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Meet Ishmeet Singh, a talented young man from Ludhiana, Punjab, who gave up his studies, went against his parent's wishes and took a huge risk to follow his dreams.
And lucky for Ishmeet, the risk paid off. From thousands and thousands of hopeful singers, Ishmeet stands apart as one of the two finalists of the television reality show, Star's Voice of India.
Barely two days away from the grand finale, Ishmeet spends most of his time in riaaz. But he took some time out to speak to us about about his journey so far.
Tell us about yourself.
I come from a simple middle class background. There's my mother, dad and my elder sister, Sumeet.
Everyone sings in my family. My dad is a great singer, so are my chachaji and his children. So I have been singing from very young. But it was in my ninth class that I really got into singing Hindi songs.
When did you realise that singing was your passion?
In my ninth class, every student was asked to sing a song. When I sang, my teacher, Jagdeet Kaur, told me that I have a very good voice. She told me that I would go very far because of my singing.
Are you a trained singer?
I've had basic training. I've learned a lot from my dad. I learned singing Hindi songs from him.
How did you enter VOI? Tell us about your auditions.
I saw it on television. I learnt that they were holding auditions for the new season of Voice of India and I wanted to try out for it. But my family was against it. They wanted me to complete my studies. I couldn't do both, as my studies take up all my time. So I had to reason with my mother to let me at least go for the audition. She told me that even if I was selected, I couldn't continue because my studies were very important.
I auditioned in Delhi and was selected. From thousands of hopefuls, only 39 were selected. Then it was down to 33 and finally 12. But still my mother was asking me to give it up and return home.
I requested her to just let me try, dekhte hain kaha tak pahuch sakhta hoon (see how far I could go). In the end, my relatives had to intervene and convince my parents.
Now that you've reached the finals, you're already a big star. What do they feel now?
They're very proud of me. So is everybody else. I have made a name for myself and my family. Because of this show and what I've achieved, we have moved up from a simple middle class life to a very respectable standard. The kind of people I'm meeting, and the life I'm leading right now is only because of this show.
What is the source of inspiration for your music?
Initially, it was just my dad. He taught me everything. Then I started following Mohammad Rafiji. I'm big fan of Shaan and Sonu Nigam [Images]; I follow their singing very closely.
Do you get nervous before every performance? Do you have any ritual that you do to calm yourself down?
Earlier, I would get very nervous. But now, I have got used to performing in front of an audience. But no matter what, before every performance, I chant Wahe Guru on my Simone Mala; it's the beaded mala that I always wear on my wrist.
What is the hardest part about this competition?
Singing is the easy part. Impressing the audience is difficult. In the end, it all comes down to them.
What has been the most memorable moment for you up till now?
Every moment, every day has been memorable. Since the day this experience has started, every moment has been so special. It has changed my life, and for the better.
There are eliminations in every round. Was there a point when you thought, 'I'm next to go'?
Oh yes, every time! You can do your best, put everything into your performance, but after that, it's no longer in your hands. It's up to the audience and their votes.
You're up against Harshit in the finals. What is your take on him?
Harshit is very talented. Bahoot achcha gata hain (he sings very well). You know, we both have come so far. Coming so far in the competition is a great achievement in itself. It doesn't matter who is voted the final winner. If one wins and the other is voted second, it doesn't mean he is the loser. We've come so far -- there's nothing to lose anymore. We are both winners.
Is singing something you want to do for the rest of your life?
I will go back to studies first. It's what my parents want from me. But yes, I also want to continue singing. People know me because of my voice. I have made a name because of my singing so I don't think I'm going to give it up.
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