Music

Music mixing engineer Adrushta Deepak Pallikonda on his musical journey from Visakhapatnam to winning the Grammy

Music mixing engineer Adrushta Deepak Pallikonda from Visakhapatnam who won the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for the best new age album – 2021 alongside Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej for Divine Tides.

Music mixing engineer Adrushta Deepak Pallikonda from Visakhapatnam who won the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for the best new age album – 2021 alongside Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej for Divine Tides. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

“I almost couldn’t believe it when the mail landed in my inbox,” says music mixing engineer Adrushta Deepak Pallikonda who won the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for the best new age album – 2021 alongside Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej for Divine Tides.

“The address mentioned in the email was that of AR Rahman sir’s Chennai studio where my first Grammy award was couriered, so I was confused and called Ricky Kej. It was a delightful surprise for me!” says Deepak on bagging his second coveted gramophone trophy after Slumdog Millionaire

With his roots in Visakhapatnam, Deepak’s journey from a small town to a music hub has been one of hard work and dedication. Speaking about his experience of working on Divine Tides, Deepak says: “Ricky called me when the pandemic had just started saying our next project was with the rock legend Stewart Copeland! It was beyond my imagination; but knowing Ricky I knew anything was possible. One of the most challenging aspects of putting the album together was working during the pandemic with lockdown rules in place. It was a nightmare to get things done!”

Deepak started learning to play the guitar when he was in class V and began his career as a guitarist in Visakhapatnam, before turning an audio engineer. “I loved correcting musical errors by singers and musicians; and that’s how I made a mark as a musical engineer rather than just being technically skilled,” he says.

Deepak won his first Grammy in 2010 for the best compilation soundtrack for visual media for Slumdog Millionaire and became the first from Andhra Pradesh to bag the honours. He is also a recipient of a Certificate of Honour 2015 from The Recording Academy in recognition of his participation as surround mix engineer on the Grammy award-winning recording Winds of Samsara.

Inspired by musical stalwarts Ilaiyaraaja, AR Rahman and Quincy Jones, Deepak recalls the words of Rahman who once told him, “We need to inspire the listener within 10 seconds of playing time. If we can’t get their attention by then, the rest of the music and hard work put in is a waste.”

Deepak adds: “Whenever I’m free, I keep trying new ways of processing and approach; it’s like rearranging your wardrobe or house. Usually, film music has a theme which we have to stick to. But non-film music has fewer boundaries as long as we do not step out of the genre.”

Apart from being a full-time mix engineer, Deepak often plays various string instruments and does music programming out of passion. As a musician, he played guitar and oud for the movie Raavan. Deepak also worked as a music composer for the film Boss in which the single ‘Hum Na Tode’ was an adapted track of the popular Tamil song ‘Appadi Podu’ composed by Vidyasagar.

Deepak is currently working on a couple of “interesting” non-film projects including an album of an American-Indian collaboration and another project that is a collaboration of artistes from the UAE and India. His advice for aspiring musicians: “Always convey your passion for music to your family; when that’s not done, your love for music will be treated as a hobby and you will regret it later. Never wait for a good time to begin; grab every little opportunity coming your way.” Recalling his first steps into the music industry, he says: “If I had hesitated to make that one call to Naveen anna (renowned flautist Naveen Kumar), I would have never moved from Visakhapatnam to Mumbai or met AR Rahman sir at a studio.”


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 6:17:02 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/music-mixing-engineer-adrushta-deepak-pallikonda-on-his-musical-journey-from-visakhapatnam-to-winning-the-grammy/article65753324.ece