A bite of the Big Apple

Bengaluru’s singing star Nilanjanaa Jayanth takes Carnegie Hall by storm

October 9 may seem like any other day on our calendar. For 12-year-old Nilanjanaa Jayanth, it was a day when she created history joining the likes of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Stokowski, Miles Davis, the Beatles, Zakkir Hussain and more. Singing ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Nilanjanaa put Bengaluru on the global stage.

A student of Bengaluru’s Taaqademy run by Bengaluru Rock band Thermal And A Quarter and guided by vocal teacher Ragini Ramanathan, Nilanjanaa won the American Fine Arts Festival’s international vocal competition Golden Voices of America 2016, at Carnegie Hall. She sent in her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s hit number for the Musical Theatre, Disney, Broadway and Jazz category and was the top pick for her vocal proficiency. She has also been invited for a special performance at the Robert Schumann Museum in Zwickau, Germany in 2017 as well as awarded a scholarship for the AFAF Summer Music Course in Europe for 2017.

Her parents, city-based IT professional Jayanth Ananthakrishnan and apparel designer Sangeeta Ananth, have been her biggest support in this endeavour apart from the faculty at Taaqedemy and the music community of Bengaluru. MetroPlus catches up with Nilanjanaa over phone in New York a few hours before she was to board her flight home.

It was a proud moment for all of us, says Sangeeta. “We weren’t sure how the crowd will receive her. When she finished singing, the applause was thunderous. She got a lot of appreciation. Most people said they had not expected this quality of singing and experience from an Indian of Nilanjanaa’s age, especially on a jazz number.” She adds that seeing the culmination of an entire year’s worth of hard work on stage was worth it. “It was a dream come true!” she says as she hands the phone over to her daughter.

“I actually feel quite relieved,” Nilanjanaa says. “The tension over the last few weeks has gone. When I got on stage, I was quite nervous at first, since I had to sing without a mike and there were a few hiccups with the pianist who accompanied me. But when I started to sing, I knew magic was happening. I focused entirely on expressing myself through the song. It felt so good that I didn’t want the song to end! It was a marvellous moment that will be one of my most cherished memories ever.”

On putting Bengaluru on the global soundscape, Nilanjanaa says: “It is a great honour for me. It is a big deal and I’m happy I made everyone who supported me proud.”

So what’s next for Nilanjanaa? And she laughs saying: “I’m working on my compositions now. I already have a couple of singles ready, but haven’t sung them to an audience yet. Putting them out is my next step.”

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:26:38 PM |

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