Music composers in Mollywood are experimenting with new voices
Music in Mollywood is undergoing a sea of change. Not only are new genres of music being introduced, more importantly, new voices are being launched. If once a handful of artistes ruled the charts, fresh talents are gradually making themselves heard.
“There is a joke which goes that you can tell who had sung a particular tune by its genre. If it’s melodious, Yesudas, Chitra, or Sujatha must have sung it, if it’s an ‘adipoli’ tune, it must be M.G. Sreekumar. That was how predictable the Malayalam music industry had become,” says a music director, who prefers to remain anonymous.
The aforementioned music director is quick to add that it is now a good time to be a singer in Mollywood though, as, with the coming of fresh voices, Mollywood has started singing new tunes.
Says music director Gopi Sunder: “I think it was A.R. Rahman who brought about the change in Mollywood. Noting how he delivered hits with fresh talents, the music directors in Mollywood started paying attention and following his key to success.”
While he says music directors such as Ouseappachen and the late Raveendran master did encourage new talents, it is the present generation of music composers who seem to be welcoming them with open arms.
It's the tune which sells
“I think it has got a lot to do with the new-fangled genres of music that is being introduced in the industry. When once it was the voice that sells, now, it is the tune which sells. Music has gone global and these youngsters who are tuned to such music are able to connect better with such tunes. It has also got a lot to do with the fact that there has been a change in the film industry too as more actors are stepping into the frame. One can experiment with voices to go with these new actors. Producers are also open to fresh sounds and voices,” says Deepak Dev, who introduced singers such as Shwetha Mohan, Sanjeev Thomas, Prithviraj, Chitra Iyer, Benny Dayal and Vineeth Srinivasan to Mollywood.
But isn’t it tough to hunt for voices? “Not really,” says music composer Rex Vijayan, who goes on to add, “Reality music shows have given us a bank of talent. The problem is selecting the best from amongst them; it’s now a problem of plenty.”
So, what do these music directors look for when selecting voices for their compositions?
“Freshness,” says music director Rahul Raj. “Newcomers bring a difference to the music. Listeners are also curious to know the voice behind it.”
But doesn’t a new singer for each new movie increase the number of possible ‘one-song wonders’?
“Yes, while these youngsters from say, reality shows have talent, they are not trained singers like Yesudas or Janaki. While almost anyone can sing a song, only a professional like Yesudas can render one that is complex. If you notice, only a handful of these newcomers have managed to sustain themselves in the industry,” says Deepak.
And what does the fresh crop of singers have to say about this?
“As there is a host of new singers to choose from, we have to give it our all to the song we are singing if we want to remain in the industry,” says Sunil Mathayi who rendered ‘Kappa, kappa…’ in Bachelor Party.
‘Theeye Theeye…’ singer from Chappa Kurishu, Saju Sreenivas, however, is of the opinion that although a competitive spirit is needed to retain oneself in the field, there is room for new singers. “Mollywood is churning movies by the dozen these days, which means more and more music directors can introduce newcomers. The more, the merrier, I say.”