Humming true-talesSinger Ankita Pun is currently in the process of releasing her seven-track debut album ‘Maili’.
As a ninth grader, when Ankita Pun used to go to music classes she used to get comments like, ‘Hera yo keti guitar bokera hideki’. (‘Look at this girl walking around carrying a guitar.’) very often. But since she was hell-bent on learning and pursuing music, she did not let comments like these get to her. Now, when she performs on stage, Pun’s heart swells when she sees the audience waving their hands and singing along to her original tunes and she commends herself for following her passion for music.
It might be Pun’s family’s love for music that got her interested in it in the first place. Her father used to bring home music cassettes while returning from Paltan (Indian Army). “My Baje sang Rodi and my mother used to sing too,” says Pun.
This musical environment in her family encouraged her to participate in music competitions at school and community events. She remembers the time she sang acapella on stage (in Grade 4)—without any instrument or karaoke, just a mic and her voice. Unexpectedly (for her), she came in first at the competition. This solidified Pun’s decision to pursue music even more.
She dropped out of high school in Dang and joined a hotel management course in Butwal. The main reason she moved out of Dang was because she wanted to live in a community that appreciated music. She claims that she was tired of people commenting and criticising her inclination toward music.
Moving to Butwal was one of the best decisions to further Pun’s musical career. There she met the two people who would turn out to be the biggest supporters of her music—Loc Punk, a punk rock musician, and Swapnil Sharma, vocalist of the Nepali rock band The Shadows.
“I joined a band in Bultwal when I was in Grade 11 and started singing rock and English songs at restaurants and bars,” says Pun adding that she only sang folk and patriotic songs until she met Punk and Sharma both of whom she considers her mentors. Singing rock songs apparently also helped her become more confident on stage.
The then 17-year-old singer was the youngest member of the band and she claims that all her band members adored her. They lovingly nicknamed her Baatuli because she was chubby and round.
Pun and her bandmates visited different bars and pubs, asking the owners if they could perform there. The little earned, they shared amidst themselves.
But after a year of gigs, Pun left the band because she wanted to do something other than cover songs written and released by other musicians. She states, “I’m thankful to the band because it helped me enter the music scene, spread my name to a wider audience, and introduced me to other musicians.”
After leaving the band, Pun started writing and composing originals. She uploaded a cover video of Hataarindai, Bataasindai in 2019, which got viral. Currently, the video has over 955,000 views. “Even Sajjan dai (Sajjan Raj Vaidya) commented on the video. I was so shocked,” exclaims Pun.
The media production company Purbanchal Rocks offered Pun a contract in 2020. At the time, she had been writing many songs while being cooped up in her house during the lockdown. This worked in her favor because while the initial contract (with Purbanchal Rocks) was just to record three songs, Pun excitedly claims that the production company must have liked her a lot and extended the contract to numerous tracks.
Right now, Pun is in the process of releasing her seven-track debut album Maili. Three tracks from the album—Char Din Char Juni, Maili, and Sakhi—are already out. Char Din Char Juni was the first single of the album and its lyrics touched on the relationship of humans with their pets. “The song didn't get many views, but I wasn't demotivated,” claims Pun.
Maili, the second release, depicts the life of a young laure couple. This story hits very close to home for Pun as it is based on her parents’ relationship. Pun’s mother was 19 when she got married to her then 28-year-old laure father. In the song, Pun sings “Bhagya kasto hamro tadhinu parne, Daiba ko khel bhani mann bujhaunu parne”. (Our fate distanced us. We can just accept it, saying it’s God’s plan.)
Her recently released third single, Sakhi, portrays the relationship of a lesbian couple. The track was produced by musician Diwas Gurung, who is working on the production of other songs in her album too, and its video was shot in the UK.
Pun is in no rush to release the other four tracks of Maili. She states that a song she is preparing to release soon is one of the first tracks she has ever written adding that once she is done recording and producing this song with good audio mixing, she might still wait a bit before releasing it. As the track is very dear to her, she is planning to wait until the time is ‘just right’ for it to be out. “I want to take time and go slow with my musical journey”, concludes Pun.