If you hear a voice going viral from Band Stand (the music bar) to Cohiba to Mike’s Place it is that of Rochelle Braganza from Nuvem, a singer inspired by her grandfather’s musical talent.
She says, “My grandfather, Francisco Anthonio Braganza, was a great musician. From saxophone to violins he played them all, I guess that’s what you call passing of genes. At the start, I wasn’t much of a singer and as a 5-year-old was shunned and told not to sing cause I was bad at it.”
But teachers like Mrs Yashoda Nair at Holy Rosary Convent High School encouraged her to participate in singing competitions.
Rochelle holds an MA degree in English literature, but eventually realized her passion for music. She took violin classes but still wanted to sing. Rochelle’s first band was ‘Ecstacy’ and despite initial nervousness, the drummer’s rhythm and the sound of drums swept her off her feet. However, they disbanded and Rochelle joined ‘The Runks’, from where she went on to work with ‘Truly Yours’, ‘Music Mania’, ‘The Rising’, ‘Take5’, and now ‘DoubleR’.
But the bands didn’t keep her away from the church, and she says, “I was also happy to have the opportunity to sing at the Nuvem Church and would never skip Easter, Christmas or New Year.”
Rochelle’s listeners like her voice so much that they record her singing and make it viral on social media. She responds to this saying, “My father used to organise events in our village and for the first time I remember watching the Nightingale of Goa, Ma’am Lorna on stage. When I saw the crowd cheering and the way she owned the moment, I was in love and in a trance to want that feeling.”
Rochelle describes singing as a sense-healing experience that doesn’t require external substance. To connect with the crowd, to be entertained by the music, and the instruments are all she needs to enjoy the stage, and she would choose singing any day for the adrenaline rush. Rochelle has sung at various events, including Christmas, New Year and Easter dances in Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Hyderabad.
But she is particularly grateful for the Cancer Foundation Event at Kings School in Sao Jose De Areal, where the proceeds went to cancer survivors. Rochelle has also sung for the video song, Festa De Sao Joao created by Six String Production, and also acted in the song Mogachim Kantara by Devashish Majumdar.
Rochelle’s music has been a constant source of support and guidance throughout her life. Rochelle’s mother was the only breadwinner for the family as her father passed away when she was just seven years old.
She says, “Being a child without a father, our family of three had to face a lot of criticism from society. The pressure of a widowed mother who had to work to make sure we survived, to not being able to be there for us as a parent, is something I can’t explain in words.”
For Rochelle music is not a competition, and competition is not about striving for improvement, as each one is unique and has different skills. She feels it is pointless to compete and end up replicating the person you’re competing with. Instead, she finds it best to showcase one’s talent and take credit for it.
Speaking of her difficulties as a singer Rochelle she says, “As singers, we have too many constraints when it comes to our voice. From not being able to eat foods I love to so many things I end up avoiding. Being a singer also means that I don’t have much of a social life. Practices and the stage are all we get time for. I barely have time to be out, and I’ve to avoid talking much, as my ENT warned me if I wished to keep singing.”
The best advice Rochelle has received is, “Always be humble. No matter where and how far life takes you, always be humble and make sure even when you do so not to let anyone make you feel that you’re not good enough in what you do.”
Rochelle believes in having role models for oneself and wanting to reach where they are, but she says, “Always remember to remain true to yourself. Don’t forget your own identity, your own style, and why you fell in love with music. Sure, there is money involved and also having to pay for all the expenses incurred while on this journey, but don’t let it get to your head. Stay grounded and focused on showing your potential to the world, and avoid alcohol. It might seem like a good stress buster when you get up on stage, but in the long run, it will mess up your vocals.”
Rochelle has been working with the band ‘DoubleR’, for a year and she states that the group is made up of wonderful people. She says, “Jurgen Mycroft Pacheco our band leader has been my mentor, my guide and a big brother. All in the band genuinely help one another grow. By far the best band I’ve worked with, without the shadow of a doubt which makes music worthwhile.”