From hosting Karaoke Nights at Jazz by the Bay, Ramona Arena has come a long way with her notable role as VJ Ramona, her cameo stints in movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Aetbaar, Kuchh Naa Kaho and lead persona in the musical Oliver. Five years down from her last gig, she still retains her bubbly charm. Full of life, the girl-next-door turned diva, Ramona Arena talks about her passion, films and her biggest break so far.
She discovered her gift early on. “I sang before I spoke, sang through school and college winning all competitions I participated in. My whole life has been about music and being on stage, growing I had just one idol — Madonna. She was the apple of every 80s’ child’s eye. Started my career with radio (programming, hosting and scripting), hosted tons of karaoke nights at Jazz By The Bay where I got to sing a lot, moved onto MTV whilst it was still just all about the music, finally found some time to sing for Dj Aqeel and a Bollywood film Out Of Control. Then I left and after my hiatus, I’ve done lots of jingles for San Disk, Ponds, Toyota etc, lots of live gigs, formed a band and the rest is history,” says the former VJ, Ramona.
Leaving her mark
Talking about her international release Wanna Be Your Only Love, she says, “It has been my biggest break so far, as it established me as India’s first female singer /songwriter to release an international single and an international music video in this genre (electronic dance music). The others came after. But then again my genre isn’t only restricted to EDM so amongst the indie artists I’d say my style of singing, though its a happy little family where we support each other not bicker or fight over who is better. We appreciate everyone’s uniqueness and talent.”
Growing as an Artist
Ask her the one thing that defines herself and the answer would be, “The one that hasn’t been made yet... for if I knew what it was that defined me as a person, an artist, an entertainer, there’s nothing left to discover or learn. Each day I think I am one thing, by the time I go to bed I realise I am something else. As an artist I need to grow and expand, I am never fulfilled,” says Ramona.
Inspiration behind Wanna Be Your Only Love
She wrote Wanna Be Your Only Love in 2010 at home in Switzerland. “It was a poem I’d written for someone a long time ago. A friend of mine Thomas Eggli sent me a rough track and asked if I felt like throwing some vocals over it. So I wrote the vocal melody for it first and then I found a poem I’d written for someone, thought it’d would work perfectly with the melody I’d composed for it, adapted it.”
Ramona reveals that she wants to do rom-coms and art movies. “Because I do not believe I am cut out or made for the typical mainstream roles most commercial films have. I like things that are real, relatable, believable and make sense. I like leaving things open ended or with twists that blow ones mind away, not cliched happy endings where they all lived happily ever after, with beautiful pitch perfect singing voices and an instinct to miraculously know dance steps to any tune that plays. I mean I could do a couple for fun but in all honesty there’s no motivation to,” says the 32-year-old, who did a short role in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham as Kareena Kapoor’s friend.
Ramona talks about her love for scuba diving. It’s her love for the ocean that got her into the craze.
“I love diving. If I could I’d love to live by the beach, own a yatch and dive around the world. I’ve had many beautiful dives in lots of places, I love the Indian Ocean/Andaman Sea most for its warmth, diverse marine life and visibilty so anything from Mauritius to the Maldives to Thailand would be a favorite. I hate cold water.”