• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Arts and Culture

Mannat Noor: Small town dreams to stardom

Mannat Noor

By: Asjad Nazir

SINGING sensation Mannat Noor shot to fame globally when her song Laung Laachi became the first commercial Indian music video to cross one billion views on YouTube in 2019.

However, the silken-voiced talent isn’t defined by the super hit track alone and has delivered marvellous music releases across a range of genres, which has delighted fans of all ages. By balancing popular film songs with successful standalone single releases, she has made herself a formidable musical force.

Eastern Eye caught up with the singing star to discuss her journey, music, record-breaking song, recent release and more.

What first connected you to music?

I was fond of singing from the beginning. I belong to Jammu (in north India), and the culture there is very different compared to Chandigarh (shared capital city of Punjab and Haryana in north India). I had no musical background as such. After shifting to Chandigarh, I adopted the culture, and meeting people also helped my musical journey.

You mentioned not having a formal music background, but what sparked your passion for singing?

Everyone in my family is blessed with a beautiful voice. I never got a chance to train myself in music. The place I belong to is a mountain area, and we didn’t have access to television or proper electricity, so the radio was the only medium of entertainment. My family loved to hear the radio, and we all used to sing our favourite songs all the time, and just like that, I got myself more and more involved in music. So, thanks to the radio for generating the interest.

How do you look back on your musical journey?

It’s been a beautiful journey so far. Everyone asks me about my struggles, but it was all part of the journey. I believe in destiny and never thought that I would even see television stars in person, forget about meeting them. I did a lot of hard work to be where I am today. I started doing one thing at a time and kept getting more and more work slowly. With each work, I worked harder for the next project.

Poster for her song Mera Raj

How did you feel when Laung Laachi crossed a billion views?

It was completely unexpected. I never imagined it could ever happen.

Everyone wants their music to be a hit, and for people to listen to their songs.

I dreamed for the same, but that it would become such an iconic hit was never in my thoughts. I’ve done many more songs after that, but none can take the place of Laung Laachi. I feel so blessed that it happened to me.

That song could have gone to anyone, but my destiny brought it to me.

The song has become one of the biggest hits to emerge from India…

People often ask me, what is your dream? I was new to the industry and always wanted to be a playback singer.

I wanted to sing for Punjabi cinema and Bollywood movies. Then they often asked whom would you like to sing for? And I used to say (actress) Neeru Bajwa, and my dream came true when she was featured in Laung Laachi. I believe that I manifested this for myself.

Which of your songs apart from Laung Laachi is special to you?

I have sung approximately 200 songs, mostly for films, and many are my top picks. Kinna Pyaar from the movie Harjeeta is very close to my heart. That song is evergreen and keeps trending from time to time. The other one is Mera Raja, which is my latest release featuring Asim Riaz (in the video) – it is one of my favourite solo songs.

What inspired your latest song?

We were jamming at the studio and finding a new song to make, and that’s when we all heard the scratch of this song.

Gaurav Dev and Kartik Dev, both composers, were present. The song felt difficult to sing. But I was stuck to the vibe and knew that this was going to be the song I would want to sing. The first scratch impressed everyone.

The music video for the song has received a lot of appreciation… It was my first time to get featured in a video. While shooting for the song, the video director made me work hard for 15 days before – I can do bhangra, but video choreography was very new to me.

It looks so easy in the final product, but we put a lot of hard work behind that. I keep listening to that song, and I’m in love with it.

As a singer, can you intuitively sense if a song will become a hit while recording it?

One week prior to Mera Raja releasing, we released another song named Ikko Jehe featuring Sajjan Adeeb. It was a simple song with simple lyrics and music, but it became a huge hit and started to go viral.

We never know what will become a hit; we just give our best and honest effort to every song.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I can only dream of working with Diljit Dosanjh or Guru Randhawa. We never know if it may happen, but I surely wish for it.

What can we expect next from you?

I have a back-to-back line-up of some beautiful songs. My focus is more on singles, but of course, movie songs are also scheduled, but I cannot drop hints just yet. Keep following me to know about them.

How much does live performance mean to you?

Some people ask me if I like studio or live stage, and it’s difficult to answer because the vibe is very different.

The stage and studio are both holy places for me. I get excited and extremely nervous to perform on live stages. The thrill of performing live just fills me with joy.

I like to keep talking and staying distracted before my performance. It eases my stage nervousness.

You have become a musical hero for many, but who is your musical hero?

My inspiration and favourite is Bollywood legend Alka Yagnik. I have listened to her songs on a loop. She still rules my playlist, and the calmness in her voice is just amazing.

What kind of music dominates your playlist?

I listen to a lot of 1990s Bollywood songs; of course, Alka Yagnik is on top of it. I love listening to her songs.

Mannat Noor

If you could master something new in music, what would it be?

I want to master songs that are super relatable to my audience. It should touch the right strings of the heart.

What are your biggest passions away from music?

Music is my life, so everything related to it is my only passion, but after Mera Raja, I feel ‘acting’ has slowly become my next favourite passion. In fact, I debuted in a film called Duji Vaari Pyar and loved working on it.

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?

I learn from my own experiences. One thing I have observed is that I always overshare. I advised myself that, no matter how big my heart is, I will always go to a corner and cry alone, but not in front of anyone because people don’t understand and may misuse the trust. Keeping privacy and not oversharing is the best advice.

Tell us something that not many people know about you.

I have started liking acting. I might do that a little more.

What inspires you?

Great artists like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and Diljit Dosanjh, among many others, inspire me to be as great an artist as they are. I also want to work hard and keep doing better and better.

What do you have to say about Sunidhi Chauhan’s remarkable physical transformation and explosive stage shows?

I keep watching her reels and want to salute her. She is just international level good. Her confidence and body language make her win the audience, and she is such an inspiration for all of us.

Why do you love music?

Without music, my life would have been grey and lifeless.

Music gives meaning to my existence. It’s my driving force.

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