Musical tales from Valparai to Chennai

It was her love for music, and support from her family that helped her break down the shackles and get back to doing what she loved the most.
Rama Priya Yegasivanathan.
Rama Priya Yegasivanathan.

CHENNAI : In the quaint little hill station of Valparai, a young Rama Priya Yegasivanathan found her musical muse in the iconic Superstar Rajinikanth. Looking at him clad in a pristine white kurta and swaying to the beats of ‘Vanthenda Paalkaran’ on the television screen, she couldn’t help but let the melody of that song resonate within her. Little did she know that this moment would spark a lifelong love affair with music in her. As time unfolded, her passion for music evolved from a mere childhood fascination to becoming an integral part of her identity. From being an occasional singer at family parties to making a mark in the realm of the music industry, Rama’s musical odyssey is a testament to her talents evolving over the years.

Life in a new city

Being one of the torchbearers of female independent artistes in Chennai, Rama embarked on her musical journey with the release of her debut song, ‘Un Azhagale’, in 2016. However, her journey was not a bed of roses. From discovering her passion for stage music during her college days at Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, to stepping into the bustling city of Chennai armed only with a suitcase and determination to etch her name in the realm of cinematic marvels, the artiste had encountered her fair share of challenges. Talking about her early days, Rama says, “Growing up in Valparai, where opportunities were limited, pursuing a career in music wasn’t a feasible option. However, my obsession with the cine field propelled me to make the big leap to a totally new town, which was Chennai.” Navigating the transition to city life and overcoming obstacles in the competitive industry, she was always fueled by an enduring passion for music, which in turn consistently pushed her forward.

“In the early days of my life in Chennai, despite my work at Infosys, my weekends were consumed by exploring the city in search of venues and opportunities. I kicked off with performances at Sarang (the cultural festival of IIT Madras) and at VIT, and gradually, I started receiving chances to perform,” recalls Rama. It was during this period that she seized the opportunity to lend her voice to a short film. The director, amused by her sound, paved the way for yet another chapter in Rama’s artistic journey — that of a dubbing artiste. Since then, she has contributed her voice to characters in movies and web series such as ‘Good Night’, ‘Dhootha’, ‘Red’, the Tamil translation of ‘Meg2’, ‘Nun2’, and many more, marking a dynamic expansion of her creative repertoire. Being trained in Hindustani music from KM Conservatory, Chennai, the singer at present, apart from being a dubbing artiste, is also a music composer, songwriter, RJ, and script adapter.

The re-entry

A single mother to six-year-old Sai Shravanya, Rama experienced a series of twists and turns in her life. Like every aspiring musician, she reached heights in her musical journey, but it was then that life took an unexpected turn. Getting married and being constrained from continuing music was something that shattered her, she says. It was her love for music, and support from her family that helped her break down the shackles and get back to doing what she loved the most. In 2020, this mother released her song ‘Vaa Nila’, dedicated to her daughter, thereby marking her reentry into the field after a hiatus of four years.

In 2022, her single ‘Thodarum’, produced under the banner of Mayfair Records, proved to be a breaking point in her career, says Rama. “This song made me a different person altogether. I decided to give myself a 360-degree change and bring out my true self in this field”, she says, adding, “I’ve been given a second chance in life, and now I am committed to making the most of it and living life on my own terms.”

At present, Rama awaits the release of her new song this month, titled ‘Sugar Bomb’ along with Mirun Pradhap, a music producer. As our conversation concludes, the only image that lingers across my mind is that of a woman who takes pride in her accomplishments, steadfastly navigating through life’s challenges to create her own unique musical narrative.

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