With appropriate nurture, we can ensure born talent reaches its full potential. Being born a prodigy doesn’t make you an automatic superstar. It’s the effort you put in that will get you that status and here we meet a young singing sensation of Goa, Akshada Bandekar. She is one of those special people, who have been gifted with the most melodious voice. At the tender age of 3, when most kids can hardly speak in full sentences, Akshada was singing on the stage. We discover here how it was that she had instilled in her so much confidence.
Today Akshada is 19, and pursuing her degree in a technical field, from the Goa Engineering College in Farmagudi. But we all know Akshada as a singer, and right from childhood, she was singing on the stage without any formal training, because she is gifted. “Besides music, which is my passion, I love animals and I am a pet lover,” says Akshada adding that cats are her favourite.
Akshada, who is presently pursuing an Electronics & Telecommunications course, has big plans for the future, that will connect her passion to her profession. “I remember my mother telling me that when I was not even speaking properly, I started singing. I feel it’s gifted, and I always want to treasure it, no matter which field I will pursue in the future,” says Akshada.
According to Akshada, music has always been an integral part of their family. Akshada gives this talent’s credit entirely to her mother. “Music has always been around in my family and my mother always encouraged me towards it. I remember that my parents had curated a cassette of their favourite songs,” Akshada said, adding that there was always a radio playing in the background.
After Akshada’s mother realised her daughter’s hidden talent at the age of three, there was no looking back for her and she started encouraging her and by the time Akshada turned six, her mother helped her host her first solo concert. It’s no joke to shoulder the responsibility of a solo concert, that too at the tender age of 6, but those who are gifted can do this magic, and the story behind the concert is even more interesting.
“I remember, I was only 6 then, and during that time a Tsunami hit South Asia. I didn’t know what a Tsunami was but I remember that my mother has a habit of reading the news clippings in front of me, and on that particular day, I remember very well that my mother thought about how to raise funds for Tsunami hit people,” said Akshada. At that age, she was not aware of all these terms like ‘Tsunami’, ‘concert’ or ‘fundraising’.
But when her mother read about it, Akshada could not stop herself asking her mother about the meaning of relief concerts. “When my mother explained the idea of the concert and how one can help the Tsunami hit people, I decided to do something for them, and out of this, the idea of the concert came up,” said Akshada.
That year Akshada performed solo on the stage for nearly three hours to raise money to help those affected by the Tsunami. I had goose-bumps when she was narrating the story of the concert, and I am sure that you too can imagine how a 6-year-old girl could sing live for such a cause.
Nevertheless, Akshada did this impossible task with much compassion and enthusiasm, and of course with the help of her parents. “Just knowing that I helped some families from this catastrophe made me feel happy and even though I was just a kid, I felt the pain of their losses,” she said. It was at that moment she decided that this is what she will pursue for the rest of her life, no matter where she is and what she is doing.
Akshada had a sense of compassion right from the beginning, and the reason behind this is that she had grown up watching her dad, a doctor, treating many people. “My family has always been very supportive. My father is a doctor and I had seen him helping many people and my mother who is an engineer has hugely influenced my personality. She is always been very gentle towards animals and from there I also developed a love towards pets,” she said.
Akshada always worked for a good cause. Her concert for special children “Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai” says it all. “That concert I had done for the children of Sanjay School followed by another one for “Save the Girl Child.” T What’s most impressive is that none of these was government-funded: she did it all on her own. When she did these concerts, she was just 9 and this time all the songs that she sang were written by her.
Although in the beginning, Akshada did not take any formal training as she has a gifted voice, unless you nurture your talent it will not grow, and the same was sensed by Akshada. She started classical training but she could not continue it due to her studies. Later on, her parents made arrangements for a tutor for classical training at home “As I was committed to my college and studies, I found it difficult to see myself committing to commercial work,” she said.
Akshada wanted to become an engineer but singing is her passion that will continue, “I would love if it becomes my career. I have plans of being my own boss and owning a studio where I can peruse my career and passion both together,” she said. Akshada feels that due to advancing technology, creating music has become more complex and the quality also differs, and to have better control over music one needs to have very sound knowledge of relevant software. “I want to be my own boss and want to pave the path to success, and for that knowledge, the key is engineering,” says Akshada.
Now she’s very well balanced between her passion and career. Even though college work has increased, she has learned to manage it well. Her latest project was a song for FIFA U-17 World Cup that she had written herself. She said she thinks up ideas when she’s at home unwinding. “If you like something, you naturally somehow manage to make time for it. It is not difficult as my college life is always fun and I also take part in college events. In a recent annual college event called ‘Renaissance’, I became Miss Engico,” says Akshada.
Her idols are Ashaji (Asha Bhosle) and Lataji (Lata Mangeshkar). When I asked Akshada what kind of songs she likes to sing, she replied saying ‘everything that touches her heart’ be it English, Marathi, Konkani or Hindi. “Music is meant to break barriers,” says Akshada.
Besides singing, Akshada also plays many musical instruments, such as a keyboard, drums, and guitar, and she wants to learn the saxophone in the near future. “I like to listen to all type of songs that has melody and beat and most importantly it should have good lyrics. I prefer pop songs and like to listen to songs that touch my heart, that makes me feel more,” said Akshada.
Akshada feels that we must do good for society in an altruistic way. “If you can, in any way, do something good, do it without any strings attached, with the thought that it will give you contentment, just do it without giving it a second thought. And always do things that make you happy. People will always judge you no matter how you live your life.