A life around music

Music controlled the life of Shankar Mahadevan, except for his brief stint as an IT professional in Oracle Corporation.

He has been creating headlines all over, from the time his debut album, `Breathless', was released. His non-stop rendition of a song in the album for over three minutes, created a history of sorts. The lyrics were by Javed Akhtar. His songs in `Dil Chahta Hai' endeared him to film-lovers. The popular song `Chingamasam' (in the Malayalam hit movie `Meesa Madhavan') made him a household name in Kerala.

He is working on his second album, `Nine,' which is expected to be out by January 2003. "The nine songs in the album symbolise each of the `navarasas.' A few other emotions like passion, jealousy and hope too have been incorporated in the songs,'' says Mahadevan, who was in town to perform at a function organised by the Cardiological Society of India, in connection with their conference here. He had flown down here with his wife, whom he says, "manages everything in my life, except singing.'' The couple has two sons.

Hailing from southern India, he is now based at Chembur, Mumbai. He did his studies in Mumbai and graduated in computer engineering from the Bombay University.

Even from early childhood, Mahadevan showed an inclination for music and was deft at handling musical instruments. He began playing the harmonium when he was three and later on received formal training in veena. "My parents were connoisseurs of music. Once they spotted my talent for music, they pooled in their energy to encourage and promote me. At an early age, they send me to be trained in classical music, not from the career point of view, but for the learning part.''

``Even I did not in my wildest of dreams think that I would take to music as a career. This was because I hail from a typical middle-class household, where people wanted to become a doctor or an engineer. Javed Akhtar is responsible for many of my successes, being the lyricist of the songs that I sung. He was my friend, philosopher and guide. Though I was in awe of the person at first, he is like a family member now,'' he says.

His love for music is not confined to indipop. "I like ghazals, bhajans, carnatic classical, pop and jazz and have icons in each. Even careerwise, I sing bhajans, ghazals, pop and fusion music. He has also done some advertisement commercials.''

He feels that there is music for the classes and another one for the masses. "Indipop is music for the masses. It has got a bright future, with many avenues opening up. Music channels and music companies are promoting it in a big way. The sad part was that many mediocre artistes too were there in the field. But now, only the good ones are left, because of the demand for quality,'' he says.

Mahadevan used the time gap between the makings of two albums for singing in Bollywood movies. He worked along with Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendosa, as music director, in Dil Chahta Hai. He has been performing in international music festivals for the past 10 years, being part of Minta, a Swedish band. He also performs in the Silk band, along with Sivamony and Louis Banks.

``In course of time, I intend to do music for Hindi movies, in addition to teaming up with internationally-known musicians,'' he says.

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