Diving into Hollywood
Indian star Priyanka Chopra making her mark in the US with high-profile gigs & her first solo single
Bollywood babe Priyanka Chopra has been stepping up her game in the US since last year, but now she's really going full throttle.
Lend her voice to a Hollywood movie? Check.
Front a campaign for American fashion brand Guess? Check.
This year, the sexy actress is channelling her energies towards her international music career.
Chopra, 31, recently released her first solo single, I Can't Make You Love Me, an upbeat dance cover of the 1991 Bonnie Raitt classic ballad she discovered "after some stupid boy broke my heart".
She previously collaborated with US rappers will.i.am and Pitbull for her singles, In My City (2012) and Exotic (2013), respectively.
I Can't Make You Love Me's music video, which displays her acting chops as a lovelorn victim of an unrequited romance, also stars US actor Milo Ventimiglia as her love interest.
The video has attracted over 1.7 million views on YouTube and the song topped the iTunes India singles chart within 24 hours of its release.
Chopra sees her foray in the US market as a personal challenge and has no plans to stop soon.
She said on entertainment programme Young Hollywood: "I just love everything that I do, whether it's making music, acting, travelling - I enjoy it. I'll sleep when I die!"
Chopra, who voiced spirited Pan-Asian champion racing plane Ishani in the 2013 Disney animation Planes, and who became the rare Asian face in a Guess fashion campaign last year, has more reason to feel proud.
The former Miss World 2000 is perhaps the only Indian star to have successfully made inroads into the cutthroat US music industry, signed with a major record label and have an upcoming English-language album in the works.
She reportedly collaborated with producers RedOne (Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Scherzinger), Timbaland (Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and Demi Lovato) and Zedd (Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga) on the upcoming album.
Bollywood-Hollywood crossovers are not that rare - think Aishwarya Rai, Anil Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan.
But not many Bollywood actresses can boast they are labelmates with Madonna, Dr. Dre, Maroon 5, One Republic and Lady Gaga - all of whom, like Chopra, are with Interscope Records.
Even Robin Thicke, The Black Eyed Peas and Nick Cannon have publicly shown support for her debut. Cannon was at the launch of her latest music video, while The Black Eyed Peas and Thicke had spread word of her new song on Twitter.
In fact, Chopra, the first Bollywood star to be signed by top Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) back in 2012, rubbed shoulders with Hollywood heavyweights Kevin Spacey and John Travolta at the recent International Indian Film Academy Awards in Tampa, Florida, and pop star Britney Spears in Las Vegas.
She told Elle magazine in a recent interview on her move from modelling to acting to singing: "I think I was maybe meant to do this in a way.
"I really believe in destiny and I feel like I'm destiny's favourite child in a way. I was just led into it."
Chopra might hit the jackpot with this new turn in her career, but local Bollywood fans The New Paper spoke to think she should stick to acting.
After all, the award-winning Krrish 3 (2013) star has bagged accolades and received nominations for her lead roles in Barfi! (2012) and Fashion (2009), among others.
Writer Anjali Raguraman, 25, said: "Kudos to her, but as a consumer, I'm not buying this. Her take on I Can't Make You Love Me is terrible, although the music video shows her as an actress. That is what I like her for."
Even though Miss Anjali describes Chopra's vocal chops as "mediocre", she said the actress "has the complete package and is a ready-made pop star - she is good-looking, she can dance and she has great presence, which makes it easy for her to cross over".
Bollywood fan Nur Khairiyah Ramli called her "over-ambitious".
The 27-year-old programme manager said: "You have to give her props for being bold enough to venture out.
"But her singing is just nice, nothing special. She should enjoy this phase because I don't think producers will be lining up to work with her on a second album."
But HOT FM 91.3 radio DJs Cheryl Miles and Adam Piperdy differed and think she could have legs in the industry.
Miles, 38, said: "I Can't Make You Love Me is one of my favourite songs and I really like her rendition. It's very radio-friendly.
"I think she has potential to make it big as the rare Asian artist in the US and she makes no attempt to accommodate to the standards of the US film and music industry by not appearing overly raunchy, staying true to her roots and retaining her name.
"She's exotic - how can you not love her?"
Piperdy, 24, agreed: "She's graceful and has raw beauty. I think the industry is always looking out for something different and she is it."
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