Sunidhi Nayak’s musical journey
By Ayman Anika
Sunidhi Nayak, a name that needs no introduction, has captured the hearts of music enthusiasts both in India and Bangladesh with her mesmerizing voice and performances. Her musical journey is a symphony of passion, dedication, and boundless talent.
Sunidhi spent her early years in Santiniketan and developed a deep affinity for Hindustani classical music. However, fate steered her towards Rabindra Sangeet, causing her passion for classical music to take a back seat. Then, everything changed when “Shondhatara” entered the picture – her mesmerizing voice and musical collaboration with Arnob left the audience spellbound.
While her musical endeavors are well-known, Sunidhi agreed to share the stories behind her musical career and the melodies that nurtured her love for music over a quick call with MWB.
You have completed your Master’s degree in Music from Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan. Can you tell us about your musical journey and how you developed a love for Rabindra Sangeet?
Since my childhood, I have been practising Hindustani classical music and my mother has been my first teacher – she taught me how to sing. For a very long time, I learned and practiced classical music at Shrutinandan in Kolkata.
My father has been an ardent admirer of Rabindra Sangeet. So, after my Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam, I applied to Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, and luckily, I got the chance to study there. The environment of Shantiniketan captivated me – it is such a beautiful place that fills your heart with peace.
I fell in love with Rabindra Sangeet after going there to study. The books on Tagore, the letters written by him and his songs – everything made me love and respect him as the days went by – and I still read them when I have time. Nevertheless, I practice classical music routinely as I believe that it is sort of a grammar for musicians.
‘Shondhatara’ has been such a mesmerizing song and your chemistry with Arnob was quite evident. What is the story behind this amazing collaboration?
My guruji taught me Raag Yaman “Main Waari Waari Janugi” when I was young. In 2019, I made the decision to record this song while I was with a friend in Goa. We were basically jamming this song and I made the sudden decision to publish it because the recording was really good.
However, I faced the challenge of making this Bandish accessible to a wider audience. Together, we came up with the idea of translating the song from Hindi to Bangla and fortunately, Arnob introduced the song “Bela Haray,” which was incorporated into my composition. Finally, we pitched the completed song to Coke Studio and they loved it!
The set design of ‘Shondhatara’ was very unique. Is there any interesting story behind it?
As you can see, there are two distinct rooms: mine is well-arranged and features a floral motif, while Arnob’s room is untidy and contains only a lamp and a guitar. I take pleasure in listening to Rabindra Sangeet and classical music, but I also enjoy creating dance videos. On the other hand, Arnob, who favors pop music, has little interest in dancing or making videos.
The director took our interviews before designing the set. So, the set design reflects our personality – how we are in our real life.
Apart from Rabindra Sangeet, what are your favorite genres to sing, and do you have a favorite song that holds a special place in your heart?
Apart from Rabindra Sangeet and Bangla songs, I love singing thumris and ghazals. Also, I used my songs with jazz and blues to make a fusion. However, if I have to name one genre, it would definitely be jazz.
Both you and Arnob are exceedingly accomplished singers. How do you support and inspire each other in your respective musical careers?
We have been together for five years now. We have our differences and time and again, our ideas clash. But we support each other through thick and thin.
When we first met, our musical exchange was very interesting. Arnob and I had different skills – I knew all the grammar of music as I grew up singing songs and practicing music, but Arnob didn’t. So, I gave lessons about vocal training.
In contrast, I didn’t know much about music production, but Arnob taught me this! So, this is how we have been inspiring and supporting each other.
Who do look up to in your personal life?
My mother. She died about three years ago, but I still remember the lessons she taught me. She is my role model and I miss her a lot.
What is your favorite food?
In a word, mutton! I love mutton and I would eat it wholeheartedly.
So, do you prefer Bangladeshi mutton or Kolkata’s?
I prefer Kolkata’s mutton because the meat there is good and it tastes better than the one we eat in Bangladesh.
Who is your favorite writer?
I am an avid reader and love reading books by Satyajit Ray.
Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that you are working on?
I am working on an original solo album, which is due to be released soon. And if there are any upcoming projects, I will certainly let everyone know.
Fashion Direction & Styling: Mahmudul Hasan Mukul
Photographer: Adnan Rahman