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Vandana Vishwas

From being a child prodigy at the tender age of four, trained and degreed in Indian-classical music, and an All India Radio artist as a teenager, to performing on a national stage that served as the launching platform for many playback singers in Bollywood, to giving it all up to pursue a career in Architecture and shaping the skylines of cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Dubai and Toronto for more than 22 years, to restarting her music by composing, singing and producing two full length music albums while still working full time in Architecture, to finally giving the lucrative career in Architecture up to dedicate full attention to music, and re-establishing herself as a leading, critically acclaimed award winning World-musician in the south Asian genre, Indo-Canadian - Vandana Vishwas is a musician par excellence who has no contemporary parallel.

Vandana was born in the historic north Indian city, Lucknow and raised in the pristine Chhattisgarh province of central India. Being deeply impacted both physically and emotionally due to an unfortunate medical accident in her infancy resulting out of negligence of a nurse, Vandana was left to deal with lifelong pain and partial immobility. Music became her way to deal with pain and agony and what was a tragedy for her, became a blessing for those around her, as they were treated with one of the purest and most divine voices ever to exist on face of this earth. Vandana was a prodigal singer when she was four and sang extremely complex melodies with ease, prompting her parents to enroll her for Indian-classical vocal lessons. She began learning from Pandit Parashuram Sharma at age five, and later from Mrs. Vimal Soni. Despite an unfortunate four-year break in her musical training due to severe tonsillitis, she earned a ‘Sangeet Visharad’ (the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in Indian classical music) from ABGMM By the time she was sixteen, Vandana had already started composing music. She completed her regular schooling in tandem within this time.

Over the course of the next five years spent earning her bachelor’s degree in architecture and for a few years thereafter, Vandana was a contract artist with All India Radio for approximately ten years, where she sang songs composed by herself and her mentor Mr. D.K. Gandhe. During one such recording session, she was heard by renowned ghazalist brothers Ustaad Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain. They were so impressed by her voice that they took her under their tutelage and taught her the intricacies of ghazal singing. Learning the romantic and expressive qualities of ghazal singing from Mr. Gandhe and Hussain brothers shaped her unique vocal style.

Shortly after her graduation in architecture, Vandana was invited and performed on the Indian national TV channel Doordarshan and at the prestigious Acharya Brihaspati Sammelan conducted by Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai, the stage where many legendary Indian artists have performed early in their career. Although she had dreamt of singing for Bollywood movies as a child, Vandana consciously chose not to pursue that dream because the impossibly demanding life of the bustling city of Mumbai made it a difficult place to survive - given her physical limitations at that time. Instead, she chose to focus her attention to architecture and moved to Dubai with her college mate-turned-husband- turned music co-producer, Vishwas Thoke, where she spent five years putting together skyscrapers and without much music in her life.

However, things started changing when the couple immigrated to Toronto, Canada. Her debut self-composed and produced album Meera-The Lover (2009) based on legendary 16th century Indian poet queen Meera Bai, created wide ranging ripples in Canadian & US World Music circles through rave reviews from leading music critics and some much coveted awards, and sophomore album Monologues (2013), that took musical creativity to a new level by redefining the treatment of traditional south Asian song forms such as Ghazals, Nazms, Geet & Thumri with some interesting western influences. Like the first one, this album was also co-produced by Vandana Vishwas and Vishwas Thoke, and was released in India by Worldwide Records in February 2013, launched in Mumbai by legendary Indian playback singer Suresh Wadkar.

Within the short span of time that she restarted her music in Canada, Vandana has won silver medal at Global Music Awards, Toronto Independent Music Award 2016, ICACI Woman Hero Award 2015, Marty Award 2012, US Indies 2011 Vox-Pop Award, 2010 Toronto Best World CD Award by TEM and has been a nominee and honourable mention holder at several Canadian and US awards such as the Canadian Indies 2010, Toronto Independent Music Awards 2010 and 2014 and the much coveted K.M. Hunter award for music by Ontario Arts Council.

Songs from both her albums debuted at Top 10 in diverse community FMs all over Canada and stayed there for weeks. She has been featured by leading Indian, US and Canadian newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, despite being an independent artist with no label or artist manager or booking agent working for her. Through word of mouth and sheer merit, she got handpicked for prestigious events such as the Toronto Harbourfront Centre Summer Festival Hot Spot 2010, Masala Mehndi Masti 2009, Culture days, Mississauga 2011, 2012,2013 & 2014, Latin-Afro-South Asian Cultural concert by LCCA Toronto, Candian National Exhibition (CNE) 2014, Small World Music South Asian Series 2014, Festival des Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke 2014 and the numerous community concerts for organizations such as Sacred Arts & Music Alliance (SAMA) etc.

Vandana’s recent projects have included composing, arranging, singing and producing the theme track for the Hindi novel Samarsiddha written by UK novelist Sandeep Nayyar, published by Penguin India in July 2014.

With the release of Parallels, her third full length album the globe is again treated to this enigmatic voice and gets to delight in its treasures. Right from it's debut for airplay, Parallels topped the RMR (Root Music Report) world charts and stayed there for four weeks in a row until the last update. It also debuted at the CMJ New World charts at No. 9. Within less than a month since its debut, 'Parallels' has already fetched Vandana the Toronto Independent Music award 2016 and silver medal at Global Music Awards.