Priyanka Chopra On Music, Movies and more! – Exclusive Interview

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14may_priinterview-01Priyanka Chopra’s singing career is taking the world by storm: the actress-turned-singer recently released her third single, and it is on its way to being a super hit! Hitting high on the iTunes charts, the video has already hit 2 million views on YouTube and counting. An EDM (electronic dance music) flavored track, Priyanka belts her cover of the Bonnie Raitt classic ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ with passion, power and feeling in every note. Add in the cool video with Milo Ventimiglia and it just keeps getting better.

As we told you at a recent event at the Blue Frog, Priyanka released her song and video in Mumbai. She also revealed her cool association with Nokia MixRadio and what they have in store! Not only that, the actress sang live…but more on that in a moment.

Despite just coming back from the US and the special song release event, Priyanka took time out to sit and answer some questions. Check out what she had to say in this cool in-depth interview about her music, including, of course, the new song and video, her partnership and the playlists to come with Nokia MixRadio, Mary Kom and so much more!

What made you want to make the leap and work on and release your music?
I’m always looking for ways to push my creative boundaries. When this opportunity came about from Anjula Acharia Bath (my management) and Jimmy Iovine (CEO/Chairman Interscope Records) I was so intrigued by their musical vision for me and knew it was something that I wanted to give a try. When I stepped into the recording studio for the first time, I instantly realized that this was something I was meant to do.

Were you nervous to make this happen?
Very nervous. Still am.

How did it feel for you to get that great response from your fans for your first two songs ‘In My City’ and ‘Exotic’? Not only Hindi films fans but creating new fans with your music in the US and the world.
The love that I have received from fans, old and new, has been so amazing. You’d think I’d be a pro at putting my work and myself out to the world, and I am, but when it comes to my music I’m very protective. I’m so honored to be able to make music that people love.

14may_priinterview-02Now your third single just dropped and you once said Bonnie Raitt is one of the reasons you sing, can you explain that?
Actually, what I had said was that this particular song by Bonnie Raitt is one of the reasons I wanted to become a musician. When I was growing up, this song had such an impact on my life and really helped get me through many troubled times. It just seemed appropriate to share it with the world, especially the new generation who may not have experienced the original version of this amazing song.

The song is brilliant, was it harder to sing this one, it being more a ballad, even though you put an EDM spin to it?
Thank you so much. Yes, it was definitely a harder song to sing but I am really happy that you think I have done justice to such a classic. I really believe that this song naturally lends itself to the EDM space and I think it’s a great way to introduce a new generation to its amazingness.

You put so much emotion into every note, what did this song bring out of you as a singer?
The actor in me really helped me channel the emotions of the lyrics. I felt every word I sang, whether it was in the studio or in the video. It was a very cathartic and empowering experience.

About the song, you tweeted “My labour of love”. What did you mean?
So much went into creating this song – from recording it, to shooting the music video, and rolling out the track I have been actively involved in the process every step of the way. Everything about this track comes straight from my heart, and I just wanted to share the sense of liberation I feel every time I hear or sing this song.

Then, of course there is the fabulous video. What inspired the story of the video?
Thank you so much. I approached this video like a mini movie, with every scene broken down into moments of a relationship, down to the minutest detail.  I wanted to tell a story about the fact that 2 good people who were in love don’t necessarily end up together, and that it’s ok to have a sense of self and find a way to move on.

Your talent as an actress certainly shown through in that video, how did you get yourself into the place to create those scenes, especially the dark ones?
I really think everyone has a dormant dark side within him or her that’s activated when the moment or emotion is right. As an actor, the first thing that I learned was to be true to the emotion of what I’m trying to portray, in this case it was in what I was trying to sing. I just bared my soul to the lyrics.

14may_priinterview-03Do you think your acting helps your singing?
Definitely, because I can feel the rawness of the lyrics I sing and I try to emote that with the sound of my voice. It helps me understand the emotions that I am trying to convey. In my head, I convert them into scenes that I can enact, visualizing the story and the emotions behind it.

How was it work with Heroes and Gilmore Girls hottie Milo Ventimiglia in the video?
Milo was amazing. He’s an exceptionally talented actor and I’m really happy that he is a part of this special song with me. The directors of the video [Jon and Jeff] and I were very clear that we needed someone who could not only look a certain way but also be able to portray the emotions required for this video.  Milo is kind of like the “bad boy you want to take home to meet the parents” and was the perfect choice for us all! He was super cool to work with… fun, easy, involved and so talented.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more!

Love the scenes with Holi, I loved the contrast of the colors of those scenes and the happiness it showed compared to the darkness of the rest of the colors of the video. What made you want to include that in the video?
Well, what you said is pretty much why I wanted to do it. I wanted the happy parts of the video to be vibrant and colourful, as love should be. Holi is my favorite festival and I wanted to introduce the world to some of the fun stuff we do back home.

Were you nervous before this song dropped?
Extremely! I hoped that people would like my version of this classic and I am really grateful that it has been met with such a great response.

The song is getting amazing play, fans are loving it not only in India but everywhere and it is getting great notice. Every major magazine in the US is doing a story on it and loving it. The video has over 1.9 million hits on YouTube already. How does that feel?
Relief hahahahaha! But more than that I am very grateful. Thank you for all the love and I hope the song continues to grow and people enjoy it, as I meant for it to be.

Not taking away from your first two tracks, but it must mean a lot that this being your first solo song that it is getting such a killer response.
Absolutely. It’s encouraged me tremendously to be the musician that I want to be and it makes me want to wake up in the morning and do a little victory dance. I hope I can deliver music that the world can enjoy many times over.

Tell us about your association with Nokia MixRadio.
People today want everything at their fingertips. Instant gratification is what pop culture is right now, and music streaming is the best way of doing that. Platforms like Nokia MixRadio make it do much easier to go on the discovery of finding new music, and that the best way of figuring out what artists and music you like. You have to go on that journey yourself, and Nokia MixRadio helps you do that for you in such a big way because it showcases new artists from around the world.

14may_priinterview-04We used to have mixtapes, and now we have playlists. What I’m doing with Nokia MixRadio is making a mixtape of my favourite songs that I would want people to know me by, because when you hear someone’s playlist, it tells you so much about them as people. So this is going to be my way of having my fans discover a little bit more about me. It will be like they’re listening to my personal radio station!

What would you put on your Nokia MixRadio playlist?
I’m making a number of playlists that show all the different sides to me. The most important thing is that they will each include people who inspire me, that I listen to myself and that I want my fans to know and love as much as I do.

The song is releasing in the UK as well for the first time, do you have a message to your fans there about your music?
For all of those who do know me in the UK, this is my “labor of love” and I truly hope you enjoy it. And for all of those who don’t know me yet, I hope that this is the start of a great relationship.

How do you do this all, working in India, shooting films and promoting them, creating and recording your music and videos in the US and then promoting them?
Well it takes a lot of strength, stamina, energy and a kick-ass team, which I am lucky to have! My drive has always been my fans and the people who continue to support me unconditionally, they give me reason to push myself to do more and more.

You performed in Mumbai on Monday night, how does it feel to do a live performance of your music?
Since this was my first performance, I was very nervous and extremely scared. In my nerves I also almost dropped the mike! It’s funny now but it definitely wasn’t on the day! (Laughs) I was glad to have my family there to support me and we all took a moment to think about how it would have been if my dad was there because this was his dream for me, to see me perform my music live but he never got the chance and I missed him so much. I would like to believe that I made him proud.

14may_priinterview-05Coming to Hindi films, can you tell us about training and shooting for Mary Kom? Then you also have Zoya Akhtar’s film coming up, can you give us any scoop on that?
Mary Kom is an incredible story of passion, perseverance and courage. This film has been a huge challenge for me as an actor. I feel like I am training to qualify for our Olympic team! While I was expecting the physical training to be challenging (and supremely exhausting), I find the getting into the mind and emotions of Mary Kom such an amazing challenge. It’s a great project to be involved in and I am honored that the filmmakers chose me to lead the charge. I truly believe that Mary’s story is a story of every woman in India today. It is about somebody who will not be confined to limits, someone who believes in breaking barriers. It is the story of every woman who wants to break the shackles of being ordinary and strive to achieve the extraordinary.

I begin the shoot for Zoya’s film in just about a week’s time from now. We start with a big outdoor schedule in the Mediterranean, which promises to be fun. All I can say about this one for now is that it will be a spectacular entertainer.

What else is coming from Priyanka Chopra the singer? When does your full album drop?
Lots more I hope, and hopefully for a while to come! In the meanwhile, my album should drop sometime towards the end of this year.

A shoutout to all your fans of both music and movies?
Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to be who am I am and I definitely would not be able to do all that I do. So thank you!

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