Friday Review » Music

Updated: June 21, 2012 20:50 IST

Ready to rock

Harshini Vakkalanka
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KK believes in a “clear and cool” relationship with his music director
KK believes in a “clear and cool” relationship with his music director

KK, who will be performing in the city today, finds R.D. Burman still on top of his dream composer’s list

Most playback singers even today would have loved to work with R.D.Burman. And though he might have worked with most of the popular music directors (from Ilayaraja, A.R. Rahman to Vishal-Shekhar, Mani Sharma and Harris Jayaraj), R.D. Burman remains on top of singer K.K.’s wish list.

Still, K.K. is quite happy with his contemporaries. “Fundamentally, it’s the song that matters to all of them. But each one has a different way of doing a song, depending on his personality. It is important for a singer, especially during a recording, to understand the psyche of the music director and vice-versa,” he explains over telephone, before his upcoming concert in the city presented by Fever Entertainment.

K.K. also believes in having a “clear and cool” relationship with his music director. “So if the song is not happening well, it is good to be honest and do it another day or have someone else do it. And it doesn’t have to mean that the singer is not good. This way there is no politics,” points out the singer, who began with a rock band, before moving on to singing jingles.

“I set out to become a singer, but playback singing was never on my mind,” recalls the singer who got his break into Bollywood (with ‘Tadap Tadap’ from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) the same year that he released his first album Pal with Sony Music (known for hits like ‘Yaaron’ and ‘Pal’).

“I wanted to do an album all along and after my first Hindi song was released, I took the film route. I thought it would give me an opportunity to work with other people and gain more perspective as a singer. At that time it seemed too early to delve into a second album.”

One of the first things he learnt after working with most of the popular music directors in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films is to let go of inhibitions.

“I have never trained classically and thankfully, I have done well so far. I think the music directors have chosen well for me. And there’s natural energy that guides me. I follow my heart and my gut and it seems to have worked for me,” says the singer, who is known for belting out hits like ‘Zara Sa’ (Jannat), ‘Khuda Jaane’ (Bachna Ae Haseeno)

“Now I feel good about the things that I did not know I was capable of. One can get by, giving one’s best as long as it works for the music directors. But one can’t draw any boundaries in music saying ‘I don’t do this’.”

K.K. loves music for its ability to unite people from all walks of life, which is why he loves performing live. “Music is a huge communication tool that breaks every barrier. I find it incredible that people from different backgrounds can connect to one strain of music.”

But when it comes to playback singing in different languages, K.K. likes to ensure that he gets his pronunciation right because those who know the language will be able to spot the nuances. “I work hard at diction and ensure that the lyricist is comfortable with me. When it works both ways, that’s when there’s creativity. Otherwise it becomes a chore. Also if I’m singing in a new language, it has to be sung well. If not, there are plenty of good singers in the South.”

He has of late, taken a break from singing in the South to figure out what he wants to do. And a next album may be forthcoming this year. “But it’s not just another album. I don’t want to do something for the sake of it.” Meanwhile, he says, he has also sung for some yet-to-be-named Bollywood films, including a Sanjay Leela Bhansali production.

And right now, he is all set for his upcoming concert in the city. “I just had a great concert in Mumbai and I’m looking forward to the concert in the city and the South Indian food,” he signed off after inquiring about the (pleasant) weather and proclaiming his love for the city.

He will be performing live in Bangalore on Friday, at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

For tickets, visit

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