Subscription Subscription
Home > Mumbai Guide News > Things To Do News > Article > How Mikey McCleary and Indias new all female band WISH aim to recapture the pop scene

How Mikey McCleary and India's new all-female band W.I.S.H aim to recapture the pop scene

Updated on: 28 February,2024 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shriram Iyengar |

Twenty-two years after Viva spiced up the Indi-pop circuit, Mikey McCleary and W.I.S.H seek to recapture the pop scene with a vibrant collective

How Mikey McCleary and India's new all-female band W.I.S.H aim to recapture the pop scene

(Above, from left) Suchita Shirke, Riya Duggal, Simran Duggal, Zoe Siddharth of the new girl-band W.I.S.H

This writer was still young when 2002 happened. It was the year when Devdas and Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets were released; a year when Avril Lavigne ruled the pop charts overseas. In India, amidst the sea of Adnan Sami, Sonu Nigam and Band of Boys, the first Indian all-female band, Viva emerged. While the group disbanded with the fading of Indi-pop, it left a marker. It’s what these new kids on the block, W.I.S.H hope to emulate.

Launching their first single Lazeez on March 1, the band includes Riya Duggal AKA Ri, Simran Duggal AKA Sim, Zoe Siddharth AKA Zo and Suchita Shirke AKA Suchi. The four artistes have teamed up for a second run for the title of India’s all-girl pop band. GenZers all, the band is being mentored and produced by Mikey McCleary and his Bay Music House production in collaboration with Sony Music.

“Most of us knew each other in some way,” shares Sim. “Ri and I are sisters. Zo and I were part of a band that never really took off. I had met Suchi back in summer camp at school,” Sim reveals. Three of the gang — Ri, Suchi and Sim — are Mumbaikars, while Zo hails from Chennai.

Yet, neither knew the other was being selected. Ri was the first finalist from the auditions by McCleary that went on for several months through 2022. “The auditions had been going on for a while, when we were reached out to,” she shares, adding that while the quartet knew each other, it was only after joining the band that they truly discovered the chemistry. “It took us a while to find the right group, and find the chemistry. With the four of us, the group is way more organic,” Ri remarks.

The band at a rehearsal
The band at a rehearsal

The key, the group says, is to have fun. “We have grown up watching Destiny’s Child and Spice Girls. Right now, we are going to be launched as a girl band, and there hasn’t been one in 22 years. There is some weight on our shoulders. But we have worked on this and are ready to show the world what we have in store for them,” says Suchi.

A preview of their soon-to-be-released track reveals a vibrant harmony with fun lyrics and visual style. “We collaborate, write and sing together. It is a group-oriented project,” Zo tells us. Over the last two years, the quartet has been working towards their project, slowly building, imbibing skills, production and stage presence among other things. Sim describes the track as the pop music you can dance to, “It has Latin vibes, and is a mixture of many fun and quirky things.” This was further sharpened and honed by the veteran at hand, McCleary.

While Ri, Sim and Zoe are familiar with the stage — having released YouTube and Instagram reels, Suchi admits the experience was a novel one. “Right from recording to music videos and the shooting process — nothing like this has happened to me before,” she notes.

Like all girl-bands, the quartet also shares a bond of sisterhood. Ri and Zo take on the roles of the older siblings, while Suchi and Sim bring up the sass. Ri explains, “We all grew up with sisters. So, Sim and Suchi are younger sisters, while Zo and I are the elder sisters in the family.” Sim says that mischief is a part of being the younger sister: “Suchi and I are the naughty ones. We are always joking around. We are not bullies, but we tease them a lot.”

This fun, they say, translates into music. “The first time when we were in the studio, I was worried that the collaboration would end up in a muddle where too many cooks would spoil the broth. But the synergy was just right. Ri came up with the melody, while someone else came up with the lyrics that spurred Sim to a harmony. Somehow, it all just flowed together,” says Suchi.

From their music to the fashion, the diversity of their ideas was represented both sonically and visually. “The video is a blend of Indian and Western styles, as is the music. But they are used in such a way that it is super fresh and unique. It is very pop which I don’t think we have had in a long time,” remarks Zo.

With their first single ready to open in March, the band is looking to reshape the future. “We also want to enjoy the craze that we want to bring to the audience when we perform. We are just very excited about it,” concludes Suchi. It sounds like a fun future to look forward to.

On: March 1
Log on to: Lazeez on Spotify; Apple Tunes

Hear it from the producer

Girl bands and boy bands throughout the world have been an important part of the pop culture. I observed that it was missing in India for the past 20 years. One can only speculate why there hasn’t been a girl band for so long. I would guess that because Bollywood has a combination of music, dance and glamour, it perhaps has dominated the entertainment culture in India. I think the pop culture is coming back now.

I auditioned a number of them through my contacts and by asking around in the music industry. The line up went through many changes until we found the right combination. What sets these four girls apart from the other competitors is that everyone is multi-talented, are good singers and good dancers, but, most importantly, also have an individual look. More than that, they have the right mentality and dedication. It’s not just dancing and singing they’ve received physical training as well.

I have been guiding the direction of it all musically. It has been collaborative, and we have experimented in all genres. The music comes under the pop genre, but we’ve had Latin influences, EDM influences and trap influences.

My role as a producer is to know where their strengths lie and making those shine. The next five months are going to be really heavy on creating content and a fan base. After that, the show season will begin, and the band will perform at colleges and concerts around India. I also have plans to make a TV reality show where the girls will live together in a house, and fans can witness the drama of their lives.

- Mikey McCleary

"Exciting news! Mid-day is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!

Register for FREE
to continue reading !

This is not a paywall.
However, your registration helps us understand your preferences better and enables us to provide insightful and credible journalism for all our readers.

Mid-Day Web Stories

Mid-Day Web Stories

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK