Prajakta first appeared as a contestant in the first season of Indian Idol, where she finished in fourth place. Despite not winning the title Prajakta got a break in the film industry, where she sang playback for few Hindi films. These days, she shuttles between working with maestros like A.R. Rahman and Sonu Nigam for shows and building an entertaining YouTube channel. A TV star with a difference indeed!
You started singing at a very young age; how did it change your life?
I started singing at the age of four. I am grateful that I have music in my life. While growing up we learn a lot of subjects but we understand its true meaning only as adults. It's the same with music. When people say I sing well, it's not something that happened overnight. A lot of practice and dedication has gone into getting it right. It is definitely a gift but I feel that working on it is equally important. Music has helped me become a better person.
Can you describe the experience of working in MTV Coke Studio?
Awesome! I just can't describe the feeling in words. To work with the master, A.R. Rahman was something else altogether. I have always wondered how he made music and what went on in his mind while composing. To work with him was just a dream come true.
What does music mean to you?
I won't say that music is a part of my life, it is my life! All good relationships and good things I have in life are thanks to music.
What do you enjoy most about performing for an audience?
It is fun. When I performed in Indian Idol it was the first time I did a show. I saw people applauding and cheering me. It was overwhelming to meet people who remember the show even now. I remember, after Indian Idol, I performed at Guwahati and there was this huge crowd that was clapping for me and cheering me on. It was a truly 'wow' moment because they were so supportive of me. I get to do what I love the most – sing.
Tell us a little about performing with A.R. Rahman and Sonu Nigam?
Just to be around them is a novel experience; you learn so many things! I dream of singing solo songs to Rahman Sir's music. A.R. Rahmanji's sincerity, dedication, spirituality and his aura inspires you to be like him or strive for better. Similarly, Sonu Nigam is very sincere about his work. He's been there for so many years yet he rehearses hard before performing. He's really charged up before shows and the way he strives for perfection is admirable. He is also one of the few people that I approach for guidance.
Who are your favourite singers?
Lot of them! The pillars of the industry – Lataji, Ashaji, Kishoreda and Mannada. Of the newer lot, I like Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal. I am also a big fan of Alkaji's voice. It's a long list.
What are you currently working on?
I am focused on my YouTube channel and songs; that's one way you can do what you want to with your music. I am doing a few covers and a few originals for YouTube – songs and videos.
How do you feel you have evolved as a singer?
With experience, you definitely evolve. You get to meet people, work with them and as you keep recording, you learn new things. I am still learning; and that learning will be a life-long process. I have definitely learnt a lot of new things and I would want to keep evolving and getting better at what I do.
How would you define your television career?
TV is really a very big medium. Even actors come on TV to promote their movies. It reaches out to a lot of people and makes a huge impact. I owe my career to television. I am a musician and my focus is to make good music. If TV, as a medium, helps me reach out to more people, then why not use it to the maximum?
What is your dream?
My ultimate dream is to influence and make life better for people around me. It would be nice if I am at a level where people could look up to me.
Would you like to work in TV and films as an actor?
I really can't act! When I was on contract to Sony, I acted a bit... But I would burst out laughing during shots. I think I should just stick to singing!
Trivia About Prajakta Shukre
- Prajakta loves to write. She is currently working on a science fiction book.
- Her other interests include reading and painting.
- Prajakta loves watching movies and discussing the plots with people. Her favourite TV shows are Prison Break, Dexter and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai.
- She says she likes cooking but is very lazy and enters the kitchen only when she is in the mood.
- The qualities she values most in a person is integrity. "I like people who are honest."