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The versatile veejay

SYEDA FARIDA

From hosting the popular show `MTV Loveline' to having several numbers to her credit, Pop singer and Veeyaj Sophiya is a versatile artiste. She talks about her music, career and influences.



SINGING SENSATION: Sophiya Choudhury is trained in Bharathanatyam and presently Kathak

SHE HAS been part of one of the early girl bands in India before cutting an album for herself. A Hindi Film buff, her prowess includes training in various street styles of dance in London, Bharatanatyam and presently Kathak for a hobby (she is a first class graduate in politics and French degree from London School of Economics), western classical training from Helena Shenel (who taught Annie Lenox and George Michael), anchor for popular ZEE TV show beamed in UK, Europe, Africa, South America and Mauritius and is also has an awesome stage presence. "I love being on stage. It's an ultimate high. The audience in Hyderabad was very receptive," says VJ and singer Sophiya Choudhury recollecting her recent performance in the twin cities. And you see her everyday as the in-control face on MTV Loveline, a show popular with the young.

"Most of them are just looking for a friend they can talk openly to, rather than a psychiatrist. They find a friend in us and we give them a fair opinion. It's not that we are necessarily right. We just give them logical options and an objective point of view. Right now, with the World Aids Day in news, MTV programming is focussed on AIDS awareness. Our message is `anybody can get HIV and everybody can prevent it!' In this context we have had many youngsters calling in for advice and knowledge and it's good to know that we are getting our message though to our target audience of 24million homes! I think it's a great start in the battle against HIV," says Sophiya.

About MTV Loveline experience she says, "Working with Cyrus Broacha is awesome. One can't stop laughing despite the bad jokes. He is witty, fun and a complete gentleman. We have a blast on the set. It is hard to take the place of Malaika because she made such a huge impression on the show. But I decided early on that I wouldn't copy anyone, I would be myself— fun, young and glamorous at the same time."



SULTRY SIREN: Sophiya brings her own attitude to `Loveline.'

In fact the born-and-brought-up-in-London lass moved to Mumbai last year and has stepped into a multifaceted arena that comprises music a great deal. "I was a huge fan of music producer Biddu because of all his Nazia Hassan hits like Disco Deewane and Aap jaisa Koi. I met Biddu when I was13. He encouraged me to start singing. At that time he was writing Shweta Shettys' album Johnny Joker. I sang backing vocals for it and also for Alisha's Made in India. I was getting experience. But only when I finished my graduation, that I took up singing as a full-time career.

Biddu and I thought that there was a lack of variety in Indian pop scene so we put together a girl band called Sansara. We had 2 huge hit Habibi and Yeh dil sun raha hai. However unfortunately there were many problems amongst the band members and we lasted less than a year. Our commitment levels differed. For me this was my life...for them...a hobby I guess. It was very heartbreaking because so much work had gone into the band. In fact I wrote the lyrics and did the choreography. Anyway all is well that ends well, because Universal signed me as a solo artiste, I decided to move down to Mumbai with my mum and released my solo album Le le mera dil last March. It was well appreciated and I even won Best female Newcomer at Asian pop Awards UK," says Sophiya.

And she is currently working on her new album slated for release next year, and hosting Mpop and Love ke liye on MTV that she intends to continue. "I am also getting Hindi film offers as an actress. I definitely want to get into movies, as it has always been a dream and ambition, but I am willing to wait for the right project and team to work with. In the meantime, its lots of music, lots of MTV and lots more travelling and I hope to be back in Hyderabad sometime soon," says the versatile artiste. Catch her next time on MTV Loveline to see her in action.

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