"Scared to sing for Raja" -
An Exclusive interview with Playback singer Shreenivas
-Vignesh Ram

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You can see him emotionally rendering the Bharathiyar’s song “Senthamil naadu” in Jaya TV everyday at 6 PM. Shreenivas, Engineer turned Singer/MD who made heads turn towards him by his smashing hit songs like “Ennuyire” from “Uyire”, “Ooh La la” from “Minsara kanavu” etc speaks about his career as a singer, Music Director and about the current condition of Tamil Film Music…………………

  • Ten years from now, as you turn back to your past, what were you doing? and in future what will you be doing?

    Ten years before, I’d just started my career as a singer. 1994 was my debut year and Mahesh introduced me in “Nammavar”. I approached Vidhyasagar, Rehman and Sharath and was singing a lot of jingles and tracks for them. Ten years from now, I would definitely like to be in the same field either as a singer or Music director.

  • Recently you've signed for a new project "Kuyilkootam". Tell us about that project and what type of music can we expect from you ?

    Kuyil kootam- Young subject. Melody will be definitely Indian. My roots are Indian melody. I don’t relate to heavy metal or rap. These are all alien to me. I want to do music I like. I like whatever I have done and now it is left to the people to decide. I have tried to do justice to whatever I can.

  • Apart from nocturnal recording what's that you find so specialwhile singing in ARR's music?

    Usually we get tired at night , but once you enter his studio, he inspires and motivates too much by his tunes, rhythm pattern he plays etc and inspires to give my best. He is very special and different from the rest.

  • How do you feel when your beautiful melody number goes unrecognised by the domination of fast rhythmed songs?

    Good music lovers will always listen to such melody songs. If the song becomes a hit, then the singer makes money. That is all. Satisfaction that you get by singing a good song is something great. You need money in life. But how much do you need? For feeding your family and yourself, having a roof above your head and having something to wear, some money will do.

  • How do you feel when some North Indian singers mutilate tamil by their awful pronunciation?

    I think it is a very bad trend. If it is one song/year, it’s ok and it will sound funny. But nowadays nearly 75% of the songs are by them. Lyricists like Vairamuthu may protest, but others don’t get the chance to. If my song becomes a hit in Oriya, I am not going to be feel proud about it. I feel only amused. Similarly Udit or Adnan Sami will feel amused when someone tells that their songs are great hits in tamil. I feel it is a funny situation. I don’t think North Indian singers should sing in tamil at all. Tamil singers like Hariharan, Shankar Mahadevan and Mahalakshmi should be encouraged.

  • You really look smarter than some of our heroes. Why don't you jump before the lens?

    First of all, I think I am not smarter than any of our heroes. I am not cut out for acting at all. My passion is music only. I think, if you act, you should act like kamal. Then it’s worth.

  • Being a composer how does it feel singing for others?

    I think I should be like a student there. When I go to another composer, I have to sing what he expects me to. If I can I will sing. Composers now know my style, voice and range. So they call me only for such songs.

  • In Jayjay "kaadhal mazhaiye" song, you have tried rock style with full blasted throat. Do you think such songs suit you or your own way of melodies like "Kanavaa illai kaatraa" song in Ratchakan?

    Bharadwaj is a very special music director to me. He insisted me that I sing in that pitch. He usually chooses me for a song. For “Kaadhal mazhaiye”, he asked me to sing above the normal range so that it should have the pain and energy. Though I can’t sing that song in a stage, I like that song. I think Rehman did it with me in “Ennuyire”.

    Melodies like “Kaiyil midhakkum kanavaa nee” are very easy to sing in my range and style. But that the other song was challenging. As a play back singer I should have some variety. Both type of songs I enjoyed singing.

  • You have rendered some beautiful numbers in Raja's music and also in YSR's music. What's the difference you find between the legendary father and the prodigy son?

    I am a crazy fan of Raja from 80s. I tried to get a chance and going near him was very difficult those days. Singing in his music I get nervous that I want the recording to get over. He is such a perfectionist and a strict person when it comes to recording. His level is somewhere and we are somewhere. I am conscious of that gap in musical levels and so I get tensed. Still I love to sing for Raja. It’s fun singing for Yuvan. You can discuss anything with him. It’s not fun at all to sing for Raja and I am scared to sing for him.

  • How was the response for your debut in composing for a song in 'YNRAI'?

    Sincerely speaking, I was not looking at recognition at all. I never thought like people will come and book me for their films after hearing the song. Vasanth wanted me to do a song. I composed a few songs, he picked this one. I wanted to do justice to that song and that is all. I didn’t take it as a launch pad for something else to happen.

  • Can you guess from listening to the tune rendered by MDs for the first time, that particular song is gonna top the charts? If so, Name some songs that proved your instincts.

    Nowadays I am not able to do that. With Rehman, I could do it. While recording “Ooh la la”, “Minsaara poove” and “Sotta sotta” I guessed that these songs are going to be great hits. Even while singing “Apple pennae” I felt that it had the potential to become a hit.

  • You introduced young talents like Karthik and Tippu to Rahman and paved way for their successful career. Don't you feel like,by doing so, you are making the competition tough among singers, even for yourself?

    Yeah certainly, but then, you don’t think about that when you introduce them. When you see some genuine talent, you feel like promoting them. They should be given opportunity.

  • During MGR-Sivaji era, there was T.M.S., then during Rajini-Kamal, there were S.P.B. and K.J.Yesudas, But now, more and more young talents get introduced, 'do you think anybody of them will leave a mark like them?

    I don’t think anybody will leave a mark like S.P.B. and Yesudas. They were great singers and they were in a totally different situation in TFM. Even the aspiring singers started imitating their voices only in those days. But now there are a lot of new young talents and it is a good trend to have many young talents. Out of these, people like Hariharan have their own places in fan’s hearts and are sure to leave a mark.

  • Unfortunately in Tamil, not many people have been successful in private albums. Youmade your mark in 'Paarvai', 'Chembaruthi' Title song and 'Ussele Ussele' song. Any idea of coming out with more Private albums?

    TV channels are not giving that importance. “Usselle” is selling even now. TV channels must keep playing the video and promote, then only it will become a hit. In North India, MTV and Channel V give priority to music albums. Here they are interested only in movies. It is a different kind of culture here. Music has to be sold through TV unfortunately.

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