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Talented Darjeeling musicians using Facebook to showcase talent
When Nikki Gurung from Darjeeling uploaded a video on Facebook early last year and sang Jesssie J's famous number 'Price Tag' strumming the guitar along with her gripping voice, the video went viral among her friends. It received more than 200 likes and 100 comments for a 136 seconds clip within a week - justifying the power of Facebook, and how talented musicians, irrespective of location, can help themselves through social media's exponential reach.

Gurung is not the only one who has been posting such cover songs on Facebook walls. People around the world are doing so and some have even been approached by fellow musicians to sing in concerts as well as helping them open a new chapter in their life. “There was a person who approached me after watching my cover song. He wanted me to sing along with him in a concert in Kolkata. But, I had to refuse, due to personal reasons,” Gurung told this citizen journalist .

Social media has given voice and success to many musical achievers. Colbie Caillat rose to fame after her uploads in MySpace. A similar success story is of Jayme Dee, the Californian born singer who used to perform cover songs on YouTube. YouTube was where she began her career, and it helped her skyrocket to fame. These singers are an inspiration for those who want to make it big in the music industry. Who knows for one day, an unknown talented singer from India, and from Darjeeling, may bag a deal with Universal Records.

Facebook is not the only platform, where such musicians upload their songs. There are various other platforms that provide opportunity to be heard by those who live far and wide. This is the beauty of music – it has no borders and also unites people under one roof. A song sang in the Middle East or the the US can be heard residing in any part of the globe, provided one has an Internet connection. Some other platforms are YouTube, SoundCloud, MySapce, and ReverbNation.

Deikey Chhoden, another resident of Darjeeling, loves to express herself through her songs, does her bit in making her voice known, and uploads songs on both Facebook and SoundCloud. The shy girl, who hardly opened up her vocals for the outer public of late started to do so and she has been appreciated a lot in both the platforms, more so in Facebook. But she is not someone who sings and uploads songs without any reason. Deikey said, “Unlike others, I sing for myself. I sing songs, which helps me connect to my personal life. When I sing, I need to feel that song. It is not that I want fame or something through these uploads.

Nikki has a different point of view in this regard, as she explains as to why she uploads such songs on these platforms. “I do it for my personal happiness. I want a little bit of name and fame – this is being truthful. Definitely, you would want to be appreciated.” But apart from their reasons of singing and upload, they have something in common. They both long for a chance to sing songs on a greater stage and enhance their skills on singing. It's a dream for many talented musicians around the world, but it needs a lot of hard work.

For people who upload songs in Facebook, it is not all rosy. They do face some problems as well, especially the videos, which they put up are not the best in terms of quality– as it is a home recording video. There might be some external disturbances, when they upload and many similar problems could just crop up. Nikki is aware of such things as she said, “I relatively keep my expectations low from those who view, as the quality produced at home is of an inferior quality. It is a constraint.

Though, as mentioned earlier, there are many platforms to post their videos, but many such singers first preferred mode is Facebook. There are more than 800,000,000 Facebook users across the world, so the reach equation comes in here. Any regular user has a minimum of 300 plus friends, which just increases its chances of being liked, commented and shared. “Facebook helps a lot. Most of the people are active on Facebook and also it is best and the latest medium of communication. Even if one wants to share their music, after posting in YouTube or SoundCloud, it is always done through Facebook,” added Nikki.

Being on Facebook does not guarantee success. Richie Wong, from Kalimpong, Darjeeling, who has just started playing with a band, initially posted songs on Facebook but was not very successful, said, “I was trying to promote myself through Facebook. I was looking for a music band with whom I could sing but there was not much success.” Though there were some who invited him to play for jam sessions  somehow it did not match his requirements as to what he was looking for. So for someone like Wong, the most important thing was what he played, through which he finds inner happiness and peace, not just fame and money.

Darjeeling has many such talented singers but due to different personal and professional challenges they lose focus and their passion for music cannot take flight. In such a situation the availability of free to use platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud, and MySpace, if used wisely, can provide the initiation and road map for being found by talent scouts.

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