“I have been singing since the time I realised the existence of life”: Kavita Seth

In a candid conversation with Bayside Journal, Kavita Seth talks about her love for Sufi music, Trance with Khusrow and working with her son


One may recognise Kavita Seth from the popular songs ‘Iktara’ (Wake Up Sid) and ‘Tumhi ho Bandhu’ (Cocktail). But she prefers Sufi music and singing live. She insists that she enjoys playback singing as well. She says it has its own charm.

Recently, Kavita has launched ‘Trance with Khusrow’, an album that has launched her son Kanishk Seth as a music producer. All of 18, he has been working on the album since he was 14 years old. In a freewheeling chat with Bayside Journal, Kavita Seth talks about her love for Sufi and playback singing.

You have sung many Bollywood hit songs while maintaining  Sufi singing. Tell us more about this.

Playback singing and my live concerts go hand in hand. I have been singing since the time I realised the existence of life; it’s so close to my heart. My bond with Sufi singing started at a very tender age and took a concrete shape after Muzzafar Ali’s concert in Delhi. It was a turning point in my life. Sufi music and poetry not only touch the heart but make the soul smile. I have been very fortunate to have lent my voice to very soulful songs in Bollywood. Good poetry is my first criteria while selecting a song. In the recent past, I have rejected a number of songs since they involved the use of meaningless lyrics. I prefer to stay away from that kind of poetry.

There is a difference between Sufi music and playback singing. Which one do you prefer?

I enjoy any music that touches the soul. Sufi music and live singing for concerts are definitely my first loves. Having said that, playback singing has its own charm too. I enjoy both equally. Live singing helps me understand the audiences’ taste and what will hold a place in their hearts.

Can you give us some insights into your album ‘Trace with Khusrow’?

‘Trance with Khusrow’ marks the next step in my musical journey. Through the album we had the opportunity to work with the eternal poetry of great Sufi saint Amir Khusrow. The most unique thing about the album is that we have married two very divine and powerful forms of music – Trance and Sufism. The result has been a mystical new sound that has never been heard before in the country. 

You are one of the top 10 Sufi singers in India. How do you connect with people? 

Whenever I sing, I am connected to the divine. I think this energy transfers people to a very beautiful space. I am blessed to be showered with so much love from people.

Your son played an important role in the making of your latest album. How was working with him?

‘Trance with Khusrow’ has marked the launch of my son Kanishk Seth’s career as a music producer. He began working on the album when he was 14 years of age. It all began with experimentation and over four years the music kept evolving. Working together has been a great learning experience for both of us. What better for me to have my son be a part of my dream journey.

What about Hazrat Amir Khusrow’s writing inspired you to covert it to trance?

I think getting the opportunity to recreate the magic of 800-year-old eternal poetry is in itself a great feeling. Being a Sufi singer and a lover of Sufi music and poetry, I was always in awe of Hazrat Amir Khusrow’s poetry. As and when I got inspired, I would compose his poetry into a beautiful song and record it. When Kanishk introduced me to Trance music, we both felt that Sufi and Trance are divine forms of music. Their combination, we were sure, would be a successful one.