On My Pinboard: Ram Nagaraj

On My Pinboard: Ram Nagaraj

Singer Ram Nagaraj has been obsessed with music since his childhood. Though he is best known for his ghazals, he says that he is comfortable singing any genre. 

It was when he turned 25 that he started pursuing music as a career. He then moved to Mumbai and spent five years learning under Ustad Aslam Khan. 

In the mid-1990s era, owing to a gradual decline in the ghazal wave, Ram began to sing Bollywood retro songs and classics, eventually mastering these genres.

The singer, now 63, says that he stopped singing for a living four years ago. “Now I sing to find meaning and purpose and to keep the melody alive,” he says.


The Beatles

Apart from Indian favourites, I listen to international jazz and country music. But I’d say my all-time favourite is ‘The Beatles’. I also love Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel and can listen to them for hours on end. 


Burmese Khao Suey

I love traditional fare for breakfast — idli, dosa and upma are some of my go-to dishes. Although it doesn’t show, I eat quite a lot. I love trying new cuisines. My favourite so far has been Vietnamese cuisine. In terms of dishes, I’m a big fan of Burmese Khao Suey.


Guru Dutt

I’m a big fan of old black and white classics. I’ve watched every Guru Dutt film. Other favourites include Shakti Samanta, Subhash Ghai and Mahesh Bhatt. In terms of genres, I used to gravitate towards musicals but now I prefer suspense thrillers and films with a social message.


K L Saigal

While I have my own sound, I’ve been inspired by the likes of KL Saigal, Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh, Kishore Kumar and Roop Singh Rathore. I admire them as they pay close attention to the melody and poetry in their works.



Although I can’t swim, I like beach destinations. Every year I make it a point to visit Goa; it’s one place I can’t get enough of. Mauritius is another favourite. Although it’s not much of a tourist destination, I also love travelling to Mumbai as I find the city full of energy.

I haven’t been lucky enough to travel extensively outside of India, but I’d love to explore Europe one day.




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