“I love the voice—it’s the most perfect instrument ever heard. It’s god-given”
This quote by internationally recognized India-based song composer and singer AR Rehman reflects the human voice’s beauty and elegance. It shows how a warm and calm voice attracts people towards itself and imparts a feeling of being connected to god. The same is true for Swagata Majumdar, an international voiceover artiste and Emcee for over 17 years, who treats her voice as a God-given gift. She believes that her voice’s natural warmth was the prime driving factor in her career as a Radio Jockey (RJ) and Voice Coach. But her career in the entertainment and media industry began as a journalist who wanted to change the world through her stories and feature articles. Although a Science student in school, Swagata decided to take a different path from all her friends and classmates when she enrolled to study journalism. She says that the ongoing Kargil war was a major influence on her choice of education. However, the real twist in her life came in 2005 when she received a call from an unknown number with great news.
Winning Ibda’a Award for A Documentary on Communal Riots
“The lady caller told me that I’m invited to Dubai for Ibda’a Award in the name of His Highness of Dubai. They wanted me to arrange my passport as soon as I can and attend the award ceremony,” exclaims Swagata. For her and many media students like her, the Ibda’a award is a huge affair, which caters to recognizing exceptional talents in media to promote their work in the industry. The unexpected call to Swagata was in response to her project submission based on communal riots between Hindu-Muslims in India.
Being a small-town girl, Swagata had no idea how to conduct herself for this trip and the event. With nothing but excitement, Swagata started her journey from India to experience the first foreign trip that would be the turning point in her career and life. “The entire trip was sponsored by the Dubai Media City community, and my project was selected because I had touched upon sensitive topics about unity and brotherhood,” explains Swagata. While exploring the submissions of different nations, Swagata was convinced that her project would not stand a chance against many well-thought and executed media works. But in 2005, Swagata won the Radio feature award by Ibda’a and His Royal Highness of Dubai for her brilliant work on Hindu-Muslim riots.
The success travelled far and wide as she soon became a media sensation overnight across the media world. Along with global recognition, Swagata’s prize was to work at Arabian Radio Network (ARN), Dubai’s top conglomerate of radio stations. But her lack of experience as a professional RJ prompted her to return to India and gain relevant insight into the job.
The Beginning of Swagata’s Radio Career and Voice Coach Days
After coming to India, Swagata got the opportunity to work at Big FM (Kolkata), which was just opening their station, as a trainee for a year. While she was not an RJ there, the job helped her attain suitable experience as a copywriter, which guided her on writing radio shows and producing them. It was the beginning of Swagata’s RJ career, which started from ARN in Dubai. “After working for ARN, she decided to come back to India and got a job at Fever 104, which was surveying the Kolkata radio market before opening up to the listeners. “I was the first employee of Fever 104 in Kolkata. When they opened up after nearly 7 months, my morning show was quite a hit that had garnered many listeners. Eventually, when I realized that my warm voice was better suited for relationship-related content, I switched to such shows and began reading out poetries and shayaris, which became huge among the people,” mentions Swagata.
Over the years, Swagata has transformed into a voiceover artiste and trainer, crediting her RJ career as the starting point of everything. As a voice trainer, Swagata has garnered an immense following from her students from all across the world and approach her through her website. As it is skill-based education, students learn through practice, and there are no textbook rules to master it; only practicing and following the tips results in mastering the nuances of voice training. She also offers Public Speaking and Communication classes for kids and IT professionals, which is hugely popular among Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Indians.
She has collaborated extensively across the entertainment and media industry, recently with Sunny Leone for a podcast show ‘Confessions with Sunny Leone’ for Gaana. She also trained a Bangladeshi actress to learn the nuances of Bengali. Besides, she is also a writer and remarks that writing comes to her naturally. Although Swagata is currently focused on creative professional writing, she says that drafting a story novel is a possibility.
Birth of ‘Boyaam’ – The Arts Curation and Interdisciplinary Art Platform
In Bengali, ‘Boyaam’ means a glass jar; the name signifies Swagata’s approach toward filling her own glass jar of life with happiness, music and performing art. As a fellow artiste, Swagata knows the importance of art in life. She believes that new and emerging talent in the field of media, art, and music. “Through this platform, I promote young and aspiring artistes. I’ve been a performing artiste for 18 years, and I use this reputation to promote the new talent on Boyaam. Over the past couple of years, Boyaam has conducted several home concerts, with the first event being featured in the Outlook India magazine. In 2019, we also hosted a large outdoor event before the pandemic began,” explains Swagata.
During the pandemic, Boyaam experienced similar challenges as any other business. As people started to practice physical distancing, the concerts and big events hosted by Boyaam saw a huge decline and eventually went to nil. While going online was an option, it did not fare well, and many times artistes went on without any pay. Yet, Swagata endured the time and kept the platform going, recovering from the ongoing pandemic.
Despite powering through a challenging time for Boyaam, Swagata maintains that she feels free and happy in her career. According to her, when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. “This is something I wish everyone knew and followed. Especially parents who deny their children the right and freedom to choose a profession of their liking,” says Swagata.