Archana Udupa hails from a family of musicians. She started training in Carnatic music from Balakrishna and light music from her father Srinivas Udupa. Later, she switched over to Hindustani style of singing and started training under the guidance of Shakuntala Narasimhan. She has lent her voice to more than 1,000 cassettes and CDs in various languages and given live performances across the country. She is a graded artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan and a recipient of several awards. She won the Karnataka State Award as ‘Best female playback singer for film ‘Bhageerati’ in 2011.
“I learnt Kannada literature. Works of Kuvempu and S L Bhyrappa have shaped my thinking and deeply influenced my thought process. I can never get enough of Kuvempu’s ‘Kanooru Subbamma Heggadithi’ and ‘Malegalalli Madumagalu’ and Bhyrappa’s ‘Naayi Neralu’ and ‘Vamshavriksha.’ These are works that hold significance even to this day. ‘The Da Vinci Code’ by Dan Brown is another book I just can put down.”
“I enjoy visiting any place that is as close to nature as possible. And the only place that matches my taste is Malnad. I usually go there during the rainy season and settle there with a book. The sight of the mountains, the sound of the river and the chirping of birds are soothing to me. I also like London and Melbourne. They are culturally rich and places where you don’t find pollution and litter.”
“I believe in versatility. And two musicians who perfectly fit that bill are S Janaki and Asha Bhosle. Their skills are unmatched and they can handle any genre with ease. I’ve grown up listening to all genres, including heavy metal. Although I trained in Hindustani music, my father insisted that I listen to a variety of songs and albums. This has helped me experiment and improvise.”
“My father Srinivas Udupa and great grandmother Seetalakshmi have inspired me. I admire the way my father respects people. There’s both love and authority in the way he deals with people and gets work done. I also like his sense of dressing. There was a time when my great grandmother Seetalakshmi shouldered the responsibilities of the house. She never bowed down before anybody and always maintained self-respect and dignity. Her sweets and savouries are popular in Shivamogga region. There are people who come from Bengaluru to place an order.”
“I like all kinds of street food, especially Bhelpuri. I can also survive solely on fruits and vegetable for the rest of my life. I also make sure that I don’t overeat. I believe in quality over quantity.”
(As told to Nina C George)