Rhythm of Love: In Conversation with Ilitoli Kumsu Shohe

Growing up in a music-loving family, Ilitoli Kumsu Shohe has been fascinated by music since she was a little girl. She participated in the first season of Naga Idol and now successfully juggles her role as a musician and a wife.

In today’s Rhythm of Love, Shohe takes us through his musical journey.

Eastern Mirror: What inspired you to become a musician? Tell us about your musical journey?

Ilitoli Kumsu Shohe: Coming from a music loving family, my journey into music started when I was only five years old. I grew up listening to my mom’s lullabies, actively participated in my Sunday schools, and it became my first platform to play. My parents observed my quick grasping ability and keen interest in music and made me learn guitar when I was seven years old. I remember it was such an ethereal experience. There was no music teacher or vocal mentor at that time, so my mom and my teacher taught me songs and prepared me to perform. Music was my passion and I was totally into it, I started participating in all the music competitions and also won prizes in almost all of them, that’s how my musical journey started.

Eastern Mirror: Did you write any originals?

I’ve written a few songs so far, but one song I specifically want to mention is “MY HERO” which I wrote for my dad and recorded in 2020. I share a very close bond with my dad and we always have shared our love for music. I thought my voice was my father’s gift to me; everything I am today is thanks to him. His life inspired and motivated me to write this song for him.

Eastern Mirror: Your first stage performance.

I had my first public appearance in 2003. I was still a student and also had to focus on my studies, but I got my first break in 2006, where I participated in the first season of Naga Idol, organized by MDACC, and that’s where I discovered higher platforms and better opportunities to get a stage not only in Nagaland, but also in different parts of the northeastern states and India.

Eastern Mirror: Do you consider music as your profession?

It’s definitely yes, but in the end it’s all about hard work and smart work.

Eastern Mirror: If you could change one thing about the music industry in Nagaland, what would it be?

1. Provide equal opportunity to all deserving and talented artists, regardless of creed or color.

2. Sort out imitation, because it thwarts the beauty of music.

Eastern Mirror: What has been the best part of being a musician?

The best part of being a musician is that it makes us happy and lets us express ourselves through music, not only does that but it also fascinates others and connects us to the whole world.

Eastern Mirror: What was the hardest part of being a musician?

In my former musical journey, I never faced an uphill battle or struggle to be a musician. But from now on, being a married woman, being a full-time musician sometimes becomes difficult, because the life of a musician is demanding in terms of schedules and time. We have to juggle family responsibilities and chores, art and self and it gets slow to take care of many things at once, especially for a working woman. However, I am so grateful to share that my husband has always been very supportive of me and he was the one who pushed me through my music scene after marriage.

Eastern Mirror: Apart from music, do you have any hobbies or interests?

Yes, in addition to music, planting flowers and collecting them is also in the book of my life. I have a small flower garden right next to my house and it gives me immense joy to see them grow and bloom.

I am also a pet lover; I love animals and have always had them. At this point I am raising a German Shepherd, a Labrador and a Pug. As a woman full of emotions and feelings, I end up falling in love with all my pets; they are my best companions/friends.

Eastern Mirror: What are your strengths that you think have made you a successful musician?

Self-confidence, for which I only believe that confidence is the exceptional element to improve in everything we do.

Eastern Mirror: Highlight of your musical journey so far.

After graduation, I pursued theological studies and obtained my Bachelor of Divinity from Trinity Theological College. After which, I resumed vocal training and did the 8th year in classical singing. I have been in youth ministry and music ministry for five years and released two music albums – Give me life 2017 and Songs for every season 2020.

Right now I am in theoretical music studies and preparing for exams this year hopefully.

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