In an exclusive interview with us, the Chicago-based data-analyst and singer, talks about how her big break in Hindi films was a dream come true and her starry-eyed moment with Kareena Kapoor Khan.
A total Cinderella moment: Lisa Mishra on bagging Veere Di Wedding’s ‘Tareefan Reprise'
Mumbai - 02 Jun 2018 13:00 IST
US-based Lisa Mishra has received a lot of love for her acoustic cover versions and mash-ups of Hindi film songs over the years, but the 24-year-old singer would never have imagined that she would suddenly be sitting in a Mumbai studio and recording a song for a big film like Veere Di Wedding, released on 1 June.
A Youtube artiste, Mishra put out a video mash-up of Veere Di Wedding song 'Tareefan' and Dj Snake and Justin Bieber's 'Let Me Love You' on her Instagram account on 19 May, and the next thing she knew was that she was flying down to India to record an official reprise version of the same track. Mishra's version was recorded, shot and released in a matter of just one week, on 29 May.
What started off with Mishra listening to the song, composed and produced by Qaran, about 20 times while driving home from work ended up turning her life around.
“I put up the video on a Saturday night and went to bed. By the time I woke up, [actress] Sonam [Kapoor Ahuja] had shared it on her Instagram and [producer] Rhea [Kapoor] was contacting me via DM to fly out and officially record the acoustic version. I think it happened so quickly because everyone was happy with the my rendition of the track and we were keen to launch it before the movie was released,” says Mishra.
The Kapoors were thoroughly impressed with her acoustic version of the dance number, originally sung by Badshah, and shared it on social media. Rhea then decided that an acoustic version sung by a female singer would be a great addition to the album.
While Mishra has been a Youtube artiste for over 10 years now, this new Hindi cinema fame has been a surreal experience, especially shooting of the song video with biggies like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam K Ahuja and Swara Bhasker.
“The video shoot was totally surreal – I’ve never been outfitted with hair/makeup teams and stylists. So it was a total Cinderella moment!” she says, adding that she had her fangirl moment when she saw Kareena enter the room.
One week ago, I put up a little video on Instagram after hearing #Tareefan on repeat 20 times while driving home from work. I went to bed and within 10 hours my life changed. I flew to Mumbai and in a matter of one week, with @rheakapoor and @qaranx by my side we created #TareefanReprise. The amount of gratitude I feel is indescribable. To @sonamkapoor, @ektaravikapoor, @anilskapoor, @anandahuja, @harshvardhankapoor, @badboyshah and so so many more- thanks for making my dream a reality. Eternally grateful 💕 . . . #KareenaKapoorKhan @sonamkapoor @reallyswara @shikhatalsania @lisamishramusic @qaranx @badboyshah @zeemusiccompany @rheakapoor @ektaravikapoor @nikhildwivedi25 @balajimotionpictures @saffron_bm @vdwthefilm @thehouseofpixels
“Sonam is so welcoming and open, and made the environment super comfortable for me. After easing into talking with her the other girls arrived and we all chilled and played the song a few times to get into the groove. But I went a little starry-eyed once Kareena Kapoor arrived. It’s hard to keep your cool when one of your childhood idols is in the room!” says Mishra.
The singer also heaps tons of praise on the song's producer Qaran. "Qaran is by far the best producer I’ve worked with, both from a technical and personal standpoint. He’s a mad genius when it comes to perfecting the sound, as am I. We kept joking that after a while neither of us had to vocalise our issues with a take because we could communicate our intentions without any words and just a simple look. The concept was to make it as close to the Instagram video as possible, because so many people had fallen in love with my rendition," Mishra says.
A section of the audience, which felt that four actresses lip-syncing to Badshah's voice was a lost opportunity and a female singer should have been hired, welcomed Mishra's version with open arms.
“I don’t know if 'necessary' is the word I'd use. More so a welcome addition. I love all the songs on the album and there’s some great numbers in the soundtrack featuring Jasleen Royal, Neha Kakkar, Aditi Singh Sharma, and Sunidhi Chauhan. That’s a pretty heavy set of veeres already! I think having 'Tareefan Reprise' only further enhances the experience,” says Mishra.
Born in Odisha, Mishra moved to the US when she was only six years old, but she inherited her love for Hindi songs from her parents - her father is a banker and mother is a retired professor-turned writer - and singing for films is her wildest dream come true.
"Yes! My family has always loved the movies, so we were raised on Bollywood songs. The first time I ever sang a song for my parents was 'Jadu Hai' from Ghulam when I was 4 years old. Needless to say, singing in Bollywood is very much a dream come true," she says.
Even though her life is playing out like a movie script at the moment, Mishra, a data-analyst in Chicago, has not decided about giving it all up for a singing career in Hindi cinema. "I work a normal desk job, so no official Mumbai plans yet. But I’m not against the idea — I love Mumbai."
But this break must feel like a validation for years of hardwork she put into her Youtube channel, right? “Absolutely. I think YouTube can sometimes become a disillusioning experience, especially if you’ve had a stay on the platform as long as mine. I’ve been releasing videos since 2007 (when I was 13 years old), so to have this song picked up by people I admire so greatly was the greatest sense of affirmation for my work I could receive.”
And she has some inspiring words for fellow singers on the platform. "I say — keep at it. It took me over a decade for this big break to occur. Additionally – perfect your craft. Of course, continuing to put songs out is a good idea but you have to make sure your musical skills are getting honed each day, as well. Keep growing as a musician, that is equally important."