Manasi Scott’s rise to fame is almost as unconventional as they come. The daughter of a surgeon father in the Indian army and a doctor mother, her childhood was spent travelling the length and breadth of India to wherever her father was needed. Both parents were also keen musicians in their spare time and always encouraged Manasi to perform.
Manasi’s first public performance was at school at the age of 12 supported by her dad on the drums. Following that came her time with band Dark Water Fixation, spots in professional theatre shows and bookings as a MC throughout school until she went to college. Soon after her graduation Manasi got married to former model Greg Scott. After a stint as a RJ, an assistant film director and a brief period in the Indian Air Force, Greg - now a fashion executive - persuaded Manasi to finally follow her dream and go into singing professionally.
Seven years have passed since then, during which she released two albums in Australia, sang for Telugu films including Okkadu Chaalu and Goppinti Alludu and brought out an Indi-pop album in her home country. Manasi is now performing on Sanjay Gupta’s Acid Factory and spoke to us about her journey.
It’s a dream come true! I have always wanted my first appearance on the big screen to be for a song that I have composed, written and performed. I have achieved that and I pray there will be many more similar opportunities.
Talk us through those years of trying to make it in the industry.
I was hosting and singing in shows, doing theatre on and off throughout college. I got married just out of college and with my husband being part of Corporate Comunications for Provogue, I had easy access to the fashion fraternity. Hemant Trevedi offered me Femina Chrysalis in 2001. This was his comeback show after his horrific accident. Perhaps because of the media interest that show generated as well as my performance I got a lot of coverage and the shows kicked off. Even before we released my debut album in 2005, I was about 1000+ shows down, across the world and I was blessed. When we produced my first album ourselves, it finally hit me that I was happy in the business of making music.
What was it that prompted your husband to encourage you to follow singing professionally?
It was a performance in a karaoke bar that did it. Greg said I must give my dream a shot and not live in regret without even trying. My parents always pushed me to do as many extra-curricular activities as possible in school. My family support has kept me grounded, and allowed me to fight through the lows.
What has been your most exciting career experience to date?
It was performing to a crowd of 20,000 female fans in Rajasthan, all of whom sang my debut Hindi song, Naach le, with me at the top of their voices. It was humbling and invigorating all at once!
Is being famous important to you?
Fame has been elusive. I still haven’t got the recognition I want but I do believe in destiny and God’s plan for me and I leave it to him. When I get famous I will look to my family again to keep me grounded and humble, as therein lies the secret to being famous forever.
Do you always want to focus on singing or would you also like to get into other forms of entertainment?
For me it’s not only about singing or making music, it’s about performing. This word encompasses singing, acting, dancing, modelling and so much more. I do everything that excites me and is in keeping with my ultimate goal.
For people that haven’t heard it, can you describe your genre of music?
Dance inspires me. It’s music that can tell a story and touch people. I don’t believe in genres. I compose rock, pop, RnB, hip-hop and jazz but for me it comes more from an idea of a tune and lyrics and then I let the song take its own course. But the one thing constant is electronic experimentation. I love the electronica sounds of the 80s and how they have evolved to this day and that is the underlying constant in all my music.
Who are your influences?
Right now they are, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Shafkat Amanat Ali, Daft Punk, Beyonce, Akon, J Lo, Rihanna, Rob Thomas, Ne-yo, Justin Timberlake, Cher and so many more. Some for their music, some for their arrangements, some for their presentation and some for the whole package!
Is there anyone you would love to work with in the entertainment world?
In India I would like to sing with Sonu Nigam and Rehman as I believe they are geniuses and I would be blessed to perform with or for them. I would like to perform for Salim-Suleiman, Vishal-Shekar and Shankar Ehsan Loy because they broke the mould of a female playback singer and have given Indian film music so much character. I would also like to sing for Vishal Bharadwaj, for his brilliant ideas and their translation onto film. Internationally it would be great to record with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, “Mutt” Lange and Bruce Swedien, because as producers they bring so much brilliance to the table that you can learn from - they don’t compromise and always deliver hits.
Do you have a specific message with your songs?
What is your perfect day like?
My perfect day would be shopping to my heart’s content, or holidaying in an exotic place, or watching back to back movies…all with great food in between!
What have you got coming up? Would you like to perform over in Dubai?
I’m shooting a film in London. My song in Acid Factory will release soon. After this I get to work on my album release. I’ve done many shows in Dubai. My first international holiday with my husband was to Dubai. My favourite restaurant experience was at the Burj Al Arab. I love shopping in Dubai, second only to London. I love Dubai and would love to come perform there again.
Heart Space by Canadian-Korean artist Krista Kim will debut during the 17th edition of Art Dubai