Manleen Rekhi is a student of Panjab University’s Economics department and a rising star in the Punjabi music industry.
Her debut single, ‘Khaab’ which was released on Youtube on 14th October has over 6 lakh views and counting. The song has been described as a ‘love ballad’ about a girl who starts developing feelings for a boy and is accompanied by a music video where Rekhi plays the girl.
Manleen, who describes herself as a ‘a small-town girl, trying to make it big in the music industry’, started her journey as a singer early in life. By grabbing any given opportunity in her school, she slowly found out that music was her calling.
And now, a few years later, she debuted with a successful song, eager to find her place amongst the best in the music industry.
We interviewed her about her passion, journey and success. Here’s what she had to say.
Q)How has Panjab University treated you and supported your passion in music?
Getting into the prestigious Economics department of the Panjab University has been an enriching experience. There are so many lovers of the Punjabi language in the campus, that you absolutely feel at home. Right from the first day of the classes, my classmates have encouraged me to sing at every possible occasion. It is due to this reason that I have never missed an opportunity to perform; be it the Youth Fest, Freshers, farewell or flash mobs at the Student Centre.
Moreover, in my first year, I joined an organization called ‘Rotaract Club Of Chandigarh Himalayan’ which gave me an apt platform to explore my passion even more, to network with different talented individuals of the tricity and collaborate with them to perform or act in different places of the tricity.
Q) What makes you tick? What inspired you to pursue singing?
Right from my school days, I have been exposed to so many opportunities performing and participating in different competitions all over India. Having grabbed just any opportunity that came my way, performing on stage became my absolute passion.
It triggered when in class 11, I was given an opportunity by my music teacher to perform a song with members of the Swastik Band. While in college, I met a friend Ishraj, who was absolutely passionate about music production. We paired up and decided to start making music videos together. I started by own channel and we started by recreating traditional songs of Surinder Kaur, who is also my favorite artist. That’s how I released my first cover called Jutti Kasuri, which got plenty of appreciation on social media. And thus, started my musical journey with an eye on taking out my own original single track someday.
Q) And you did fulfill your dream by releasing your debut single ‘Khaab’ very recently. Tell us about the track and how you feel about it.
KHAAB, as the name to suggests, is my dream debut project. Working and planning for the song was one rollercoaster ride. I have been lucky to work with very talented people on this project. The music of the song was given by Mukhtar Sahota and the video was directed by Pradeep Khanvilkar. The song has been released under my sister Shavin Rekhi’s banner ‘Shavin Entertainment’.
I feel absolutely elated to bring this song to the audience. Lots of effort went into its making and I am thankful for such a wonderful response to the song. It is amazing to see big artists of the Punjabi Industry sharing the song on their social media handles.
Q) Take us through your artistic process.
From 2 years, I have been consistent with my morning Riaz practice on the harmonium. Over the years in the university, I have been constantly jamming with different people on the guitar. So, I am usually humming songs all day. From the past few months I have picked up the guitar and started to learn the instrument myself.
As far as the video is concerned, I have been closely involved in the planning of the song since day one. From lengthy discussions with the music director for the vocal composition to brainstorming the concept/story of the song with the director to planning the apt promotional strategy. I’ve been pretty proactive.
Q) What are your future goals regarding your budding career in music?
I am planning my next single track, which shall be of a different genre than my current track. I plan to start taking up live shows as and when I find a worthy opportunity. I also wish to explore different music styles and collaborate with more talented people in the future.
Q) What was one of the lowest points in your career and what made you go on nonetheless?
Have you heard of the Murphy’s Law?
Well, it states,“whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and usually at the worst time.”
I recorded the audio of my debut song in December 2017. There were times, when there were inordinate delays in the project. Such were circumstances and the people you deal with that can suck the patience out of you. I was frustrated and I felt like dropping the project because everything just took so long. But it was my family’s support, my friend’s constant reminder of my potential and the will to make it big one day that kept me going. It tested my patience in many different ways but I learned so much through the entire process!
Believe in the power of ‘networking’. Meet, collaborate and showcase your talent to as many people as you can. You never know what can click for you! University life has so much to offer than just the course material. Keep pushing harder each day but be patient enough to wait for the right moment.
Having said that, take a deep breath and relax. It’s all going to work out in the end.
About the Author:
Bhavika is a typical and proud Delhite in Chandigarh who is outspoken about her opinions and beliefs. She is a passionate dog lover and can’t, for heaven’s sake, decide if she loves coffee more or tea. As someone who can’t say no to new opportunities, she loves to meet new people and takes on ever new task as a new adventure. She likes to vent out through poetry too.