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The Record talks exclusively to Amrita from Rouge, the British Asian girl band whose debut single Donít Be Shy is the hit song of moment both back in the UK and in India.

The Record: Tell us about your first song Donít Be Shy which features on the Friction album here in India.
Amrita: Donít Be Shy is the song that we are starting out with, weíre starting in England in the Asian market there. Itís really big there at the moment, and itís really big in India now also I hear. So yeah, itís big in the UK and everyone is really enjoying it.

TR: Tell us about the album.
Amrita: Weíre working on the album and weíre hoping it will be released soon. Itís got a bit of everything in it Ė Hindi elements, we have a girl who sings in Arabic, so hopefully there will be an Arabic influence, someone sings in Iranian so there are a lot of influences from different things. We also like to do pop and R&B, to keep a bit of the UK in it as well. We tend to write all of the songs, Donít Be Shy was written by us and we have just written a new song and are in the process of writing more. Specifically for me itís been quite difficult to find the time but songwriting comes quite naturally to us. Itís something to which you bring your own experiences in life and just put it down on paper really.

TR: Why did you call yourself Rouge?
Amrita: It was one of those things that when we were thinking of a name it was difficult, a lot of names came about but nothing really settled. When we came up with Rouge it meant more to it Ė red, love, power, feminism and all of the sort of powerful things that girls ask for.

TR: Did you know each other before you became a band?
Amrita: No we didnít. We were all introduced to each other.

TR: How has the adjustment among the girls been?
Amrita: We spend every other week together which is really nice. Itís been great. I really love the girls, theyíve become like my sisters. Iím probably the mother of the band in a sense, because Iím always saying ĎWe should do this, do thatí, keeping everyone in line almost to say. Laura is the funny one, she jokes around, keeps us all smiling and I think Legha is a very heartfelt person, sheís very loving, she is sort of the one who gives us all the attention and the love, and sheís the beautiful one.

TR: Now that you get recognised in the street do you have any interesting stories to tell us?
Amrita: Yeah lots of different things have happened. I was shopping in my local Tesco and someone announced on the intercom that one of the girls from Rouge is shopping and that was quite embarrassing for me. I was just like ĎOh my Godí I kept my head down and walked out. [Laughs] Little things like that happen all the time, people stop you and go ĎYouíre that girl from Rouge can I have your autograph?í

TR: And whatís an interesting place that youíve heard your song playing at?
Amrita: I walked out of a shop and this car full of young girls, probably about early to mid-twenties, drove past and there was slow moving traffic and they were playing our song really really loud. It was an amazing feeling because I walked out and looked at them and they were sitting right in front of me in this car and they turned around and they saw me and I was like ĎOh my God, theyíre playing our songí and for me it was just a surreal experience. One of the girls turned and pointed at me and I thought they recognised me and I just walked.

TR: Do you like to play live gigs?
Amrita: We like to do live gigs. That is what being a performer is all about, being able to sing in front of people and being able to carry a good talented voice in front of people without all the nerves, just being able to perform live.

TR: Weíve interacted with so many British-Asian artists over the last year. Is it a close community there?
Amrita: Yeah in terms of specific gigs and stuff, Iíve run into artists like Raghav and Jay Sean many times. But in terms of the networking we donít always get time to spend with each other. Iíve spoken to Raghav a few times, heís become a friend of ours. But I havenít had the chance to speak to Jay Sean. But yeah it is a close network in the sense of we all interlock with each other.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Rouge in the January 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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