Extremely talented and versatile, Sona Mohapatra has proved herself as an exceptional singer across multiple genres – Folk, Sufi Ana, Rock, Funk, Semi-classical and more. No newcomer to the music industry, she has to her credit several Bollywood hits, apart from her albums, singles and international collaborations.
I feel I was born to take the stage! I love and enjoy the adrenaline rush that a live show brings.”
Having been musically inclined from a young age, Sona gave her first performance at the age of 5. Stage fright is a foreign concept to her. She says, “I feel I was born to take the stage! I love and enjoy the adrenaline rush that a live show brings.” She loves the challenge of performing live, as there is no scope for retakes and the feedback is immediate. This enthusiasm comes across in her shows that are absolutely power-packed!
Passionate about academics as well, Sona pursued her education just as diligently as music. She got a degree in engineering, followed by an MBA and then a job in Mumbai. She would put in the extra effort to keep music alive, even during hectic work trips. “I would start my mornings with my electronic Tanpura while living in hotels to do my riaz. Those were the days when I was juggling everything. While working, I was also singing, meeting new people, understanding how the industry functions. Finding my way around, because surviving in Mumbai is not easy.”
I would start my mornings with my electronic Tanpura while living in hotels to do my riaz. Those were the days when I was juggling everything.”
Putting out good music being her aim, Sona wasn’t particular about being a playback singer. Although she was signed by many labels, due to creative differences she had to part ways. But, things have a way of falling into place at the right time. She says, “Everything has taken it’s time. I finally released my album with Sony. Got a band of my own, things started moving and I decided to quit my job to take on music full-time. Then set up a production house. So many things have happened since then, that it all seems forever ago!”
The year Rangabati was re-invented on Coke Studio was my 10th year as a performing artist. For me it was like writing a love-letter to Orissa. This was the perfect platform for me to express myself as an Odiya.”
It comes as no surprise that Sona has featured on MTV’s Coke Studio multiple times. Sharing her experience, she says, “Piya Se Naina is my favourite performance from Coke Studio. It was the most challenging and complicated song for me to sing live.” A minor glitch during practice sessions had Sona worried, but the actual live performance was flawless. The chance to perform Rangabati (popular folk song from Orissa) was a proud and emotional moment for Sona. “The year it was re-invented on Coke Studio was my 10th year as a performing artist. For me it was like writing a love-letter to Orissa. This was the perfect platform for me to express myself as an Odiya.”
While Sona is also a songwriter, she believes that doing it just for the sake of it is not sensible. “I do write a lot of my material. But I know that I am not the best songwriter in my team. So, it makes no sense that just for the sake of my ego I should write something that is not good enough.”
Driven by artistic expression, Sona enjoys doing things that bring her creative satisfaction even if they are different or unpopular. She is currently working on an interesting project which is going to be quite the surprise. We can’t wait!
Sona is in a league of her own, and so is her advice, which goes against popular opinion, especially in creative circles. She says, “Don’t under value the nine to five job, it will help you in many things.”
Sona Mohapatra is a rare gem. She stuck to her beliefs, even if it meant the journey was longer and more difficult. Stay true to yourself, for nothing can beat originality.