Morung Express News
“Growing up in a society full of friends who wanted to be doctors, engineers and officers, I was always the odd one out. I was never encouraged to take up singing as a profession nor did I know that singing could be a profession too,” says Naga artist Kekhrie Ringa.
Former vocalist of the Gospel rock band, Fireflood, and presently working as a vocal instructor at Music Academy, Kohima, Ringa is also one of the few Broadway trained artists in the State.
Well known in the Nagaland music circle for her versatility, Ringa is best admired for her Broadway prowess- her cover on Kristin Chenoweth's ‘Girl in 14G’ being a testimonial.
Having made her mark on the classical and popular music genre, Ringa discusses about moving to the genre of Electronic Pop where fans can expect some ‘playful styles of singing’ in her music signed under Infinity Inc, a music label based in Dimapur.
For the artist who realised and decided to “sing forever” when she was in the 7th standard, choosing the path of music as a career and profession has not been an easy trajectory.
“I did not wake up hitting a high C, I worked for it,” says Ringa who firmly adheres to discipline, self-control and hard work, and also express the hope that people will realize the hard work artists puts into mastering their art.
“I don't drink cold water unless I'm dying to. I avoid cigarette smoke. I don't take ice creams or anything cold if there is a show approaching. I don’t shout or scream. These may seem simple but putting it to practice on an everyday basis is something else,” asserts the artist.
While it took time for the artist to grow and be surrounded and supported by people with similar dream where she believes that her voice and style of singing has evolved so much through the years, Ringa states, “but one thing hasn't changed ,i.e., I've always remembered and will remember where my voice came from.”
Ringa believes that a true artist is one who is mindful of both one's strengths and weaknesses, and further “works on what she has but stays humble, knows her worth and says no to shortcuts or baits for fame and money and above all, never forgets where her skills came from.”
In her playlist, Melanie Martinez and 1975 are her current choices, however for Ringa, Christina Aguilera remains a constant favorite. I love how bold and outspoken she is. I love the way she carries herself. I love how she, inspite of all the family drama and trauma, emerged as a woman who speaks and sings her mind,” says Ringa.
Besides Aguilera, Ringa listens to almost every genre and is specially inclined towards artists 'who sing about everyday life and things related to it; who aren't afraid to be themselves, and who sing and writes boldly'. “I try to draw inspiration from everyone I meet and that includes animals too. I am writing a song for the love of my life, my dog,” says Ringa.
On the music scene in Nagaland, Ringa believes that music has evolved here- from the government's effort through TAFMA as well as independent initiatives from music schools to record labels.
Although the music scene in Nagaland has grown over the years, Ringa observed that many still have a lot of misgivings and misconceptions. She rues over the struggles of music artists and the 'free-service' attitude expected by many.
“I still don't understand the culture of hiring artists for free. I've sung for charities and I still do. But I am making a living out of it. I get calls from people saying “Would you like to sing for the Lord?” I always sing for the Lord,” expresses Ringa. “Appreciate art and be decent enough to pay because we need food and basic necessities of life just like any other human being.”
As a vocal teacher, Ringa expresses her concern and discusses about the mistakes many budding singers tend to make. Although appreciative of the growth of music schools in the State, Ringa advises that schools and music teachers should be chosen with care. While pursuing music is important, equally important is a professional background check of the school or teacher one is interested in.
“We are a reflection of our teachers. We tend to copy our teachers in a way or another. If you know of a good teacher who lives on top of Mt. Everest, go for it,” says Ringa.
To budding artists, Ringa advises, “Just because there is a song trending on Vh1 or the radio does not mean you have to necessarily sing it. Be careful with song selection. Pick songs that bring out your vocal skills instead of highlighting what you lack. You don't have to hit high notes to be considered a good singer. Filter and master your range.”