He started playing the drums at the age of two and a half years and by now, he already has a professional experience of over 12 years. Born to Nagarajan and Vidya, Siddharth Nagarajan recently created a new record of playing the maximum kickbeats in one minute on bass drums using only his feet only (under 15 years of age category). He played 803 whole kickbeats and has now gained yet another entry into the India Book of Records recently, tallying his record to a total of five national records.
The bass drums were connected to a computer which recorded the beats in a wave format and were counted virtually. Siddharth, who initially set his goal at 720 beats per minute (bpm), ended up finishing with 803 bpm.
“I want to be the world’s best drummer and make my country proud,” says the evidently ecstatic Siddharth.
Currently studying in class 10 student at the Jubilee Hills Public School, Siddharth hails from Chennai, but moved with his family to Hyderabad in 2007.
“We moved to Hyderabad about five years ago and I have been practicing here since then. My dad, popularly known as Nagi in the cine world, has been a rhythm programmer for a lot of popular Telugu movies like Shankar Dada and Mass among others. He wanted to start an institute here in Hyderabad,” informs the prodigy, adding that his father has been his source of inspiration.
“I look up to my dad. He inspires me a lot. As a kid, I would gape at him seeing him play on the stage.”
Siddharth says he enjoys performing with Mandolin U Rajesh and Kolkata’s Sitar rockstar Puryaban Chatterjee. He has also learnt the Indian Mathematics of Music Learning Sessions and Kushnakol from the Ghatam maestro Vikku Vinayakramji.
“I often compose a lot of musical pieces by incorporating different styles, like Jazz, Rock with contemporary. I wanted to implement Kushnakol and use it in a western format and create a unique style. It was not at all difficult to learn as I was always interested in learning.” Ask him how important is the record to him? He replies, “Nobody in India concentrates on double bass-drumming. I would want to bring that to Hyderabad. Every person has a different technique and I want to improve my skills by playing both on my hands and legs.”
Listing his contemporary favourites, he says, “I listen to a lot of heavy metal and slow rock. I completely follow Dream Theatre, Adrenaline Mob and Mike Portnoy is my favourite drummer. I see a lot of his videos and try learning from them. And in India I love Shakti, Indian Ocean Avial and a lot of other bands.”
His love for drums goes back to his childhood. His mother, Vidya Nagarajan, a singer, shares, “He suddenly took a fancy for bass drum and achieved all that he could from total self learning. He practices all by himself.” She then quickly adds, “We did support him, but most of it was his effort. We do not pressurise him for studies and don’t insist that he score 90 and above. But, we also make sure he works on his exams and clears them well.”
Siddharth is presently looking for a passionate group of young musicians so that he can start a band fusing Rock, Jazz and contemporary styles. He has already composed a lot of music pieces and is also waiting to create a new, unique album.
His achievements include the Balamani Bharat Vikas Parishad, Balaratna, Balshree, Ugadi Puraskar, Pogo Amazing Kid Award, Bharatiya Gaurav and Prince of Rhythmn. He has also played at the MTV Awards in Sri Lanka, at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan for APJ Abdul Kalam’s birthday and was featured by National Geographic Channel as one of the seven geniuses in the world on their show “My Brilliant Brain” (December 2007) on the INBORN category.