Nisha and Nailah Team Up for ‘Tip Tip’

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By Cherisse Moe, HER Magazine

If you’re a fan of chutney singer Nisha B and soca artiste Nailah Blackman, we’re pretty sure you’re already singing along to their latest collaborative offering, ‘Tip Tip’.

The song has been on the tip of many tongues since it dropped last Friday and the three-minute music video, which features the entertainers dancing in eye-catching Indian attire accompanied by a bevy of East Indian dancers, seems to be a hit with fans too. ‘Everything about this collab just works,’ said one commenter on YouTube. ‘You ladies killed it!’ articulated another, while a supporter from Guyana wrote, ‘this is on repeat in my head and my playlist.’ ‘Tip Tip Barsa Paani’ is from the 1994 Bollywood blockbuster film, Mohra. In English it means ‘the water was falling drop by drop’. You may be wondering how this collaboration came about. Well Nisha B, (Nisha Bissambhar), says it was her way of paying homage to the song, and that she and her brother Ravi B (Ravi Bissambhar) thought it was a good idea to include Nailah on the track, as her grandfather Ras Shorty I, (Garfield Blackman), was known to celebrate the diversity of our local genres. It is said that he experimented with fusing calypso and Indian-inspired music, including chutney, for nearly a decade before unleashing ‘the soul of calypso, known today as soca.

‘It seemed like the perfect collab,’ Nisha B, who also comes from a lineage of musicians, told us during her first newspaper interview to discuss the song. ‘Ravi sent it to Nailah and her manager called back and said they love it! My actual vocal recording on it was done in August, 2022! So, it has been in the works.’ Nailah, whose upcoming Carnival album Best Self will feature ‘Tip Tip’, says she’s always had an insatiable appetite for music that blended cultures and traditions, so being a part of this project was an easy decision.

‘The idea of Sokah music is chutney and calypso fused together to make one music. So, I do not see it as a separate genre, just as when I’m doing calypso, I don’t see it as much different from soca as it’s mummy and daddy. When I was a teenager, I took part in classical Indian dancing, and growing up in the countryside in Rio Claro, Indian music was a big part of my life.’

While both artistes had busy schedules, they were able to record their vocals separately, thanks to modern technology. However, shooting the video was the more challenging part, ‘but we were lucky enough that everything worked out simultaneously,’ Nailah says of the experience. ‘We were both in Miami for Carnival and we were both in Trinidad before that, and we got the music video shot. It just happened really quickly. We wanted the dancers to be reminiscent of a Bollywood movie, where the song is originally from.’

Nisha B hopes fans ‘catch a good vibe’ when listening to ‘Tip Tip’, noting that their collaboration is a testament to the power of music to bridge cultural gaps. ‘Music is a love language,’ she asserts. ‘And the marriage of these two genres is epic. I want people to feel the connection and say, ‘yes, Bollywood and soca sweet too bad!” As women in an industry that’s often considered a dog-eat-dog world, Nisha B and Nailah Blackman continue to blaze their own trails. While their journeys are not without hurdles, they believe that hard work and staying true to self is a tried-and-true recipe for success.

“I’ve had many experiences that I could choose to look at as challenges or opportunities for growth – and that’s my mantra. An opportunity for growth for me would be the way people scrutinise my voice to be high pitched and unusual. I’ve taken that opportunity to make it work for me in every way that I can see,’ says Nailah.

Nisha B, who has some upcoming releases, including a collaboration with popular Bollywood performer Ben Parag in the bag, shares, ‘I once read a quote that has always resonated with me: ‘Everything negative is an opportunity for me to rise’. Nothing comes easy. We all face something. I have had it all – from personal to health, financial and emotional. The industry is a lot of work. It is super important to keep your mental health in check and stay grounded. Stay close to your real ones and family. And needless to say, God is my best friend. I’m kept in check.’

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