Lakshmi V (BOMBAY TIMES; March 14, 2017)

She burst into the music scene with the chartbuster Baby Doll in 2014, and her career since is already replete with hit numbers. So, it surprises us when Kanika Kapoor says that music didn't take precedence in her life until much later. “I graduated in Business Management from London. My first job was that of a receptionist at a GP clinic in Southall. I then became a practice manager and later helped mom in her NGO. She promoted women who did embroidery work and I helped her by putting together trunk shows. I also founded an event company with my friends. Music was a part of my life only in the garage, where I would put on headphones and sing along with karaoke. Music became my focus after I became single again. Anup Jalota ji was my mentor and he was the one who got me to Mumbai. I'm eternally grateful to him,“ she says.

After a string of hits, she took a break recently from her hectic Bollywood schedule. She says, “I took time off to retrospect. The industry and the audience have given me so much love. But before I would get burned out, I wanted to reflect on my life. I wanted to find out where I stood as an artiste. I have created music I love. And I am super excited for my projects ahead.“ Says Kanika, “I'm putting together a solo world tour. There's an unplugged number, single, concerts and Bollywood songs.“ The songstress adds, “I'm also excited about a Punjabi-French collaboration. Though I don't speak Punjabi, all my hits have Punjabi, all my hits have been in the language.“

Recently, Kanika also signed up to be the face of an international watch brand. “I shot for the campaign with Lewis Hamilton in Geneva and Florence,“ she informs.

For someone who has no industry backing, Kanika has fast become a name to reckon with. “I came here alone and survived alone. During the first two years of my life in Mumbai, I never even stepped out. I was busy with my riyaaz and recordings. I believe only dedication can take you places,“ she says.

So, is there any ruse? “I'm thankful for the break Baby Doll gave me, but it pinches me somewhere when people call me the Baby Doll singer,“ says Kanika and adds, “People find it difficult to believe that I sang Da Da Dasse (Udta Punjab) and Chhil Gaye Naina (NH10). I'm classically trained; I learnt from late Pandit Shri Ganesh Prasad Mishra ji and I feel I will be able to do justice to the teachings only when I bring to the table what he has taught me. I love it when fans tell me that they relate me with good times, fun and happiness. But I want to add more genres to my kitty,“ Kanika asserts.

If music keeps her going, her three kids, Yuvraj, Aayana and Samara, give her the strength to pursue the passion. “They stay in London, and I constantly feel I am missing out on them. It's hard. I've become so involved in my career that I'm not able to spend a lot of time with them. That's why I'd decided to retrospect. I am not a single girl who can wake up one day and become a popstar. I have responsibilities and I am thankful for it. I live with constant guilt, but I try my best. I fly them with me whenever I can. They come to India and have started learning Hindi as well. They should know I am a mother first and rest, later,“ she signs off.