The song Jalebi Baby has gone viral in unprecedented ways. It’s all over the internet and social media and even was used by Zomato when its IPO was released. Jalebi Baby has been sung and composed by Canadian rapper and producer Tesher but the hook line has been sung by Shweta Subram, who although has not been credited for her vocals have received accolades from netizens and fans. The Punjabi-English track has become all the rage on TikTok with more than 3.7 million videos on the social media app. It’s been streamed more than 46 million times on Spotify, and 97 million times on YouTube. Jalebi Baby also spent more than 24 weeks on top of the Official Charts Company's Asian Music Chart Top 40.
Inspired by its success Tesher released a new version, featuring hitmaker Jason Derulo, in June. Now, Shweta spoke in an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon.com about the viral song, not getting credit for it but receiving tons of praise from fans and her dreams of collaborating with Sonu Nigam, AR Rahman and Vishal Shekhar in Bollywood.
Excerpts from the interview:
After singing for Bollywood how did you end up with Tesher in Jalebi Baby?
So basically a friend of mine who lives in Dubai mentioned Tesher very casually to me and asked whether I have heard about his work and music. I was surprised that I heard of him as I am from Canada so I went to SoundCloud and heard his stuff, his music and really liked it. So I just sent him a quick message that I like his work and he replied back saying that he really liked my music and my work, my YouTube links and he liked my voice. He followed up with a few weeks later telling me that he was working on Jalebi Baby and looking for a background vocalist. And honestly, I had never done background work before I’ve always been the lead vocalist before but I was like, it’s covid pandemic and we are all stuck at home, so I was like why not help a fellow musician for the love of music because I’m so passionate about music, and hence I recorded my part at home on my laptop with a mic and that’s how Jalebi Baby happened.
The song has gone viral in unprecedented ways, your take on it? Did you envision that it will become such a massive hit?
I did expect it to become a success; I had a feeling about it. What happens is a lot of times with your experience and these days with social media, Instagram and TikTok you get an idea what kind of songs people listening to, the kind of groove, the kind of mood people are catching up to. So when I heard Jalebi Baby for the first time, I had a great feeling about it, it was a very catchy song and Tesher is a great producer so I expected it to do well. I knew the song will be talked about and people would start searching and reading about me and Tesher but the success is unprecedented. Like yesterday, I heard that the song was playing at the Olympics and I was like, ‘wow, yeh gaana duniya ke hark one mein pahunch gaya hai’.
Jalebi Baby has even found its way to marketing campaigns like Zomato and numerous dance covers on social media. What do you have to say to that?
Zomato move was done by Tesher’s team and it was a very smart move. And usually how the videos are done, and when it becomes such a hit and you have a Hollywood icon like Jason Derulo on board, a lot of these companies wants to come and have product placements. So it’s a win-win situation for the company/corporate as well as the artist. Zomato did a great job teaming up with Jason and Tesher and I’m sure they are reaping the benefits by teaming up with the artists.
Tesher and Jason Derulo from Jalebi Baby video
Were you surprised to find out that your voice was used as the leading hook in the song but the credit was given only to Tesher. Your take on it.
I just think that I wish I was informed that my voice is being taken as the leading hook and not presented as background vocals. Because when I recorded my part, Tesher and his manager had told me that they have background singers in place so I was under the impression that I would be one of the singers but then when the voice came out, you can hear the prominence of my voice. It’s extremely prominent, it’s the hook, the song is called Jalebi Baby and I am singing Jalebi Baby, so you know that surprised me a little bit because despite Tesher’s approach to the whole thing, so many people reached out to me and they have told me that they loved my voice in the song and they’ve said that they would like to see more of my works with Tesher, you know, and there have been a lot of questions from them like ‘Why they haven’t seen my name on Spotify?’ or ‘Why they haven’t seen my name on AmazonMusic, iTunes, Reels, TikTok?’ you name it and they have asked. People are surprised that my name has not been officially mentioned and trust me even I’m a bit surprised but I believe in the higher power and I believe in ‘Apna karam karo’, music is my life and the world has responded, despite this lack of credit or whatever you call it, I get tagged day-in and day-out on social media, my DMs are bursting. At the end of the days it’s the fans and the people you need to please and they have loved my voice and taken the effort to find out whose voice is this, is you know and they have found me on Instagram and sending me messages on Facebook and every social media platform; so that is my certificate of appreciation as you call it, that is my award. When people have loved me and accepted me with so much care and support and in fact they have been saying that ‘your voice is great and you should be at the forefront’ it feels great. Why Tesher did that I honestly do not know, I am very happy for his success and wish him all the best.
Any plans of collaborating again with Tesher in the future?
I think he would need to answer this. Actually the success of Jalebi Baby has skyrocketed so much that we had not had any opportunity to discuss any other project yet because he is still enjoying the fruits of the song and he is super busy just like me and we have both been busy with Jalebi Baby. We haven’t discussed anything yet but you never know.
You also became the youngest Indian vocalist to perform at the Carnegie Hall. Could you share your experience about it?
That was a surreal experience. That kind of an opportunity to come in someone’s life and that too so early in someone’s career is surreal. I think all thanks to the Higher Power out there, he’s been so kind to me. He introduced me to this group called The Piano Guys. I remember talking about them to my friend a week before it happened. A friend introduced them to me as I did not know about them and I looked up their work and their videos and I was blown away as they were shooting videos at The Great Wall of China, at Utah, at Grand Canyon, like so many breathtakingly scenic places and I was like ‘Man, it would be so cool to work with them’, and a week later they called me and told me that they want to record a song with me. They had heard about me from a woman in a plane, apparently they were taking a flight to Germany and they were looking at an Indian artist to collaborate with and that lady recommended a bunch of artists from India, and they came across my song Mere Saajan Sun Sun and they loved it and loved the video, they told me that they loved my smile and wanted to work with me. It was such a golden opportunity, such a beautiful video and that video touched like 21 million views at that time and went pretty viral. People from all over the world sent me messages and talking about my collaboration with them. The Piano Guys asked me to tour with them and we toured the US and Canada and one of the venues was the Carnegie Hall in the US and it was surreal experience because I remember I was backstage there and looking at all the greats who had performed there like Elton John, and musicians who have done work for years and here I am, it was so beautiful.
What are your future projects? Any new songs we should look out for from Bollywood or regional cinema?
I have a lot of projects lined up. I am working with a producer in the US and another in Sri Lanka. I am also working on a wedding song which I hope will become the wedding anthem of the year with a group called Josh. I am pretty occupied as of now and looking forward to all my work. I would love to sing for Bollywood as I had the opportunity to sing with Ayushmann Khurrana in Hawaizaada and did my debut in Tamil movie. I enjoy playback singing but let’s be honest you reach a bigger audience when you sing for movies and I am not the one to say that I don’t want that. I really want my voice to touch people’s hearts and I want to get into millions of household and playback is the way to that. So I would love to sing for playback. Right now there is nothing happening on this workfront but I hope in a few months I can come back and tell you that I am doing playback singing. I hope the success of Jalebi Baby gets me that big project.
With which music composer or singer are you dying to collaborate with?
This a very tricky question because there are so many of them. But if I really have to pick one then I would love to work with AR Rahman and Vishal-Shekhar. It’s actually a tie between them. One is like the powerhouse of talent and the other is a pocketful of energy. If it’s a duet then its hands down Sonu Nigam, he is my favourite. I toured with him and did two shows with him, you learn so much from the man. Not only does he take care of his vocal cords but he is also a workout buff and I loved working out with him, even today we send WhatsApp messages to each other and he takes time out from his busy schedule to mentor me and guide how to take care of my voice. So it’s Sonu Nigam all the way for me.