Magic in his voice

In conversation

Magic in his voice

For a guy who sang “Zinda” in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which had a grungy and rock-like appeal to it, Siddharth Mahadevan seems gentle and mild-mannered in person. But, when you hear “Pehli Baar” from Dil Dhadakne Do, you realise that this young singer has a voice that fits into any mould. Be it the power-packed “Malang” in Dhoom 3 or the peppy “Iski Uski” from 2 States, songs he lends his voice to, manage to steal our hearts away.

Son of famed singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan, Siddharth was privy to a number of masterpieces his dad created. So, for someone who grew up in a musical household, was the music industry a natural choice? “I always knew that I wanted to do something in music, but never knew how it would shape up. Since I was brought up in a musical environment with so many musicians coming to our home regularly, I was inclined towards it from a young age.”

Dream debut

Siddharth struck gold when director Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra insisted that he sing for his movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. “I would give the whole credit to Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra. I had sung a jingle for him earlier, after which he pushed me to try the song. I was intimidated by everything. By then, I had only sung my own compositions. But to sing for such a big director and an equally big movie was huge for me,” says Siddharth.

Having been trained in Hindustani and Carnatic classical vocal, Siddharth has done a three-month course at the notable Berkley College of Music in Boston and has also been trained in Western classical piano. Apart from this, he also plays various instruments like drums and guitar, which he learnt on his own.

But when your father is someone who gave the industry innumerable memorable songs, pressure to deliver is on. “Since I am the son of such a legend, people would definitely expect something from me. But that doesn’t bother me. It just motivates me to work harder. I believe in sticking to what I do and be good at it,” avers Siddharth.

Having said that, this 22-year-old singer cites his father to be his ultimate mentor and guide in his journey. “My father has had a huge influence on me. I don’t try to copy or mimic him, but I feel honoured to learn so much from him as a musician. He’s a world-renowned artiste who has shared stage with the top players of music arena. His sense of musicality is so immense that I learn from it every day. He has been my role model. Whatever I do, I take his opinion.”

Coping with competition

Today, the music scene in Bollywood has expanded so much that there are new musicians cropping up every other day. New songs, new voices, varied compositions have all found dedicated audience currently. So, where does Siddharth fit into this big picture? “Honestly, it’s the best time to be in the industry today. Composers are now open to different sounds, textures, voices, tunes, new talent. It’s very competitive, but also good for the industry. If you are brilliant, it’s just going to show, and if you deliver well, people will come back to you,” says Siddharth.

Speaking of genres of music, the sure shot formula of success followed religiously by almost every movie today is a rap song. Does this affect the popularity of other genres? Siddharth, a fan of rap himself, feels that rap is coming back in a big manner today. “Yes, rap music is more prominent in Bollywood today and the fact of the matter is that it’s permanent. But I don’t feel that it is dominating the music scene. Just look at the five biggest hits of the year and you won’t find a rap song in it. Honestly, there is space for every song. You can have a “Tum Hi Ho” alongside “Chaar Botal Vodka”. There is no fight or loss of good music,” says Siddharth.

For Siddharth, music translates to love and life and he aspires to become an accomplished music composer/producer in the next five years and also collaborate with international artistes. His fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming days: a new song called “Lapak Jhapak” from Ghayal Once Again, another one from the movie Ishq Forever, an album with his dad and younger brother, and even some interesting collaborations.

When he is not busy singing or composing chartbusters, Siddharth is either in the kitchen cooking with his dad (who cooks almost every day), or playing cricket, or watching movies. Many singers aspire to make it big in the industry. What advice would he give to them? “Always be original. Don’t try to copy someone else. It’s always good to be influenced by others, but don’t change the core personality god has gifted you,” ends Siddharth.

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