Tall and extremely athletic, Keertana could easily pass for a professional sportswoman with her fit and commanding stature. Not surprising, since the charming and soft-spoken young lady has always had a keen interest in sports, and in fact competed in basketball at the national level before she discovered where her heart truly lies – music.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in Hyderabad, where I had the privilege to grow up in a large house with beautiful trees and a loving family. Being a single child, I was brought up like a princess by everyone around me, or at least I felt so (laughs). Growing up, I was surrounded by classical music and dance, since my mother was a Bharatanatyam dancer and my father was a lover of music and machines. I subconsciously absorbed the basic sounds of music by being in such an atmosphere.
As a kid, singing came to me the easiest. I would sing anywhere and everywhere I went. That’s how my journey as a singer began. At a very young age I started Carnatic vocal classes and a little later, the keyboard and drums. I have also started learning Hindustani classical vocals. An ambition to one day sing at Madison Square Garden (smiles) drove me to study music after high school at LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore.
What is the most exciting parts of being a singer?
Being able to perform in front of all those people who genuinely like your voice and music pushes me to do better and better. Every single show I do, right from singing at Esplanade on the Waterfront in Singapore, to being part of the prestigious “Jazz in July” event also in Singapore, to the Oktoberfest at the Secunderabad Club, Hyderabad – each and every show takes me a step ahead as a more experienced performer.
What are your other hobbies and interests?
Sport has always been first on my list of hobbies. Tennis was my first passion before music came into the picture. I love playing basketball and also enjoy swimming and playing badminton. I also love painting, and I have a very creative side to me. Whatever little free time I have, without question, has to be spent on the tennis court or in the gym.
What do you feel is the best way to promote music?
Live music is growing substantially in India. Having performed with a lot of bands in Singapore, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, I can say that people are always looking for a fun evening out to watch live bands. Music festivals give local artists a platform to be heard by many, whether it is rock, Sufi, folk, pop, etc. Reality shows help in exposure as well, leading to opportunities. Today, record labels are signing on new talents, looking for a new sound, unlike in the past when only a few ruled the roost. Like Dylan said, “The times they are a-changin”. I couldn’t agree more!
If there is something you could have done differently when you were starting out, what would it be?
Part of me always wished I lived abroad to take my love for tennis to the next level. But discovering something so special such as sound, which is so naturally ingrained in me, leaves me with no regrets. It’s a gift I wish to share with the universe.
What is the craziest thing you have done?
Skydiving in Interlaken, Switzerland was definitely the most exhilarating experience in my life so far. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would jump off a plane!
What are your goals for 2017?
I’m working towards creating a sound that represents me, and I look forward to showcasing it to a bigger audience. I also plan to travel and make new memories which my music will reflect.
So what’s next for you?
I like going with the flow, so wherever life decides to take me and my creative brain (laughs)..... --- as told to Suneela