Singing for ‘Indian 2’: How singer Abby V got his big breakthrough

Singing for ‘Indian 2’: How singer Abby V got his big breakthrough 

Abby V, a singer-songwriter from Canada, has crooned for Anirudh in upcoming Tamil film ‘Indian 2’ starring Kamal Haasan

Updated - June 12, 2024 02:18 pm IST

Published - June 05, 2024 11:46 am IST

In front of about 8,000 people at Chennai’s Nehru Stadium, Abby V sang.

At the recent audio launch of the much-awaited Indian 2, starring Kamal Haasan, this young singer – who grew up in a Tamilian household in Toronto, Canada – impressed the who’s who of the Tamil film fraternity.

Watching his performance with awe and happiness were his parents who had flown in from Canada for the big day; his father, Venky V, someone who was instrumental in his initiation into music, was present as well.

Singer Abby V at ‘Indian 2’ audio launch

Singer Abby V at ‘Indian 2’ audio launch | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“It was my first experience of performing live at an audio launch and it was brilliant experience,” says Abby.

The singer crooned ‘Neelorpam’, the only melody in the Shankar-directed Indian 2which has music by Anirudh. While he has sung a couple of tracks in other films previously, this is his first major breakthrough. “It was a couple of months ago when I got a call from Anirudh’s studio, and everything happened so quickly. I absolutely loved the scratch, especially the ‘Maara’ hookline.” Luckily, Abby was in Mumbai that time and boarded the next flight to Chennai, where he recorded it.

‘Neelorpam’, which also has vocals by Shruthika Samudhrala and lyrics from Thamarai, will stand the test of time, he believes. Due to many song algorithms, composers usually go for the three-minute mark for their tracks, but with ‘Neelorpam’, we went for more than five minutes, a rarity in film songs today. Singers are usually told to keep it simple but this track has some intricate vocal nuances, for which Anirudh gave me complete freedom.”

On a high note

Regulars on Instagram might be aware of Abby’s musical prowess; if he drops a Carnatic music-based Reel that sees him exploring a raga one day, he might probably put out a ‘water balloon’ challenge of guessing song lyrics the next day. Among his most viral videos was in 2020 when he dropped a ‘73 ragas with Abby’, in which he explored both Hindustani and Carnatic ragas back to back and was a fun take on the 73 Questions by Vogue series.

“I keep changing things around. I am an entertainer and it’s my responsibility to make good art, and have fun along the way,” says the musician, who also recently released ‘Nee Nee Nee’, an original track that he performed along with Andrea Jeremiah.

He considers his upbringing in Canada a “huge blessing”, something that helped him get exposed to different styles of music. “Even when I perform, I try to incorporate things I have imbibed when I grew up. People have commented how my hand gestures resemble those of an R&B or hip-hop artiste. You can see all those influences in my singing too,” says Abby, who is currently listening to the other tracks of Indian 2 and AR Rahman’s Chamkilaother than pop music.

Singer Abby V

Singer Abby V | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A fresh sound

Abby has vivid memories of listening to AR Rahman’s soundtrack of the original Indian, which released in 1996. “Pretty iconic songs, right,” he says, “We have watched all of Shankar’s previous films, and my father is a huge fan of Kamal Haasan. When I found out that this song of mine was for Indian 2, I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s a lot of pressure.’ But for this second part, we just wanted to put out a fresh sound and style of singing.”

‘Neelorpam’ might have just released, but Abby has already recorded a few more film songs that will be out soon. “With film work, there is so much of collective energy that comes in, because the director and producer too gives feedback, and that involvement helps shape up a number. I really enjoy that process and am looking forward to more of that.”

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