Alka Yagnik was born in Kolkata to a Gujarati family. Her mother Shubha Yagnik was a singer of Indian classical music. At the age of 6, she started singing for Calcutta Radio. At age 10, her mother brought her to Bombay as a child singer.

     She was advised to wait till her voice matured but her mother remained determined and on a subsequent visit, Alka got a letter of introduction to Raj Kapoor from his Kolkata distributor. Raj heard the girl and sent her with a letter to noted music director Laxmikant. Impressed, Laxmikant gave her two alternatives - an immediate start as a dubbing artist, or a later break as a singer.