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Brand new day

Anaida's new album Nayaa, is a self-produced labour of love. Over four years in the making, it is a musical treat



MAKING MUSIC ANAIDA: "There are no item songs with half-naked women, no easy way out"

If there's one quality that characterises the pop music scene in India, it is brevity. Over the years, hundreds of Indipop acts have come and gone, forgotten even before their first video has gone off the air. And then there's Anaida, the princess of Indian pop, who we all remember from "Hotline" released more than a decade ago. This year, the Eurasian singer performer returns to the charts with Nayaa her fifth album and the first she has produced herself.

"Usually what happens is that the artiste chooses a composer and a lyricist, records seven or eight songs, hopes that he or she has at least one or two great songs and releases them. I recorded over 40 songs for this album over four years in various parts of India and the world," she says of the effort. As she speaks, one gets the sense of strong pride about the album. The reason, she says, is that Nayaa truly has been about the music. "It doesn't take any shortcuts. There are no item songs with half-naked women, no easy way out. It takes the high ground and stands proud."

Talent rich

What the album does have working in its favour, points out Anaida, is the kind of talent invested in it. Besides her considerable writing inputs, the album also boasts a number of other talented writers and producers. "I brought together artistes who wouldn't normally work on the same platform together," she explains, "and promised them that if they didn't like the final product, we wouldn't release it. The result is an energy surrounding this album that is positively magical."

Certainly that magic has been a long time coming (with even a greatest hits album gracing the stands in between) too long for some. The time off, says Anaida, was in aid of musical projects outside the country. "I have done a lot of international projects and continue to do so; songs in Greek and Arabic, an English song for the Buddha Bar compilation, another in honour of the victims of 9/11 and many more." And whenever she has found the time between all of that work, she has been steadily investing it into Nayaa. Recording and mixing 40 songs and then whittling them down to the 14 songs that make the album has been a long process, she says. "With the creative process, you can't force the time. You have to go with the flow," she asserts.

With the release of Nayaa Anaida once again sets her definitive stamp on an industry that has produced few artistes as prolific and enduring as her. "I am flattered to have been a pioneer and to have lasted this long," she exclaims. "Pop was never as big as film and now there is too much clutter on the scene. But, that works out better for people like me, at least people have something for comparison," she adds with all the self-confidence in the world.

But anyone who thinks the lady is ready to rest on her laurels has another think coming. Already, the gorgeous singer has begun work on her next album, while two other projects are almost completed.

An album in Arabic is also on the anvil, which she is again producing. Besides her music, she also consults for a number of European and American companies on entertainment in India, while simultaneously consulting for projects in India. There's the charity work that she does with a few NGOs and human rights organisations. And if that's not enough, she is also looking at working in crossover films, besides a possible television show that she has many hopes for. Whew! It seems everyday is a new day for this beautiful crooner.

RAKESH MEHAR

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