Tulsi Kumar’s greatest dream has always been music. She grew up following the footsteps of her illustrious and legendary father Gulshan Kumar, only to become one of the most sensational contemporary singers our music industry has seen. Despite belonging to a music family, Tulsi had her own struggles. It was her passion, fueled with hard work and determination which made her a star. But Tulsi had much more on her mind than just accomplishing her personal goals. She went ahead and gave a lot of fresh talents a platform to turn their dreams into reality. Tulsi’s brainchild, the T-series StageWorks Academy, has been grooming raw talents since many years. In an exclusive interview with QNA India, Tulsi Kumar talks about her love for music, her journey and a lot more. Read on.
Coming from a family that has a background in music, do you feel that your struggles lessened up?
Tulsi: Struggles in a career are a part of one’s life and for me, they surely weren’t less but a lot more different than those in the industry. The thing is, you get the work according to your talent. If you have a voice that the audience loves, then only you get work in future. Having any background can only get you an initial chance, but sustenance comes with challenges and experiences only. As far as the merits are concerned, I got my songs totally based on my efforts. It took me some time as my first song came out after 3 years i.e. ‘Tum jo aaye zindagi mein’ and it was one of the biggest songs for me, which actually became a turning point in my career.
Was music always your passion? When did you decide to make it a full-time career?
Tulsi: “I always had this in mind that I wanted to have a career in music. Since childhood, I was passionate about it and used to hum the hits from the Bollywood movies. Not just this, my father, Gulshan Kumar used to hear me singing and encouraged my talent by getting me enrolled in Suresh Wadkar’s music academy. Later, when I was in the 12th standard and my mom asked if this is what I really wanted to do – I said yes! And that’s the reason, I grew learning music with more and more passion.”
In today’s time, how difficult is it for an artist to create a niche in this industry amidst such tremendous competition?
Tulsi: Talking about the platforms and opportunities available today for the talented bunch out there, I personally believe that a lot can be done if one knows how to make use of these opportunities. The digital world has opened so many doors for the people that if they pursue their dreams with perseverance and have a knack for it, then a lot can be done for sure.
T-Series StageWorks Academy is working amazingly to shape the music lovers? Do you consider this job as a food for your soul?
Tulsi: T-Series StageWorks Academy is more of like carrying my father’s legacy. My father has always been known for nudging and pushing the new talent and providing people with a platform, where they could express the best of themselves. This is what we wanted to do too. It was a collaborative idea of me and my husband to bring raw talent under one roof and to groom it — be it singing, dance, still photography, acting etc. And seeing my brother and us carrying it with such grace, all I can say is that I am too grateful for it.
Our academy not only has a nice campus in Film City, Noida, but also has certified courses with faculties, which focus both on theoretical and practical knowledge. Not just this, but many well-known Bollywood personalities visit the academy and share their insights so that the students know about the actual world of entertainment, they are about to step in.
After giving hits back to back, it must be daunting to meet the expectations of a fan following?
Tulsi: First of all, I am extremely grateful for the audience that I have and the support they continuously provide me. Their appreciation nudges me to work even more passionately, without putting myself in the stress-mode to always perform better. The thing is, no one can work under pressure and as for me, I make sure to give my 200% and rest leave it to God. I just hope and wish that my fans continue to love each an every song I render for them.
You have been felicitated at innumerable award functions, from IIFA awards for ‘Soch’ to GIMA for ‘Tum Jo Aaye’. What importance do these awards hold in your life? Also, what’s your take on the ideology that all such awards are biased, unfair and pre-planned?
Tulsi: I won an IIFA award for best playback singing for the song, “Soch” in 2017 New York, and it was quite an encouragement. Not just for me, but for any other artist, awards are the result of the efforts that one gives in to make the best tunes. For me, they act as a boost to perform even better in the future, but whenever I get praised by the RJs at Studio or hear my name for the song credits, it feels way too good. And what’s even more important is when your audience sings along during a stage performance, it actually sends the chills down the spine, because at that moment you realise that you really have earned the recognition you craved for.
What genre of music do you personally like? Is there any particular one which you would like to introduce in India?
Tulsi: I personally have a knack for the sad-romantic genre. I not only love listening to such songs but also render them for my audience too. Besides this, I believe that all the artists should experiment with new genres because it gives them the freedom to know what things they can try their hands on and what their forte is. I too like experimenting and for me, it’s the party numbers, Sufi music, low key etc.
Now that I have mentioned party numbers, let me tell you that my new song will be out which is a collaboration with Guru Randhawa, featuring my sister Khushali, and is a peppy number. Therefore, try the new stuff, but make sure to stick with your forte, which is your recognition.
Which amongst your songs do you connect to the most? Is there any special incident that you want to share on this note?
Tulsi: Hands down my favorite song is ‘Tum jo aaye’, which was sung alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab. The song released in 2010 is still loved by so many people. Even many brides prefer to perform it on their wedding day. It’s just amazing to see that I actually sang a song which has become evergreen. It indeed was another turning point in my career and after this, there has been no looking back. Not just this, but on my wedding day too after my pheras, I sang this to my husband and I believe that every girl would love to dedicate it to the special one in their life — just like I did.