On May 19, 2018, Indian-American singer-songwriter Lisa Mishra uploaded a mashup of DJ Snake’s “Let Me Love You” and “Tareefan” from Veere Di Wedding on her Instagram page. Within a week, Mishra found herself in a Mumbai studio recording the “Tareefan” reprise version for the film and as the cliché goes, the rest is history. The Chicago-based data analyst who had been putting up cover versions of songs on her YouTube page all this time, moved bag and baggage to Mumbai to become a full-time musician. Mishra is now considered one of the leading names in the pop circuit today.
Not only is she the voice behind several Hindi film songs; she was also one of the artists in 2020’s One World: Together at Home virtual concert, curated by Lady Gaga, that saw her on the same platform as some of the biggest musicians in the world. Today, her Instagram handle has more than 4 lakh followers and her YouTube page—which she started when she was only 13—has close to 3 lakh subscribers. The digital disruptor wants to use her social platforms for good, ensuring that her music reaches her fans across the world and uplift them during tough times. Here are some edited excerpts from a conversation with the musician.
1. Tell us about your ‘overnight success’, how did you deal with it and the hard work behind this?
I think everyone expects you to just put a few weeks or months of hard work in and then—boom—you’re a massive success. For me, the journey was 11 years of making YouTube and Instagram videos until my cover of “Tareefan" was found by the right people.
2. Today, you are one of the top voices emerging from India’s pop scene. How much has life changed for you since “Tareefan”?
Life is drastically different from my initial days, but it’s already been three years since I got the break and recorded the Tareefan reprise version for Veere Di Wedding! There is so much more growth and change to come, even now that I’m settled into the music industry. I want to see my songs reach the #1 spot. I want to drop an album and I definitely want to play to massive crowds around the world.
3. You have close to 3 lakh subscribers on your YouTube channel alone. As a content creator, what kind of content do you want to put up for your fans?
YouTube was fundamental to my growth as a musician. I started my channel in 2007 and it steadily grew to what it is today. I don’t consider what I do “content”—it is simply music. My listeners can depend on good quality live music for many more years to come. I just want them to feel as connected to me today as they did 15 years ago.
4. As a digital content creator, how much importance do you subscribe to the power and reach of social media and how do you want to utilise it?
I want to use social media for good. I want music to reach and heal people, otherwise, platforms can become places for self-obsession. I want my music to uplift people during hard times.
5. How do you deal with negativity or trolling, if and when it comes your way?
I have been incredibly lucky to be doing this for so long without much trolling at all. I think that a lot of this is a journey of authenticity and I’ve had the immense luck of garnering a fanbase that appreciates that honesty in my work. Touchwood—no real haters yet!
6. What are the kind of collaborations that you like to associate yourself with?
I am very particular about brand work and insist that what I do always comes back to my roots in music. More recently, I’ve been composing the music for most of my ad associations and it’s been really fulfilling to see those songs have a life beyond just branded content.
7. Who are some of the digital influencers you admire?
I absolutely love Vishnu Kaushal who I consider to be the funniest person on the internet, and I also love the work of Aashna Shroff and Komal Pandey in the world of fashion.