Musician Lisa Mishra on her new single, journey to fame, career and more

From her light-hearted, soothing covers to her smashing new single, musician Lisa Mishra knows how to hit the right spot with her music. The singer started her musical journey by moving from Chicago to the city of dreams, Mumbai. And there, we saw her make a breakthrough with her rendition of Tareefan.

We caught up with Lisa Mishra right after a fun Instagram Live session where she took requests and played people’s favourite tunes.

ELLE: Your new song, Nai Chaida is your first ever solo track and it was an emotional project. Was the making of the song a cathartic process for you in any way?

Lisa Mishra: Absolutely, for me this is by far the most emotional track I’ve done. There’s like a catharsis in letting go of that emotion or that hang up on that specific memory. And I think for musicians, including myself, it’s like you’re almost sending away that energy or that experience via art. This is like the final farewell of that phase, or that emotion.

Lisa Mishra

ELLE: What pushed you to compose a song on long-distance relationships? 

LM: This song is drawn from one of those moments, where I met somebody amazing but I had to abruptly move here. The song is definitely inspired by that moment of letting something go. I have always been in ‘almost relationships’ and then something happens, for instance, the timing is off. We just dramatised the video and kind of elongated the story line. I feel like everyone at this point and this generation has had a long-distance relationship. It’s eerie because we composed the song a year ago and we made this video three weeks before India went under lockdown. So, the timing was just bizarre. We had no intention of it being so spot on and relatable.

Lisa Mishra
Lisa Mishra in the video of the new solo track

ELLE: You were one of the two Indian singer-songwriter in One World: Together at Home event along with artists like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, and many more. What was that experience like for you?

LM: Honestly, the call was a shock. The inquiry for us came through our label, Universal Music and I remember them telling me that they’re interested in having me as one of the artists and there’s only Vishal Mishra and I performing for India. I just felt like a kid. So, initially I felt like I have no experience! Then I was like, I have got to rise to the occasion and give a great performance for it to be worthy of being aired on a platform like that! The second thing that got me was, playing alongside people I’ve grown up listening to and been inspired by. Celine Dion’s song was the first English song I ever sang, and Stevie Wonder’s songs were the first songs I sang in my first band in college. It was such a strange and beautiful moment to share the stage with them.

ELLE: What drew you to the hip-hop and R&B genre of music?

LM: For hip-hop and rap you have three centers: New York, Compton (which is in Los Angeles) and Chicago. So, while growing up in Chicago and spending my whole life there, I was inundated with the work of Kanye West and other well-known artists. You can’t help but be a part of that, right? And then my direct involvement with that came from high school. All of the musicians’ sort of knew each other and one day I just got a call, for being an additional vocal on Chance’s album. They asked me to come in and work. So, I went and I did the vocals for Chance and they liked it enough to have me coming back and contributing to it. By the second album, I was already writing it out.

ELLE: What’s next in the pipeline for you? Can we expect something in 2020 from you?

LM: There’s a lot of work in the pipeline already for 2020. The audience can expect more singles and some Hindi singles too. I know I want to do at least a five song EP in either Hindi or English by next year. I feel that an album offers you an opportunity to tell your story from the beginning to the end, so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing this year.

Photographs: Courtesy of Universal Music Group, India

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