Amrita Sethi captivates audiences with her remarkable voice and knack for performing Bollywood covers.
By Christy Lau
American jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald once said, “The only thing better than singing is more singing.” This statement certainly rings true for Amrita Sethi, as her eﬀortlessly executed vocals were made to impress. Born and raised in Phuket, Amrita grew up in a family of songbirds, so it came as no surprise to learn that she has been singing since she was only six years old.
Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine at Mahidol University, this dynamic young lady balances both her studies and passion proﬁ ciently. For her music, she uses YouTube as a platform to share her personal journey. The latest upload, a cover of Bollywood’s popular song “Humsafar” from Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), has over 26,000 views. Amrita is also slowly making a name for herself in the community by performing for prominent events around the city.
Masala meets this talented rising star who is sure to win hearts with her musical prowess.
Tell us about your background and what inspired you to start singing.
To be honest, I have been singing my whole life. My entire family loves to sing, including my parents, aunt and siblings, but the person that inspired me most was my grandfather. He really desired to be a vocalist, but at that time, it really wasn’t a profession to pursue. His voice is amazing, and we have been singing duets together ever since I was six years old.
How supportive are the rest of your family?
They have always been very supportive. Whenever there is an event, even if it is just a small family get-together, they will always encourage me to perform. Recently, I sang for my sister’s engagement. So now it is kind of an expectation from everyone.
I also always perform with my brother, who accompanies me with his guitar. He inspires me a lot and gives me tips. He even composes his own songs.
How did you strengthen your vocal skills? Did you take any classes?
I actually never took professional lessons. It was mainly practice and time that got me to where I am right now. I think it is a talent that just runs in the family. None of us have ever taken any classes.
Why did you decide to launch your own eponymous YouTube channel?
Bangkok does not oﬀer much for Hindi music, meaning there aren’t any reality shows or performances I could partake in. So YouTube was the only way to create a fanbase and reach out to them. I started making videos around 2012, by recording on Garageband. I used abstract pictures for the covers and people really enjoyed it. So I took it a step further by going to a local recording studio in Phuket to shoot a cover video.
Are there any challenges involved in making these videos?
It’s the time it takes to come up with a concept, practice for it and then actually ﬁlm it.
Who are your singing idols?
Shreya Ghoshal was my idol since childhood because she began her career from reality shows and has since developed one of the most beautiful voices in the industry. I also look up to A. R. Rahman, the legendary music director and singer who has won many awards. His compositions and songs are extremely unique and meaningful. Finally, I love Jonita Gandhi, who I have been following ever since she launched her own YouTube channel. It was wonderful to see how she established a name for herself by performing in shows and concerts with legends such as A.R. Rahman himself.
You are currently studying medicine. Why didn’t you decide to pursue singing professionally instead?
If you ask me, I would obviously say I want to be a singer, but nowadays, you need to have another secure job or degree. So I am just playing it safe. Of course, I don’t want to lose focus from my studies, so I am taking it really slow. After I complete my course, I plan on concentrating on my singing again to see where it takes me.
How do you balance the two?
That is a challenge because medicine is not an easy course. I am currently a ﬁrst year student, so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming yet. When I come home from university, I allocate a few hours to practicing singing. I also spend time with my family watching a lot of reality shows. It is a part of our daily routine.
What are some vocal exercises you do to improve your skills?
I focus on my weak points. I do a lot of riyaz, where I focus on my lower notes. I also build my range by practicing to sustain a diﬃ cult note for as long as I can.
How do you choose which songs you want to cover?
I pick based on the lyrics and composition, as I prefer songs that are meaningful and require skilful execution.
Do you plan to write original songs?
I can see myself doing that in the future, possibly with my brother. I’ll handle the lyrics and he’ll compose the songs.
What do you love most about singing?
The sense of peace it gives me. When I’m stressed out, I’ll ﬁnd some time during my day to practice. Because when I sing, I’m in my own world and I forget about all my worries. I don’t even bother about what’s going on around me.
Have you ever performed professionally?
Yes! I auditioned for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs when I was about 14 years old. I was actually selected as the top ﬁ ve, but at that time, I was still studying so I couldn’t go to India to pursue it further. Also I was recently in Bangkok’s version of the popular musical game show Antakshari, which will air in the following months on Zee TV Asia Paciﬁc.
What lessons did you learn from performing live?
I learnt not to let the words or actions of other participants aﬀect my presence on stage in a negative way. I only focus on doing my best. What keeps you motivated every day? My grandfather obviously! And of course, the rest of my family. They are always asking me about my next song release. I also get messages from people requesting songs, and it makes me really happy to know that people actually want to listen to me.
What is your favourite song to sing?
I don’t really have one favourite. Surprisingly, I love romantic Bollywood music, particularly the older ones.
What are your future aspirations?
I want to someday sing with my idols. As for my current goals, I want to post more videos more regularly.
Follow her musical journey online at: