'Singing just happened to me'

'Singing just happened to me'

Sripati Panditharadhyula Balasubrahmanyam, better known as SP Balasubrahmanyam, is admired by people of all age groups.  He charmed everyone with his charisma at Hotel Atria recently, where he came to launch the ‘52nd Ganesha Utsava’.

Acclaimed for his skills as a playback singer, actor, music director and film producer, he has sung over 40,000 songs in a number of languages. Affectionately known worldwide as SPB, he has sung in renowned movies like Shankarabharanam and Roja. Though he has a number of awards in his kitty, including two civilian honours, he remains a humble person.

“All the producers have given me great songs to work with. I don’t have a favourite because everybody has given me something different. Just like each flower has its unique fragrance, every director and producer have their own style and I have done something different with each of them. A give-and-take policy between the composer, producer and director leads to a good song.”

He does not want anyone to look up to him as well. “I don’t want give any particular advice on ‘riyaaz’ as I don’t want youngsters to practise like me. Singing just happened to me and what I am today is because of God’s grace. It may not happen to everyone. I have immense respect for my profession and sing with my heart and soul.”

Commenting on today’s reality shows, he says, “Each show has its own pros and cons. They are a good platform for hidden talent to come out. However, the modus operandi of a few shows does not appeal to me. How long the youngsters’ last depends on their talent, destiny and hard work.”

Speaking about the music industry in the City, he says, “Bangalore is a very welcoming City and embraces all forms of music, be it classical, folk, cinema or even retro. The Kannada music industry has given some great melodies.”

He has fond memories of ‘Ganesha Habba’ celebrations. “Once, I had gone to Chicago for a concert and had forgotten that it was ‘Ganesha Chaturthi’. There, the musicians quickly made an idol, plucked a few flowers and we celebrated the festival in a small way. It is a memorable festival for me. I was happy to see that it was being celebrated in a faraway land.” 

When asked how he usually celebrates ‘Ganesha Chaturthi’, he says, “I love the festival because I get to celebrate it with my grandchildren.”

Many producers have approached him for their upcoming projects. “However, I don’t plan my projects and go with the flow. I just like to live for the day and want to enjoy life in all its forms. I always take time out for myself.”

Initially, SPB had thought he would get back to studies if his singing career didn’t take off! “I never believed that I would last long as a singer. I put a comma after my education because I thought I would get back to it. But soon, it became a full stop!”
Humbled and happy with the response he has received in his journey so far, he says, “I never faced any obstacles in life. Everybody gave me a lot of love and embraced me.”

He adds, “I always try and do justice to the music and sing with my heart and soul because I feel for music. The ultimate goal of music is to heal. If I listen to a composition and feel my voice is not the best suited for it, I don’t take it up.

The same holds good when I am considered for a role and the dates aren’t matching.” Extremely firm in his goals, he says, “I will stop singing the day I feel I can’t sing anymore.”

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