Tshering Dorji, a talented Bhutanese singer, embarked on his musical journey on a reality show in 2010. Since then, he has mesmerized audiences with his incredible vocal prowess. With over 20 melodious tracks to his credit, he has become well-known for his remarkable voice and distinct style.
One of his recent releases, “Gaw Mey Gaw Mey,” a collaboration with Suchetha Satish, the Guinness World Record holder, has captivated the hearts of both Indian and Bhutanese music enthusiasts. This melodious masterpiece has garnered appreciation from fans across borders, showcasing Tshering Dorji’s remarkable ability to touch souls through his music.
Q. When did you embark on your singing journey, and could you share with us the impressive number of songs you have performed thus far?
A. I commenced my singing journey back in 2010 when I participated in the esteemed Bhutanese reality show, Druk Star, all thanks to the invaluable guidance of Kencho Wangdi. It was during my studies that I decided to seize the opportunity and rushed to Thimphu for the auditions right after completing my 12th grade. Fortunately, I was fortunate enough to secure a spot among the top 20 contestants. Subsequently, I had the privilege of lending my voice to several movies, including ‘Bardo’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Moreover, I have contributed my vocal talents to over 20 songs for my personal album and various productions.
Q. Kindly share your experiences and reflect upon the remarkable moments you have encountered throughout your singing journey.
A. Becoming a singer offers the opportunity to encounter a diverse range of personalities. Among my most cherished memories, one that stands out is from 2018 when I had the incredible privilege of being part of a group sent to Dubai to perform during the birth anniversary celebration of our beloved king. It was a momentous occasion that remains etched in my mind as a truly unforgettable experience.
Q. Could you please elaborate on the challenges you have encountered in your singing career and elaborate on the strategies and approaches you employ to overcome these obstacles?
A. Unlike other countries, our nation’s smaller population presents challenges in terms of accessing significant platforms and stages for performers. Throughout the years, from 2010 to 2023, singing has been my sole occupation, without any alternative work. I have relied solely on my singing to sustain myself. Fortunately, my wife, who is also a singer herself, has been an immense source of support. Despite not having a conventional job, I have managed to thrive, and I attribute this success largely to the unwavering support and encouragement provided by my wife.
Q. As a singer, what specific features or elements do you incorporate in your performances to effectively promote and preserve your culture and traditions?
A. In the renowned show Druk Star, we are required to sing Zhungdra and Boedra as a compulsory component. By embracing these traditional songs, which hold great significance in our culture, we contribute to their promotion and preservation. In every concert and show I participate in, we make it a point to showcase the enchanting melodies of Boedra and Rigsar, further emphasizing our commitment to upholding our cultural heritage.
Q. Who or what served as your inspiration to pursue singing, and do you believe it is feasible to sustain a livelihood solely through singing in Bhutan?
A. Since a young age, I have harbored a deep passion for singing. During my time in class 11 in Paro, I had the privilege of being taught by Dasho Namgay R Dorji, whose influence played a significant role in inspiring me to pursue my musical aspirations. Furthermore, I held Namgay R Dorji and Namgay Jigs as my idols, constantly looking up to them for inspiration and guidance. Presently, I have even ventured into opening my own production, further expanding my involvement in the music industry.
Q. From your perspective, how do you perceive the evolution and transformation of music over the course of time?
A. In earlier times, one of the primary challenges was the lack of advanced technology, which resulted in inadequate recording systems and facilities. However, in today’s era, technology no longer acts as a barrier and has greatly expanded our possibilities. Despite occasional claims from some youths expressing a disinterest in Bhutanese songs and movies, the truth remains that there is hardly anyone who genuinely dislikes them.
Q. Could you kindly outline your future plans and aspirations?
A. Up until now, I have been involved in various projects for different individuals, but presently, I have formed a group consisting of individuals with a background in music. We are currently in the process of preparing the stages for a reality show called “Melodies of Bhutan.” While I am unsure of how the program will unfold, our group is diligently working hard to make it a success.
Q. How did you come across the opportunity to collaborate and sing with Sucheta Shrestha? Could you share your experiences and insights gained from this collaboration?
A. As Sucheta Shrestha came across my song “Zung na Zung na,” her interest in Bhutanese songs was piqued, leading her to choose that particular song for her World Guinness Record attempt. This connection facilitated our collaboration, and subsequently, she sang “Toh Dha Tsoem” with Hemlal Darjee before joining me for the duet “Gaw Mey Gaw mey.” Through these experiences, we had the opportunity to personally get to know each other better. Our bond has grown stronger, and we now consider ourselves more like family. It’s worth mentioning that her father has been incredibly supportive throughout her musical journey.
I firmly believe that it is possible to build a sustainable livelihood through singing. While education is important, it is equally crucial to recognize the value of experience and skills in pursuing a career in music. If you have a passion for singing and possess the necessary talents, I encourage you to work diligently on honing your skills and seizing opportunities in the music industry. With dedication and perseverance, you can carve a successful path for yourself as a singer.