The voice behind several chartbusters will take Chennaiites on a musical trip on June 8 at a show by The Hindu

He may have sought fame with an abbreviated name KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath), but the singer knows there is no shortcut to success.

A regular chart-rocker, he has been holding sway over the tunescape with his recent Hindi hit ‘Tune maari entriyaan’ from Gunday and Tamil song ‘Nee vandhu ponadhu’ (Yaan).

Quiz him on what does it take to survive in the hit-driven industry and the quick reply is — being on the minds of composers and in the hearts of people.

Like any other artiste, kicked about gigs, KK is most often hopping cities, connecting with listeners. “Pardon the cliché — stage shows give you an adrenaline rush,” says the affable singer. “It’s all about the atmosphere. After every show, I feel refreshed and recharged to take on more,” he laughs.

But with new-age listeners taking the app route to music, do these shows still draw a full house? “Technology is just an aid that adds to the experience. It definitely cannot match the thrill of face-to-face interaction.”

They do seem to have affected the recording industry though. “I don’t think social media is the sole reason for fewer albums getting released now. It’s just that in India independent music is still in a nascent stage. We have begun to acknowledge and appreciate independent work but we have a long way to go when compared to the West. Here film music is a dominant factor and sets the tune for trends,” explains KK.

The singer is delighted that the film industry that largely believes in templates and formulas is making space for new ideas and differently-thinking composers. “This is a wonderful phase to be in because with so much happening there is never the danger of being typecast. And I am having fun crooning a variety.”

Not content with his many chartbusters, KK is keen to come with an album that echoes his creative dreams and passions. “That’s what ultimately an artiste wants to do — be the master of his tunes. It’s not just about challenging yourself artistically, it makes you feel complete as a musician,” he says.

His debut album ‘Pal’ was not a momentary effort. Though launched in 1999 its tracks receive several encores at his shows. KK came with his second album ‘Humsafar’ in 2008. “I think it’s high time I start work on the third,” he chuckles. He’s also excited about doing offbeat projects such as the Coke Studio. “Imagine jamming with someone whose music you don’t know much about. Nothing can be more stimulating than understanding different forms and genres and finding a perfect meeting ground.”

After being in the industry for so many years, hasn’t he thought about taking up music direction? “No not really,” he says.

KK has had a good start this year with some popular numbers and has a lot more in store. He’s particularly looking forward to his song in Farah Khan’s Happy New Year and, of course, his 19-year-old guitarist-son Nakul’s creative pursuits. “As a father, it’s heartening to see my son’s commitment to the art. He’s eager to produce music and shows immense promise. My daughter Tamara is into singing.”

Born and brought up in Delhi, after thousands of jingles and songs in various languages, innumerable shows and many awards, this Malayalam-speaking singer is happy that music has become a family affair for him.

Chennai ga ga

It’s always great to be performing in this city of malipoo, masala dosai and music-lovers. On June 7 when he takes the stage at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall he will present a good mix of Tamil and Hindi hits. And, of course, there will be ‘Tune maari entriyaan…’