QUEEN’S ROAD: For Chaitra H G, who was recognised by the state government for the song Huduga Huduga from the 2006-film Amruthadhare, playback music just happened.
She has sung close to 600 numbers for the Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam industries. Recently, the artist worked with Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman for the album, Winds of Samsara, which has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Age Album category.
True, the young mother of a three-month-old sang first for films when she was eight, but her journey with music began way ahead of that.
“I began singing when I was two. I’d watch TV and sing along with jingles and other music, whether it was Washing Powder Nirma or Vikram Betal.” Little did young Chaitra know that she would grow up to be part of creating such tunes one day.
She has been learning Hindustani classical music for close to 16 years — first from Dr Nagaraja Rao Havaldar and then from Nandakumar Kurudi. She then sang V Manohar’s composition Kogileye for Beda Krishna Ranganata. “It wasn’t really serious. Someone promised me a candy if I sang the song, and that’s what I did,” she recalls.
Once in college, she accompanied her father, tabalchi Gopinath H S, to a recording and was experimenting with the western music that she had heard on the radio. That is when her ususual singing style was noticed. She started with chorus in 2000 and three years later, she had sung for Huccha, under the direction of Rajesh Ramnath, and several more have followed since.
“I’m glad my transition to playback singing was gradual. I learnt voice modulation during chorus, and then moved on to solo pieces,” she says, adding that every experience has been enjoyable.
Singing with Hariharan is something that she will particularly cherish. “He’s my idol. The first time I met him, I just stood there staring at him open-mouthed till the director came in and asked me to cut it out,” she says with an almost girlish giggle.
Coming from a musical family, she often performs with her brother and father. “It feels like we’re sitting at home and chatting. We’re so much in sync that we don’t even need eye contact to coordinate,” she says.
She’s been working with Kej on and off for about nine years, but this project came as a surprise, she shares. “Kej is a very cool person; he doesn’t trouble the artistes a lot,” she says, adding that what makes the album special is the variety of musicians across genres and countries. She’s excited that one of the tracks she’s sung for, Longing, has become popular online.
She has also done vocals for Madiba, dedicated to Nelson Mandela.
For now, she is basking in the success of Ninnindale and is looking forward to the Ravichandran-starrer, Apoorva, in which she has sung a number.