If you're being hated, you have achieved something, says Kumar Sanu's daughter Shannon
Shannon K, who has penned a song based on her experience of being bullied, on the advice she got from father Kumar Sanu
Shannon, you've spoken about being bullied to the point of wanting to give up a career in music. Did you discuss that with your father?
Shannon: During the time I faced depression, I thought making a career as a singer was a mistake. I felt I may have disappointed my father, because I lacked talent. Dad and I spoke about this for hours. He told me to keep working on my music. He said that if I was being hated, it implied I may have achieved something.
Kumar: It's tougher to make your own place in the industry when your parent is a [prominent] figure, because comparisons are inevitable. People say star-kids don't have talent, but they forget the struggle that the celebrity [parent] had endured [to become famous]. People think star-kids should be famous from day one, which is impossible, no matter how talented one is. It may seem easy to be the child of a famous parent, but unlike for a regular person, s/he doesn't get enough time to grow.
Shannon, there has been news about how you inflicted pain on yourself when enduring depression. How did you find the strength to fight and continue?
Shannon: It was hard for me to get back on my feet and continue to battle. I indulged in self-harm and simply wanted to be in hiding. I was in a dark place, one that felt like several years. Fortunately, my parents saved me from falling into a black hole. I wanted to write this song to help teenagers, and tell them how a single negative comment can ruin someone's life. It didn't matter who my dad was, I got bullied nonetheless.
Why was Sonu Nigam your first choice when searching for a collaborator?
Shannon: I've listened to his songs since childhood. He has always been my favourite. Dad too would shower praise on him, pointing out how versatile he is. Dad did not know that he was recording [for this song], because it happened when [Nigam] came to Los Angeles on a personal visit. I sent him the song, he loved it, and came on board.
It is said that Mr Sanu doesn't interfere with his daughter's career? Was that a decision you two mutually arrived at?
Kumar: [It's true that] I didn't help her with anything apart from financial support. In the future, I don't want anyone to tell my kids that they became famous because of their father. For me, it's important that she completes her education first. Then she can focus on her career. Shannon can never achieve what I have in Bollywood. Even if she [works in] Bollywood, she'll barely be able to sing 100 songs in five years, because the competition is that much. If she wants to make a career in India, I won't stop her, but I won't support her either. Right now, she is handling her career independently, and if she seeks advice, I'm always there. This is also [my equation] with my son, Jaan, who is also trying to make his place in the industry.
Shannon: Dad always says I should fight my own battles so that I can learn to stand up after falling. I have never forced him to help me. He had even denied a request to have me sing with him at a concert since he said I needed to be [better prepared] for the stage. But, he does everything a father could do, and I'm thankful for that since I don't need to worry about my bread and butter.
What aspects of your father's singing abilities appeals to you?
Shannon: I have been inspired by how he emotes. When singing, I try to be expressive, like he is. That is how his simplest renditions become soulful. Yet, we differ in one aspect. He believes, one should only sing melodious songs that involve no shouting, and I think I should try all types of genres.
What are your aspirations as a musician?
Shannon: I hope people can be inspired by my journey. I want to earn the love and blessings. I want to show those who hated me that I've achieved what I have, while they sat behind computer screens wasting their time writing vile comments. Also, I want to build a home for abandoned and orphaned children, like me (Shannon is adopted).
Kumar: Shannon has the calibre to take after me and I pray she gets the right support, like I did when I was new to the industry. If she becomes a remarkable singer in Hollywood, I would be proud. Even if she can't, I'll still be proud of her decisions. She is a child, and may even choose to switch profession after college. I want her to only follow a few rules: Listen to your heart, don't do anything wrong, and don't take short cuts. She must remember, you cannot get more luck than [is destined] or get it before the time is right.
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