To begin with, there is something refreshingly different about Alisha Batth. This “one-woman army” brings hopes up for all female musicians in India. And, she is talented, that’s for sure. Her covers of Melissa Etheridge and Ani DiFranco are worth checking out. We had a tête-à-tête with this spunky performer who spoke about her music, herself and everything.
VP: Describe Alisha Batth, the Artiste?
AB: I think what my friend Shourya Bali wrote, describes me on the best.
“So this is as straight as it gets. This is Alisha, 19(for a few days!). She is your average everyday sometimes folksy, sometimes punk, sometimes soulful but mostly rock, singer-songwriter. She also plays instruments. Mainly the guitar and back in the day she could play a mean violin.”
VP: Does it get difficult being a one-man army? And do you see yourself joining/forming a band in the future?
AB: Don’t know about a one-man army, but being a one-woman army is a breeze!
Well I do have a band that I play with off and on, but its nothing concrete. Since I’m primarily a solo artist, I’m quite content with this arrangement.
VP: How receptive is the Indian audience to artistes who do solo performances?
AB: To be really honest with you, I don’t follow the scene that closely so I can’t really comment on how receptive they truly are. As for me personally, wherever I’ve played they’ve been very supportive and appreciative each time and that always amazes me.
VP: From playing covers like GNR and Scorpians in school, how much has your choice changed? Any specific genres which you prefer?
AB: It has changed a lot since then, indeed. Even though I don’t like labeling my style of music, I’d say its a mix of folksy-bluesy rock. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, so I’m constantly evolving and changing things up.
VP: Please tell us about your grand debut in Hard Rock Café in March 2008…
AB: Everything I say will sound terribly cliched, but here goes… It was everything I imagined it would be. Its just something that happened, something that certainly wasn’t planned for or thought of. I didn’t expect to play at Hard Rock so soon…… and not just to play, but to debut! Standing on stage…. With countless faces(some familiar, mostly new) looking at me… hanging on to my every word… It was frightening and exciting at the same time.
VP: “And there she was, clad in black from head to toe with a whacked out hairdo that spelled PUNK.” Who was the inspiration behind your punky hairdo?
AB: I myself was! I’m quite interested in hairstyling, so I’m always experimenting with it.
VP: What’s up for the next six months?
AB: Nothing planned. I’ve come to the conclusions that plans really never work out for me.
VP: So far you have only done covers. When can we hear your originals?
AB: Soon. I’m working on a few as we speak… Some should be ready by the end of this year, hopefully.
VP: You have played in Mumbai, Bangalore mostly. Any plans to visit other metropolitan cities as well?
AB: Bombay, yes. Bangalore, I never have. I would love to play all over, but I don’t have a manager or anything like that and I’ve never really approached anyone as such. I’ve yet to get the hang of all this.
VP: Do these tours interfere with your college studies?
AB: No, they don’t. Since I left college. I had to make a decision and here I am. A full time musician.
VP: Do you think there should be a 11:30 curfew on live music bands?
AB: Absolutely not!
VP: Do you believe in outrageous stage stunts? Do they help drum up audience enthusiasm?
AB: Never done any, nor do I think I’m going to do any in they near future. I think it all depends on the artist/band. Its just something I won’t do.
VP: What do you prefer – performing in a pub of 200 people or a huge concert?
AB: I think a pub–its more intimate that way.
VP: Ok, last question. Who would you like to perform with and where would you like your concert to be held? Choose any popular performer (living or dead) and any place, realistic or not!
AB: Choices are something I’m SO not good with it. If I pick one, I’ll feel bad for the other. So, I choose not to discriminate!