23rd March 2022

Interview with Swati Natekar

The voice behind hit songs like Nadia (with Nitin Sawhney), Khwaab (with Niraj Chag) & Jakatta American Dream (#3 in UK main charts), Swati Natekar is one of the most respected voices of Indian Music in the U.K. She is joining Sampad for a Spring Season Finale of Mid Day Mantra on the 26 March.

Let’s start at the beginning – how was your talent discovered?

I was born and raised in a musical family in a small town called Jabalpur, in Central India. I have been trained by my mother Vidushi Dr. Smt. Sushila Pohankar who herself was a scholar and a well respected Guru. My elder brother who was also trained by my mother is a legendary Classical singer from India. Everyone in our family, including my father, used to sing. So, being constantly surrounded by great music created natural passion about music in me. My talent was first discovered when I was 5, when I could play Tabla and sing my mother’s Classical compositions simultaneously. At that age, I even used to correct my mother’s students for their wrong notes, who were doing Masters in music at that time. However, my first stage performance was at the age of 10. I started my professional music career at 16, when I passed my Radio audition and started regular stage performances. 

Who are your musical inspirations?

First of all, it’s my mother & Guru, as well as my brother Pt. Ajay Pohankar, who have inspired me musically the most. Also my inspirations have been Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Rashid Khan, Lata Mangeshkar and Ustad Mehdi Hassan. 

What would you say the highlight of your career has been?

I would like to mention few, like my Dance track “Jakatta American Dream” being on #3 in U.K. main charts, my track “Nadia” with Nitin Sawhney being adjudged by Mercury Awards judges as the best track of the album ‘Beyond Skin’, as well as my song “Kabhi Unke” being included in Warner Brothers movie ‘The In-Laws’ starring Michael Douglas. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of music?

To be honest, most of the time my life revolves around making music, singing, performing or recording. But in my free time, I like to watch artistic movies or sitting in the nature in the sunshine. 

For Mid-day Mantra, you will be presenting a very special collection of songs celebrating Holi (Indian festival of colours) – how do you celebrate Holi?

Sadly, since we shifted to the U.K. 31 years ago, we could hardly celebrate Holi with colours. But I make sure to cook special sweets to celebrate it with my family. 

Birmingham is lucky to be having an accomplished artist like yourself visit our city, what should audiences expect from your performance at Mid-Day Mantra?

This is the second time I will be performing in Birmingham. So I’m really looking forward to it. For Mid Day Mantra, I have specially selected Holi based songs through various Indian genres like Thumri, Bhajan & Bollywood. Through that, I am hoping to cover wider audience’s interest.

Swati will be performing at Mid Day Mantra on the 25 March. Tickets are free but need to be booked, here