can get and her work experience vast, she doesn’t particularly play favourites when it comes to music. “I am open to any good song that comes my way from any good music composer,” says Hamsika who has also experienced the spiritual depth that art has the power to stir in people. “I always experience it when I am learning music from my dad. There are times when I hear my dad sing and I am in tears.”
With so much music in her life, how difficult was her path to get to where she is today? “I think every singer walks the red carpet of struggle and I have had my share of it too,” she smiles.
Enjoy some of the famous jingles and songs of Hamsika Iyer:
Chlormint TVC for Nazneen Ghaani:
Tata Salt (Tamil ad):
Humming Suprabahtam for J & J Baby Milk Soap:
Slice Aamsutra (Katrina Kaif):
Surf Excel Quickwash:
Fiama Malayalam commercial (Deepika Padukone):
Limca – Do Pal Taazgi in Tamil:
Slice Golden Mango (Lisa Haydon):
Center Fresh (Dhanush & Adah Sharma):
Chanda Re (The Moon Song) from Eklavya:
Raabta from Agent Vinod:
Chammak Challo from Ra One: