In the picturesque land of Mizoram, lives a 4-year-old singing sensation – Esther Hnamte, who is winning hearts with her beautiful rendition of Maa Tujhe Salaam by AR Rahman. The music video has garnered 171,000 views in just three days since its release.
Hailing from College Veng in Lunglei district, Esther is the youngest of 3 siblings to father Lalrinenga Hnamte, and mother R Lalawmpui. In an exclusive interview, EastMojo caught up with the child prodigy and her mother.
Here are the edited excerpts of the interview:
Esther’s music videos are garnering huge viewership. The latest one, a cover of Maa Tujhe Salaam was noticed by the legendary AR Rahman himself, how does it feel?
We are very shocked to know that Mr AR Rahman himself has noticed the video; he is an icon. This cover is a stepping stone for all the Indians, the diverse cultures of India to bring unity to everyone.
We are very thankful that people all over India appreciate the video. It is beyond expectation; we want to thank everyone for that.
What is Esther’s response? Does she understand what is going on?
She is still very young, so she is unable to understand everything that is going on. She loves to sing, she learns these songs, goes and sings these songs in studios, she performs. But she doesn’t quite understand much as she is just 4-year-old. So sometimes when she goes out, and people ask her that you are that famous child singer, she replies: No! It’s not me. It must be someone else.
She doesn’t understand the popularity, the whole fame, or how much people appreciate her. She is just doing what she loves, and she loves to sing.
How did Esther take up singing? What drew her to it?
Esther has been singing since she could barely talk, before turning 2. The neighbourhood kids and siblings would make her sing. She could memorise long lines and words at a time when she couldn’t even pronounce words correctly. So after she turned 3, I used the whole COVID-19 situation as an opportunity. We had more time at home, so I started putting in some effort, and we started practising every day. And then we gave a shot to recording something. The first song was recorded at home and turned out quite good. After that, we decided to make a video out of it and got a great response. It gave us more enthusiasm to do better. We wanted to put more effort, so Esther started doing new and different songs since then.
Your daughter is being hailed as a child prodigy. Even before learning alphabets, she has already sung songs in 3 languages- Mizo, English and Hindi, how did that happen?
When I was pregnant with Esther, the doctor had confirmed that the pregnancy was a risk to my health. We were even thinking of terminating the pregnancy, but I wanted to go through this pregnancy. I said, let’s see how this goes. I have faith in God. So I went through the pregnancy saying no matter what, I want to have this child, and thankfully I was able to deliver Esther healthily.
When she was an infant, even while at the hospital, she would cry so loud, her voice was so loud, and people in the hospital would tell me that I think your child is going to be an excellent singer. She has a perfect, high pitched voice. So looking back, I think, maybe what they said is coming true now.
When we want her to learn some song, we play it loud while Esther is playing with her friends, or toys, doing something else. So that she can memories it without putting any pressure on her. So by the time we teach her, she has already learnt major parts of the song. Even the English song, One Day At the time, we made her listen to the song in the morning, and by evening we were able to record the song already. That’s how quick she learns after she is listening to a song, willing or unwillingly.
Once you get enrolled to a school, will would continue to sing?
Esther: Yes, I love to sing.