The techie sings a new tune

Aditya Srinivasan is rooted in Indian music and branching out to other genres Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Not a lot of people can claim to be famous at 22. But Bengaluru-based independent singer-songwriter Adithya Srinivasan can lay stake to that claim easily. When he says “It’s nice to be famous once awhile,” he isn’t joking as the vocal enigma is one of India’s youngest ghazal singers with his share of international hit singles and a consideration in the recent Grammy Awards.

With collaborations across borders and genres, the multi-faceted artiste is easily the city’s blue-eyed boy even as he juggles work, studies and a promising future in music.

Outlining his musical career, Adithya says in 2013, he released a ghazal track called ‘Gham e Duniya’ on itunes as his first international single written by the legendary Mirza Ghalib. “The sales I had in India were really poor. On the other hand, it sold incredibly well in America despite being an Urdu song and received very good reviews. A lot of the reviewers were Grammy Award voting members who advised me to apply. That’s when I found out that you don’t just win a Grammy, you apply for it.” That’s when Adithya decided to collaborate with Grammy nominated composer Jonathan Wesley from Bengaluru’s One Night Stand and flute virtuoso Parth Chandiramani from Raghu Dixit Project, also from Bengaluru, to create a new song called ‘Tu Hi Dilruba’. “This was initially planned as a ghazal but after working with the duo it turned out to be an international pop single. I applied and it was out in the ballot round of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards along with big names like Shakira, Celine Deon and Priyanka Chopra among others in the best pop solo category. Of course, it didn’t go through to the next top five round. But I’m going to keep trying and hopefully, in a couple of years, I’ll be bringing home another Grammy after Ricky Kej.”

The artiste is currently working on a new international rock and new age single ‘Devanke’. “It is originally composed by Swathi Thirunal Maharaja and being arranged by Enlightened Piano Award winner and Independent Music Award winner Sonaljit Mukherjee at Massachusetts featuring over 20 musicians from Boston, LA, the Czech Republic, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai.”

Recollecting Ricky’s lament that an artiste like him is barely recognised in his own country until the Grammy Award, Adithya echoes the same thoughts. “When we did our independent releases, I spoke to TV channels and they asked whether it is from a film or if I have an actress singing in it? Otherwise it will not go. The same goes for radio. Airplay in India is nearly impossible for independent artistes. However, in the US, there is a plumber earning more as a musician than some of our company directors because people really encourage and appreciate music. The Indian music scene needs to improve to respect musicians as artistes and not as mere entertainers.”

Will the revolution happen in Bengaluru? Adithya says it is possible if event organisers change their perception and musicians get together. A lot of things need to change. On the bright side, people in the city accept all kinds of music. Bengaluru has become very international and open to a variety of music.”

Looking back, the obvious question is what got the South Indian interested in singing North Indian music? Adithya reveals that he was born in a typical South Indian Brahmin family. “We are all Carnatic classical singers. I happened to listen to Colonial Cousins back then and liked Hariharan a lot. I wanted to sing his songs so I started learning ghazals so he became my virtual guru and it turned out to be a good choice. It is a niche kind of music and I am now venturing into other genres now.” In the future, he plans to head to Singapore and pursue his masters. “My audience is international so the move won’t affect me much.”

On what inspired him to take up independent music, Adithya says while film music has a story and you need to fit your songs into the script, independent music allows creative freedom. “Depending on my mood, I compose. In ‘Gham e Duniya’, I was glum, so it was a sad song. When I made ‘Tu Hi Dilruba’, I was feeling happy and romantic, so it turned out to be a peppy pop number. Now I’m leaving the country, so I’m being devotional in ‘Devanke’. It’s finally soul at the heart of my music.”

Juggling studying, a job and music, the vocal enigma says it’s hard. “I barely have any free time. I get time when I’m stuck in traffic jams so I roll up my car windows, turn on my shruthi box and start composing. The Indian scene doesn’t let you be only a musician unless you make it big.”

To anyone inspired to tread his path, Adithya suggests they sincerely learn classical music, be it Hindustani or Carnatic.

“Don’t try to sound like the original singer. It’s also better to learn music rather than songs. Every song is different. Music will help you on the long run. Take constructive criticism and positive feedback, and just keep going ahead.”

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 8:49:55 PM |

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