Outspoken, yet cool-as-a-cucumber, budding artist and singer Kekhrie Ringa has never been a voice that blends into the background. Not surprisingly, she’s also one of the very few rising singing stars in the Broadway genre in India.
In her own words, “I sing and teach vocals for a living” Kekhrie works at the Music Academy Kohima as a vocal teacher, and she is also a part of the gospel rock band ‘Fireflood’ – a seven-member band, based out of Bangalore.
I sing and teach vocals for a living” Kekhrie Ringa, Nagaland
Shweta Rao: Hey Kekhrie, feel so good to have you here with us! So tell us – who according to you – is Kekhrie Ringa?
Kekhrie Ringa: I am a singer and a vocal teacher. I was born in Mokokchung, but I currently live in Kohima. I am a Broadway-style singer and admire Kirsten Chenoweth for her work in the genre. She is an amazing Broadway star. Also, Christina Aguilera was, is, and will forever be my favorite.
I finished my Bachelor in Arts degree in 2009. The next year, I competed in “Naga Idol” and was one of the finalists. I guess there was no looking back after that. I then pursued a Bachelor’s in Music degree with a major in vocal performance at the Bangalore Conservatory from 2011 to 2014.
By the time I was in my second year, I began mentoring newcomers at the conservatory to help them improve their vocal skills. I won the Best Recital Award for the class of 2011 on the day of my graduation. Since then, I have performed regularly for INK talks in Bangalore.
“I am also a dog lover and a foodie by nature.” Kekhrie Ringa
Shweta Rao: Who or what inspires your music?
Kekhrie Ringa: I love Christina Aguilera because I feel we share similar childhood experiences. One afternoon, the same year she released her song ‘Genie in a bottle,’ I was listening to the radio and I heard her voice. You know how teenagers are fixated on lyrics more than the music? I was the same except this time her voice mesmerized me so much that I could not pay attention to the lyrics! She’s been my idol since then and I’ve never looked back.
Shweta Rao: Tell us about your current musical projects?
Kekhrie Ringa: I sing and teach vocals for a living. I am currently working at the Music Academy Kohima as a vocal teacher. I am also in a gospel rock band called Fireflood, which is a Bangalore-based seven-member band. We have already written about 15 songs and recorded our first album ever. We’re so excited about it! We’re planning to launch it very shortly.
Shweta Rao: How would you classify your music (genre)?
Kekhrie Ringa: Hmm..people have been asking me this. Well, I grew up listening to a lot of rap, hip-hop and alternative rock (both secular and Christian) and that music definitely has a lot of influence on me. But, I am trained in Western Classical style singing and I also perform in Broadway-style. So I think it’s safe to say that I like keeping my music versatile. However, given no choice, I would pick rock and Broadway to define my music.
Shweta Rao: What made you decide to take up music as a career?
Kekhrie Ringa: The idea that I’ll be singing in the future was somehow always there inside my head – since childhood. Even as a young girl, I remember spending hours watching singers on TV and imitating them. My dolls were my patient audience and the living room table was my stage. The imaginary tickets were all sold out (laughs)
Of course it was not easy pursuing my dream. I had to be constantly hustling – and I never stopped listening to my heart. The occasional questions from people like “How are you going to earn just by singing?” has now (weirdly enough) changed to “So how much do you charge per song?”
Kekhire with other fellow artists (L-R): Andy Imchen (Hairstylist), supermodel Leno Kense, Kekhrie Ringa, and Nise Meruno (International concert artist)
Shweta Rao: What message do you want to convey to your listeners – through your music?
Kekhrie Ringa: Music is the only language everyone understands. A C major chord is the same in our country and all over the world. I grew up in an environment where white-collar jobs were given more importance. Singers were never in the picture. I have always been the odd one out. Through my life’s lessons and the passion I’ve garnered through them, I just want the world to know that no person is given a gift without a purpose.
If you have the gift of singing, sing. If you have the gift of teaching, teach. You just have to believe you are here for something big. I read this somewhere and follow it as my mantra: ‘Work like it’s all upto you, pray like it’s all upto God’.
The 2010 Naga Idol finalist has been receiving a lot of accolades online as she recently released a video of her covering Broadway star Kirsten Chenoweth’s immensely popular number ‘The Girl in 14G’ on YouTube.
“I am a huge fan of Chenoweth. I love this song and this is in no way the slightest comparison to how she nails it, but I gave it a try,” she said.
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