'Music has become technical'

Honing skills

A lot of performers may be looking to carve a niche for themselves, but playback singer Rajesh Krishnan seems to be embracing the opposite philosophy — taking up diverse projects with the same zeal, and belting out a string of hits including romantic, tragic and even classically-inclined songs.

Neither is he limiting himself to just singing; he’s been judging singing competitions for the last five years, and has even tried his hand modelling for commercials. Given the rather extensive fan-base he enjoys, it appears that his formula is working. Metrolife caught up with Rajesh to find out more.

He comes from a musically-inclined family, so it was no surprise that he stepped into this field. “I started about 21 years back. I had a liking for singing, especially playback singing, and was inspired by S P Balasubramaniam, who, for all practical purposes, was basically my guru,” he explains. He’s quick to add that though his mother, a Carnatic vocalist, did influence him to a certain extent, he’s also developed his own style of singing which is different from hers. “She didn’t influence me entirely; she just helped me with some basics, like vocal exercises,” he says.

Ask him whether he prefers any specific genre of song, and he maintains that playback singing gives him the chance to take up many different styles of music. “It’s a huge canvas, and you can experiment with all kinds of songs. If the movie deals with a classical subject, you get to perform classical music too,” he explains.

Ask him what he feels about the kind of music that’s floating around the industry these days, and he says, thoughtfully, “This may sound cliched, but it’s getting more technical. Composers are experimenting with new songs. There are also lots of other influences creeping into the industry, like Sufi and western styles, and composers are getting more abstract.”

Ask him about his stint as a judge, and he says it’s been very satisfying. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to give insight to amateur singers. Singing into a mic is very different from singing as it is — there’s a completely different attitude and mindset which is required,” he informs, adding, “I have gathered plenty of experience in the last 21 years, and this is an opportunity to share it with youngsters. I’ve seen some very good talent in the last five years.”

Rajesh has received quite a few awards for his singing, but he modestly attributes this to the fact that he’s been lucky with his songs. “I’ve had only good ones, and thus they get awards. It does give me some satisfaction, though — these are songs that people remember,” he claims.

Any advice for aspiring singers in Bangalore? “Run-of -the-mill stuff doesn’t work anymore. You need to bring a completely different sound to your singing, something that hasn’t been heard before and which catches the ear,” he says. He also warns about avoiding the ‘one-song-wonder’ status. “So many singers sing one song, and then vanish. It takes a lot to sustain yourself in this industry. Your song has to become a hit, in such a way that people want to hear it again and again,” he concludes.

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