Since Anita released her Punjabi album Heer from Denmark in India in November 2006, her career as an international recording artist and star has expanded by leaps and bounds. She is the first non-Asian woman from the West to sing and release a solo album in Punjabi.
Asians/Indians across the globe have shown great appreciation and support for her work and talent. This has led to her touring all over the world performing and entertaining huge crowds with her unique and electrifying performances.
Anita came to India for the first time in the summer 2005, where she visited the Apple Orchard of Mr. Anurag Sood in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh. She was invited to Punjab and was immediately mesmerized by the Punjabi culture and music. Within just three months stay in Hoshiarpur with Mr. Sood and his family, Anita learned to sing in Punjabi and her first solo album soon became a reality.
Punjab has since then become Anita’s second home and she is continuously travelling the world performing and promoting Punjabi Language, Culture and Music. Her deep passion is to spread happiness, unite different cultures through her singing and bring East and West closer together.
The Times of India, 22nd November 2006, “Anita has also rendered traditional Heer in the album and succeeded in imbuing the depth, pain and passion of the rich composition. In fact, going by her style and pronunciation, one would get the impression that she is a Punjabi only to discover that she is a white.”
Indian Express, 25th October 2010, “Lerche sang in what is referred to as “Theth Punjabi” which basically means the accent is perfect and native….Lerche scores because she is totally uninhibited with terrific energy, and a delight to watch, performing the gidda. For a gori with the right lachaks, singing our tunes, the sky’s the limit.”
Denmark’s Ambassador in India, Freddy Svane: “Culture is one of the major bridge builders between countries, people, and human beings. Anita Lerche is a distinguished representative of the courage that makes the world smaller and the distances shorter. Music and dance is also a language which is understood by all. With Anita Lerche dances and cradles Denmark and India. This we all need.”
It was on a trekking vacation in India, far away from my singing career in the West, that my life took a new and unexpected direction. The magnificent nature of the Himalayas was simply breathtaking. I found myself singing and dancing around the campfire with the local tribesmen in the beautiful apple orchard of Mr. Anurag Sood and felt my heart opening. After learning a few Himachali songs, my good friend Gunnar suggested that we work on a musical project called ‘East meet West’ and Anurag invited us to his home in the northern state of Punjab to record them. On the bus to Punjab, I was mesmerized by the driver’s Punjabi music. The music and the rhythms were so inspiring, I wanted to dance there and then in the bus. I felt that this was the music I had been looking for. While recording in the studio my talent was recognized and I was offered a recording contract. Since I had already fallen in love with Punjabi music, I decided to cancel my shows in Europe, put my career on hold and stay back in India to follow my heart.
I was born and raised in a small Danish town called Herlev just outside Copenhagen with my Danish parents and younger brother. The house was full of music. My father used to sing and play he guitar for us. I remember him telling me about my great grandfather who were a professional singer and musician. As soon as I got the chance, at the age of seven, I began singing in the school choir. Deeply inspired by my father and the passionate school choir conductor, I was soon convinced that I wanted to become a singer myself. The Danish Radio Girls Choir became an excellent training for me and I got my first taste of the professional world as a singer and performer at the age of 13, touring Denmark with an opera for children.
Singing became my life’s passion, and my voice developed further through many years of classical training and many live performances. I trained as a singer, dancer and actress at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. Immediately after graduation I was recruited to be part of the Operetta ‘Trial by Jury’, my West End debut, that was playing at the Royal Courts of Justice. I had a wonderful time in London playing the part of Maria in ‘West Side Story – highlights’ accompanied by a 70-piece orchestra and a huge chorus. The musical ‘The White Horse Inn’ played in Copenhagen and I have a lot of fond memories of this show. In the middle of the run, and with only a few hours preparation, I was asked to play one of the leads. Luckily it went well and I was asked to play the role for the rest of the run.
While I was doing theatre shows, my career as a concert singer in Europe was also growing steadily. A dream came true when I was selected to be part of the Danish Eurovision – a television song contest that I had loved watching with my parents every year throughout my childhood. Also I had an amazing experience singing the American National Anthem at the Mike Tyson vs. Brian Nielsen boxing match, broadcast to over 200 million people worldwide. My first solo album ‘I Love a Piano’ consisted of some of my favorite songs from the Pop and Musical Theatre genre, and dubbing the Danish voice of Barbie for the animation movies ‘Toy Story 2 & 3’ was a lot of fun 🙂
For me the voice is a very versatile instrument and is one of the reasons that I easily could learn to sing Punjabi songs, from a technical point of view. Pronouncing words in Punjabi was very challenging to begin with, even though I had already sung in 13 other languages. I experienced an incredible hospitality and support from Anurag and his family, so with a lot of hard and focused work I was able to sing fluently in Punjabi after only a couple of months. I used my daily yoga routines to boost me with power and energy, and during my stay in Punjab I fell in love with the Punjabi culture, the food and all the colors. Punjab quickly turned into my second home.
After a year in India my album ‘Heer from Denmark’ was released and to my surprise I realized that I was the first and only Western girl to have released an album in the Punjabi language. The feedback I got from the media and Punjabis around the world was simply amazing. I was honored by the Punjabi University, received multiple awards and was touring in North India and around Europe, USA, Canada and other parts of the world, which was like living my dream. I also got into singing religious Hindi Bhajans, Shabads and Bollywood songs.
Music is a universal language that speaks directly to the heart, so it can unite people from different cultures and eliminate existing borders. I am excited about living my dream and seeing what the future will bring. To me life is one big adventure and I truly believe that everyone is unique and born into this world for a specific reason.
Follow your heart and your dreams – and everything is possible!
Honors & Awards
- SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION AWARD, (UK Bhangra Awards, UK), 2019
- BEST INTERNATIONAL ARTIST (UK Bhangra Awards, UK), 2017
- KHALSA LIBRARY SOCIETY (Surrey, Canada), Honor Award, 2017
- Appreciation Award from Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, 2017
- Honored as “CHRISTEL HOUSE AMBASSADOR” by Christel DeHaan and Christel House International, 2016
- ONE WORLD MUSIC AWARDS, nominated with “Bhajans” for “Best World/Global Fusion Album of 2016″
- GLOBAL PUNJABI SOCIETY AWARD, Conspicuous Singer, 2013
- AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE, by Universal Peace Federation & Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, 2012
- INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADOR FOR MULTICULTURALISM, honored by Indian Australian Dancing Star, 2012
- CULTURAL AMBASSADOR FOR WOMEN GLOBALLY, honored by Global Women’s Network, Sydney, 2012
- APPRECIATION AWARD, from NamCanada (Mississauga), Pakistan Independence Day, 2012
- Honored as “AKTION BØRNEHJÆLP AMBASSADOR”, 2018
- NOMINATED FOR DANISH WORLD MUSIC AWARD, for her song “Sadke Punjab Ton”, 2013
- NOMINATED FOR DANISH WORLD MUSIC AWARD, for the for the track “Soniye” written and produced by Stephan Grabowski, 2013
- CULTURAL AMBASSADOR BETWEEN INDIA & DENMARK, honored by Indian Ambassador of Denmark, Mr. Ashok Kumar Attri, 2011
- PRIDE OF THE INDIANS AWARD, from Indian Cultural Society Denmark, 2010
- DANISH WORLD MUSIC AWARD, for World Track Of The Year with “Maahiya”, 2009
- Punjabi Cultural & Welfare Association (PCWA), Navi Mumbai, honored for service to humanity and Punjabi’s worldwide, 2014
- Honored by National TV Channel DD Punjabi (India), 2013
- ROOH-E-PUNJAB AWARD (The Soul of Punjab), International Cultural Society (Redg.) Shamchurasi, 2013
- Honored by Chief Minister of Punjab, during the State Level Shiromani Sahit Award Ceremony, organised by Punjab Language
Department at Punjab Bhaven Chandigarh, 2012
- POPULAR MULTILINGUIST SINGER AWARD, by Prof. Mohan Singh Foundation, Nabha, 2012
- ROTARY STAR AWARD, from Rotary Club Jalandhar West, 2012
- CULTURAL REPRESENTATIVE, honored by Punjab Kesari Group, 2012
- BEST NRI FEMALE DEBUT, Limca Punjabi Music Awards – Music Channel MH1, 2007
- SITA MATA AWARD, from New Dharmik Utsav Sabha (Jalandhar) for singing Hindi Bhajans, 2007
- PUNJABI UNIVERSITY, Patiala, honored for her grand work for Punjabi Language and Culture, 2006
Voice Acting (Dubbing into Danish)
On top of Anita’s experience in musical theater and the recording world, she has worked as a voice actor for Disney, Pixar, and a Barbie books series. While she was working as a freelancer, Anita took many classes on singing, dancing, and acting, including a short class on dubbing. Soon she was recruited by Danish actor and producer Lars Thiesgaard to dub a Barbie books series into Danish. Later, she appeared in the second and third Toy Story movies as well as Planes.
- CARS 3, as Sweet Tea and Commercial Narrator, 2017
- PLANES, as Ishani, 2013
- TOY STORY 3, as Barbie, 2010
- TOY STORY 2, as Tour Guide Barbie, 1999
- BARBIE OG UNDULATEN (Audiobook), as Barbie, 1998
- BARBIE PAA SYDHAVSOEN (Audiobook), as Barbie, 1997