HYDERABAD: With Tollywood jukeboxes hitting millions of views in the matter of just a few days, it is no doubt that the Telugu folk love their music. And as it seems, they aren’t getting enough of it with the rise of mashups on the online front. Mashups are the amalgamation of two or more individual songs in perfect sync to form a new creation. While merging together songs of the same language is one way of going about it, some artistes also go one step ahead mashing together songs of different languages.
One of the most popular and consistent singers on Youtube who mashes up Telugu hits with Western pop songs is Lipsika Uday. With 69,000 subscribers and over a million views on the whole, she does rule the roost along with a few others. “This wasn’t something I had planned on. I always loved singing for myself and recording but after a few friends told me that Youtube is a good platform to put myself out there I took it,” says Lipsika.
The singer who has already sang in about 150 Tollywood films doesn’t see Youtube as an professional opportunity as much as she sees it as an artistic outlet. “I get to play along with tunes and improvise in ways I might not be able to in movies. Moreover, I started to gain visibility because of Youtube which does help me in my other professional endeavours,” she shares. And how does one arrive at the final combination of songs? Anudeep Dev, another Tollywood singer who also featured in one of Lipsika’s videos, explains, “When you decide upon a song or when you get acquainted with a song, intuitively you realise it merges into another seamlessly. Afterall there are only 12 musical notes. Another way is to figure out the raagam and tempo of the song and check it against other songs of the same parameters. When these work out, sometimes the scale might be different and then we will have to work around a way to do the mix.”
While the already established singers like Lipsika and Anudeep use mashups and cover songs as their artistic refuge, others who are finding their footing use the platform to promote themselves or seek opportunities. Hyderabadi band Capricio which got popular through their viral mashup went ahead to sing Telugu covers in pubs as a first in the city. They also hit the internet again with a bunch of medleys in the web show Encore. “Other industries go the extra mile to promote their music. Not only in live music but online too we are having to turn to Tamil compositions, mashups or covers.
Telugu music has some masterpieces that are unexplored. And we intend to bring them to the forefront. On an entertainment end, introducing another song with what the audience have already heard adds an element of surprise to them” says Eknath, one of the lead vocalists of Capricio. Their season on Encore featured mashups of two popular Telugu classics on each season garnering them lakhs of views.
Some artists on the other hand use the platform to showcase their talent and to be noticed by prospects. Parta Arthas, a young trio consisting of Parta, the percussionist, Aditya the guitarist and Vishnuteja, the vocalist, which got praise for their Best Telugu Songs mashup have a strategy to go by. “We rely on our technical skill to create the music. However to be noticed we have to make sure the right people watch us,” says Aditya Bhargava the guitarist. “Our Surya S/O Krishnan mashup was dedicated to the actor on his birthday,” says Aditya explaining that they catch popular stars’ attention by covering their work on special days.
Despite the growing culture of mashups some feel that the quality is lacking in comparision to the Tamil or Hindi arena. Anudeep laments, “Production is a major issue. Companies like T series up north produce independent musicians but the culture hasn’t caught up here yet. It’s now all about how to monetise the views that an artist is garnering.” However with some web content companies backing artists to do more, the platform has indeed become a route if nor a source to make a living.