#WhereAreThey series: My headspace and style of work in films were not compatible, says Anaida

It was in 1995 that India saw the release of its first single, Hotline, which became a runaway success and overnight, Anaida became a sensation. The single was a part of her first album, Love Today Hai Nahi Asaan, that was one of the highest selling debut albums of its time. In 1996, Anaida achieved several milestones with the release of her first English single, Fever, followed by yet another album, Nazuk Nazuk. The second video, Hoo Halla Hoo, from the same album was the first animated 3D video ever produced in India.

Recalling the 1990s, Anaida tells us, “They were exciting as well as challenging as we had to be all-rounders and look into every aspect of business – music production, performance and business. But it also meant that you could really take your work to heights. That gave me the opportunity to collaborate with international names such as Buddha Bar, Walt Disney and Michael Jackson.”

Anaida during a stage performance

A trailblazer, Anaida’s O Malu Malu was the first original Arabic album produced in India. In 1997, she worked with Greek composer Stefanos Korkolis. Along with belting out hit albums and performing stage shows across the globe, she lent her voice to films such as Split Wide Open (1999), Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachaao (2001), Lajja (2001) and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001).

But why didn’t we hear her in too many Hindi films? “My headspace and the style of work in the film industry were not compatible at all. So, I chose not to,” she says.

A few years later, she appeared in reality shows like Dhoom Macha De, Fun On The Run and Is Junlge Se Mujhe Bachao. Post these shows, the singer almost disappeared from showbiz.

Anaida went on to pursue her varied interests and is now a chef and a healer. She says, “Everyone who ate my food, kept telling me I must start a restaurant.” As for her passion for healing, she adds,“I’ve been making meditation music for friends and family since 1996. But there was no awareness of this genre then. Later in 2017, I released a meditation album that topped charts.”

These days, she hardly follows contemporary music. However, music still happens to be a part of her life as she recently finished a Sufi album based on Rumi’s poetry, “It was in celebration of my dad’s 70th birthday. It is my most expensive album and my best work yet.” In 2020, Anaida released her first spiritual colouring book, Tattva.

Ask her what’s next and she says, “I do plan to perform live again. I want to make more of international music because that is my forte. Going forward, I only want to do music that is in harmony with where I am at the moment.”

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