Neha Pandey presents an iconic Arabic song sung in her mellifluous voice. “I had this deja vu moment when I heard ‘Helwa Ya Baladi’, it was an instant soul connect,” she shares.
The singer – who’s known as NehaMusicBeats on YouTube – has sung songs for various labels (MTV, T-Series, Spotlampe, Zee Music) as well as lent voice for Bollywood movies, and collaborated with artistes from different cultures. Neha is especially known for her hit Punjabi song ‘Busy Busy’ that she sang in an Arabic version too titled ‘Mashghool’. “Losing and failing have been bedrocks of my creative journey. I am an eternally optimistic soul,” says Neha.
The song, ‘Helwa Ya Baladi’ was originally sung by a European singer Dalida who was raised in Egypt. It makes the song instantly special and holds a truly global appeal, evoking feeling of love “and truly that is something the world needs more than ever,” believes Neha, ‘Where language, community is no barrier’.
Having belted out many originals in different languages as a Dubai-based Bollywood singer / entrepreneur and a doting mom, Neha has come a long way, becoming the first female Bollywood singer to passionately venture into singing Arabic songs. She aims to reach out to a wider global audience as she always wanted.
Talking about the song, Neha says that it further cements her love, appreciation and respect for all cultures, and never fails to project the same through her music. This song literally means “my country is beautiful” and many people can connect it to the love for their countries and nostalgia as expats too.
For Neha Pandey, it is a tribute to UAE, where she has lived for a long time. This is just a little gesture of gratitude from her to the wonderful leadership of this beautiful nation and the wonderful citizens, moreso in these tough times, she states emotionally as she feels how COVID-19 has affected lives world over. She emphasizes on her gratitude for being gifted music by the Almighty and staying in one of the safest countries in the world – UAE. She says, “Hence I dedicate this song to UAE.” Check out the song here:
Neha Pandey recorded the song in complete isolation responsibly. So this is pure in many ways to her and done at home without any access to the typically ‘produced’ sound environment and hence it retains this appeal for those who love something unplugged which connects.
She recorded this Arabic song with Jonathan Ramgopal on keyboard and Fredy George Antony who supported with the video at their respective music places.
The song can be interpreted in different ways. Neha always felt an emotional connect to Arabic music and it’s her desire to sing beyond just Bollywood which makes her a true global desi artiste. “It is not those usual songs which I could record at a professional studio as I wanted to stay responsibly socially distant (even though the choice was there) in general plus this was completely a personal take without any commercial inclination with an aim to entertain people for free online especially now that so many may be able to hear it and (InshAllah) appreciate it too. I have always believed in tolerance and I can do my bit by sharing my ideologies through the music I choose or create.”
Neha also addresses creativity and music as great anti-depressants. “Mental health issue is on a rise and I am belting as many tunes I can during these times to help those around me. It is amazing to see some people utilising the time to get creative amidst an encircling gloom. You see tough times do not last but tough people do (as the quote goes). Creativity is the most potent transformative tool that we have at our disposal.”
Neha reveals that without any Godfather in the industry, she’s always been a self-motivated person that has helped her sail through the worse situations in life. “I always believed in the magic that life beholds and it’s a conscious effort focusing on the brighter side especially in these difficult times, turning tears to tunes and making conscious effort to thank for little things which we would normally take for granted, like family and real friends. I engage in activities with my son and plan ways to stay productive during lockdown trying to keep all worries aside,” she explains.
“Few more independent songs are what I have been looking forward to career-wise. Lot of projects are on hold due to Covid, but we will be back with a bang pretty soon!”