British-born Hindi singer Avina Shah from London, has been making headlines in the UK Asian Music scene since her debut with ‘Tere Bina’, which supported the fight against domestic violence and touched many hearts.
Having taken intense voice culture and classical vocal training in India, Avina carries the charm of captivating the crowds with her infectious stage presence and angelic voice. Her speciality is delivering bollywood hits and has performed in various locations within the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and Middle East.
Asian Express catches up with Avina as she prepares to dazzle audiences at the Asian Express ‘Year End Bash’ on 27th December, Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford.
Q. Tell us about what you've been doing over the last year.
A. 2013 has certainly been a very hectic year. I released my latest single ‘Aao Na’ in August and earlier in the year shot the video for it in a stunning beach called El Matador in Malibu (LA), where many music videos have been shot by some of my favourite artists like Beyonce, Mariah Carey, etc. The live performances have been very busy this year – across the UK, Europe, Thailand and the US. This year I have continued my charity work supporting women’s empowerment and also recently got involved with Sewa Day, which involved spending quality time at a Midlands based care home.
Q. What genre of music do you enjoy listening to the most?
A. I’ve been exposed to so many different genres of music throughout my life. As a child, I used to listen to all the old classic songs by Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi – they were always my favourite. Apart from that, I’ve grown up listening to Pop, RnB, Bollywood, Classical music and I’d like to take an element of all these different styles into the music that I release.
Q. When did you begin your singing career?
A. I actually started out as a dancer before I decided to pursue singing… my first stage performance was when I was only three-years-old! I've been singing professionally since I was 16 and have been able to get lots of experience performing all over the world.
Q. Biggest opportunity to date with your singing career?
A. I was invited to perform at Manish Malhotra’s first fashion launch in London earlier this year and other events in the presence of high profile personalities such as Shahrukh Khan, Arjun Rampal, Jaya Bachchan, Laxmi Mittal and other dignitaries. The Royal Family of Oman also invited me to sing in a huge open-air concert in Muscat, which was such a memorable and exciting moment. Now my most recent performance at a Global Afghan Awards Ceremony in the world’s entertainment capital Las Vegas has certainly made a mark on my singing career!
Q. Favourite drink and favourite food?
A. I certainly am a lover of food and everyone around me tells me I’m a big ‘foody’! Although I love all cuisines across the world, nothing beats a good paneer with naan meal… Indian food will always be my favourite! Favourite drink is a five-a-day fresh juice – it feels good if I know I’m drinking something healthy!
Q. Your favourite bollywood hero of all time and also one currently on the scene?
A. It’s got to be Aamir Khan – his fame is more understated and I respect him thoroughly for the beautiful films he’s created that have an underlying message behind them – such as ‘Tare Zameen Par’ and ‘3 Idiots’. That’s what makes him a true ‘hero’ in my opinion.
Q. Your favourite bollywood heroine of all time and also one currently on the scene?
A. No-one beats Madhuri! She has always been my childhood heroine and I can watch her movies over & over again… her beauty and charisma is simply evergreen.
Q. Best and worst chat up lines that you've had?
A. Being an artist, I admit you do hear a large collection of strange pickup lines – some are hilarious! A recent funny one was amidst a conversation where he pointed to the clothes he was wearing ‘Feel my shirt… that’s boyfriend material!’ (it is certainly cheesy but it made me laugh!).