Some of the best voices are experimenting with genres that they wanted to do as singers

: That music directors sing occasionally in their own albums has long been part of the Tamil film history. But some of the best voices of the film industry have now taken to music composition, experimenting with genres that they always wanted to do as singers.

A few years ago, S. P. Balasubramaniam was one of the few to try music composing in films such as ‘Sigaram.' Though the trend died down after that, young singers are reviving it with a slew of projects.

Most recent in the list is Karthik, who has earned quite a name for his mellifluous numbers in films such as ‘Baba,' ‘Ghajini,' ‘Varanam Ayiram,' ‘Aadhavan' and ‘Raavanan.' The singer has been signed up for ‘Aravaan,' a period film by Vasanthabalan. The film, already making news for its never-tried-before storyline, will have interesting compositions, says Karthik, who is tight-lipped about the album-in-the-making.

“I have been doing jingles for quite sometime now and Vasanthabalan called me soon after a jingle I did for Rajiv Menon. It is beautiful to see the minds of people in the industry opening up to newer composers and compositions. I receive wishes from composers of my age for my debut project. It is such a healthy trend,” he adds.

Music composers should be good singers to be at their creative best, observes singer Srinivas, who has done a couple of films in Tamil and Malayalam, apart from a handful of jingles and non-film albums. “It is a natural thing for a singer to turn composer. But singing is an easy job. On the contrary, music direction eats up all our time and needs unflinching concentration,” he says.

For someone who earned critical acclaims for ‘Ini Naanum naanillai' number, music composition is a process that needs to be enjoyed. “I turn down many projects only because I feel I am not inclined to that type of songs. I don't believe in ‘kuthu' numbers,” says the singer, who is now doing a Malayalam film and an impending Tamil project.

Singing was accidental for Devan, who came down to India with a hope to get into music direction. “A.R.Rahman called me, after hearing my song in one of the albums. My singing career thus took off and composition remained a dream for a long time.” He realised his dream when director Siddharth signed him up for the to-be-released ‘Bale Pandiya.'

His next composition ‘Pattarai,' featuring a medley of genres such as folk, jazz, African and Carnatic, will soon be launched.

Singers such as Anuradha Sriram and Sriram Parasuram have also donned the role of music directors. As Srinivas puts it: “it is certainly not a ripple effect. Many keyboard players became composers after A. R. Rahman. But many could not survive, as they lacked singing talent. Singers have a better chance if they are wiling to wait and work hard.”