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Tune In With Lisa Mishra

Do you believe that opportunities sometimes come knocking on your door? If not, here’s someone who would turn that opinion around. Lisa Mishra took us by a storm with her first Bollywood song and we couldn’t have had more tarefaan to shower on her. In a candid conversation with Smriti Raizada, Lisa talks about her creative process, inspiration and the era of digital platforms.

Ex: Hey there Lisa, you started your YouTube journey at the age of 13. What inspired you to make your first cover?
LISA: The first video I did was pretty indicative of my age at the time, a cover of See You Again by Miley Cyrus. I think the inspiration was the popularity of Hannah Montana which collided with the launch of YouTube as a platform. After making that first video, there was no going back and here we are!

Ex: You’ve travelled through continents to explore your musical journey. What was one major change you faced with the audiences in India in contrast to that in Chicago?
I think the language barrier, definitely. Audiences are able to relate to me musically but I’m on a continual journey to improve my crowd interaction with more and more Hindi as we go along. I’m fluent, it’s just a matter of getting comfortable with the crowd and making them feel at home.

Ex: How would you describe the vibe of your sound?
I’ve always described my sound as R&B Bollywood because those are my two biggest schools of influence. In equal measure, I was learning from Beyoncé as I was listening repeatedly to the Taal soundtrack. The blend of the two has helped me carve a niche in this industry that I’m so thankful audiences are resonating with.

Ex: You had a sparkling moment with Tareefan that came with immense love and recognition from all around the world. What advice would you give someone who wants to make a mark in the music industry?
I think if you want to make your mark, you absolutely must be authentic. What worked for me isn’t a “formula” or a path that will work for anyone else. I did what came most naturally to me, singing the songs I love from different genres and eras in an effort to weave together my musical worlds.

Ex: How do you start your creative process with a song?
If we’re working on my singles, I actually tend to see a film or video in my head before I get into the musical creation. I approach a song with the visual in mind first, so that it helps me build a character or a role around the words I’m singing. That itself comes out when I sing into the microphone – one day I’m playing a struggling musician that requires a little pain the voice, another day I could be a happy young girl in love. Maybe it’s the Bollywood in me [laughs].

Ex: YouTube was a platform for you to explore your passion. How do you think digital platforms are changing career paths for this generation?
I think digital is king right now. I owe my entire career to YouTube and Instagram. It’s a tool that requires no industry knowledge, backing, funding, etc. Homemade content can hit it big in the same spaces that previously had no room for newcomers.

Ex: What do you think is the best technological innovation for a music artist?
I think home production gear. So many of us have learned vocal production from the comforts of our laptop, using Logic and Ableton to find and perfect our sound. I think tinkering with these tools is giving birth to a generation of vocalists with a robust understanding of the mixing and production process (which was reserved only for those working in professional studios before).

Ex: In a parallel universe, what would Lisa Mishra’s calling be?
Haha! I used to research and write about South Asia and also worked in financial analytics before my breakthrough. Ask anyone around me though, I have a knack for design and interiors so maybe that’s what I would do instead.

Ex: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Behind a microphone, releasing music that people connect to both in India and abroad.

Ex: A quote you live your life by?
Success is equal parts hard work and opportunity.

 

Quickies

  • What would be the theme song to your life: Dil Chahta Hai by SEL
  • Idea of a perfect weekend getaway: Road trips with my friends back home in Chicago
  • Most expensive tech buy: Bose speakers
  • Your dream collaboration would be with: Beyoncé or Arijit Singh
  • Tell us one thing your fans don’t know about you: I’m a tyrant when it comes to my work, kind of a nightmare to be around and demand all the details before entering a project.

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