Tulsi Kumar doesn’t really need an introduction. One of the most prominent artists in the Indian music industry, Tulsi has been winning fans all over the world since years! after giving numerous blockbuster songs in films and indie music, She recently started a music series, Truly Konnected, giving her fans a new sound and newer sensibilities. After the release of her third song ‘Bolo Na’, from the Truly Konnected series) we wanted to know more about her work, life and thoughts on many things music. So here it is, a brief of what we had a conversation about.
First and foremost, what is Truly Konnected?
Truly Konnected is a series of songs from which three are already out namely, tu mera, awara, bolo na –on all the major platforms. This series connects me one on one with my fans and hence the name Truly Konnected. The songs in this series have a very easy-on-the-ear sound, a comfortable vibe, as if you are sitting with your fans and singing along side. Since a lot of people have heard me in highly commercial Bollywood music in the recent past, it was time to bring the independent side of my music out as well. If I have to say it in brief, Truly Konnected is about connecting with my fans!
What brings you to independent space despite your highly successful film music work?
As an artist you always want to explore beyond what you are doing. I have grown up listening to Lucky Ali for example, an evergreen artist whose music has been one of the most followed in the independent space. Commercial film music requires a lot of script based and situation based songs for which you have to completely follow the directions of the music composer and his vision whereas on the other hand, with indie music you have the freedom to express yourself completely as an artist right from making the song, to writing the lyrics, music production to the final mix and master of the song, it is a very enriching process for every artist and I have learnt a lot personally in the process of creating indie songs and I’ve totally enjoyed the process. And it is not that I haven’t done independent music before, but Truly Konnected has a more evolved Tulsi Kumar with deeper sensitivities and craft.
Apart from being an artist and a singer, what other work are you engaged with?
From music point of view, I do get involved in the whole process from the look of the video to concept to production to editing to marketing, I love to be involved in the whole process hence they are so close to me. .It is how the indie music works. Apart from this, I am engaged with T Series Kids Hut, an edutainment channel which has been in the running since 2014. This channel is under my wing, and I work on the content curation, voice over, etc. With almost 3 million subscribers, it has seen tremendous traction over the years. A am very active even on Social media, as I love creating content for my fans. My social media is all about that.
In today’s time data is becoming the most talked about thing in the industry. Does data analysis become a part of the process of song creation for you?
I always keep myself aware and updated on what is trending. Social media has made it relatively easier in today’s time in contrast to back-in-time when I started making music. Having said that, awareness is important but following a trend to fit in is not something that I can do creatively. I believe market is always receptive to newer things, hence rather than following a trend creating something unique will always be a good idea.
How does your rest of the year 2023 look like?
Firstly, after the release of three songs from Truly Konnected, I am now gearing up to release my fourth track from the series. A song from Satya Prem Ki Katha, ‘Aaj Ke Baad’, has recently released and there is more film music coming up for the rest of the year. There is a wedding song which will get released towards October, it is an independent song which is in the works now.
What’s your take on Album vs Singles?
I think for every artist it is a different take. For me, even if it is an album, I would like to release songs one at a time, much like singles. From a time when an album used to release with 10 – 12 songs, we have come to a point where within first 30 seconds you have to click with the audience else, they are gone. So, the attention span is very low and to me, at least, releasing singles make more sense where each track gets its due attention from the listeners. Having said that, there are quite a few artists who are cutting albums too, so each to his or her own. For me, singles work better.
Listeners have a unique Past vs Present debate in music, what do you think about it?
Fashion and music always come back! One thing that cannot go away from the system is a great melody. From Aashiqui to Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahi, the songs that have had a great melody have become timeless. Irrespective of the attention span etc., for me, in this Past vs Present debate, melody always stays longer!
You stay in Delhi and work in Mumbai too. Does location make a difference to your work?
I am largely in both the cities half of the month, it is pretty much my routine. Having said that, a lot of industry stakeholders are in Mumbai. For Truly Konnected, I have not only travelled to Mumbai, but also to Chandigarh for a few sessions. Bottomline is that you need to go where your work takes you. And if you see, COVID, which was such a great calamity, has also made us learn remote working. For the record, I released more songs during lockdown than before COVID had happened. My song ‘Tere Naal’ with Darshan Raval was actually shot remotely, with me in Delhi and Darshan in Mumbai. We dubbed the song over the phone, had all the discussions over online meetings, etc. That song literally taught me that anything and everything is possible, location may not be the most important variable for your work!
I am sure you must have been asked this enough, but then what is the impact of being from T Series family for you?
I think by now everyone knows that possibly you might get your first opportunity if you are from a certain background, but unless audiences accept you, you will not go long. For me it’s been the same and that’s been the case with every member of our family. I have seen my father create a name for himself, my brother doing the same, so it is all the more important that I make a name for myself on my own merit. Since I am an artist, I need to meet with creators, jam with them, compose music and co-create work that is liked by all as a team. This cannot happen unless you bring value and become a part of the team you are working with. Like any other Bollywood singer, I also go and sing the scratch version of the song and when the song releases, only then I know that it’s in my voice or at times, closer to the release I get a confirmation that my version has been selected. It is a process that, as a singer, I have to follow like everyone else does. I have been fortunate enough to receive a lot of love from audiences which has helped me create an identity for myself. As an artist, your longevity is dependent upon the kind of work you do and if it is not good enough, you will not survive in this cut-throat industry where talent is in abundance.
Well, that was Tulsi Kumar, Truly Konnected and Truly Uninhibited! While we could definitely find out more about her work and her thoughts on various things life & music, we would love to delve deeper into Kids Hut with her at a certain point. Till then, keep watching and streaming her music like you always do!
Article by Vishwa Deepak Dikshit
Photographer – Rohn Pingalay
Make Up – Cashmakeupartistry
Hair – Aliya Shaik
Tulsi Kumar’s Manager – Swetha Shetty Verma