KATHMANDU – Ankita Pun grew up never knowing that she could sing, and sing very well at that. She would casually participate in group antaksharis (a singing game) and join in with her friends. For her singing was fitting in with the tunes of others and an occasional indulgence. Only when she won a music competition in grade four did she realize that music was her calling. She imagined herself being a musician as an adult and this dream appealed to her more than anything else ever did. So she listened to a great deal of songs, the classics, and the trending. “Back then we didn’t have internet so I listened to whatever that played on the television and whatever my father had stored in his phone,” she recalls.

Born and raised in Dang, Ankita had limited access to popular music growing up. Despite that she listened to a lot of artists whom she grew to respect. She particularly admired Jeevan Gurung’s music. “The melody of his songs and him singing as though he were entranced by his own music captivated me,” she says. She took basic guitar lessons and practiced singing all by herself. She guessed that her family wouldn’t be all too pleased about her musical direction. But she wanted a platform to share her music and, inspired by the legions of cover artists on YouTube, decided to open an account too. So, in May 2018, she opened her YouTube channel and began uploading her covers.

Some of her earlier covers were from Aastha Tamang Maskey and Tribal Rain. To her surprise, people warmly received her covers and seemed to like her vocals. But it was her cover of ‘Hattaarindai Bataasindai’ by Sajjan Raj Vaidya that brought more people to her channel. The video has been viewed 110,000 times and the Vaidya himself commented on the video praising her for her cover.

Today, Ankita has close to 9000 subscribers but has yet to monetize her account. She’s taking a break from studies and is the vocalist of the band Ethereal. Although her mother has always been supportive, her father is against her taking a gap year to pursue music. But Ankita explains that her hiatus isn’t just for music’s sake but because she has yet to determine what she wants to do in life. “Music, I know, will always remain with me but I sort of feel lost. But I will do my very best to pursue music as I continue my studies,” she asserts.