Singer Vijay Prakash is still continuing to have an interesting mix of songs in his bag. After putting in 15 years of hard work, the singer has now turned music director for a Kannada film, Andar Bahar. "This film gave me a different experience as a music director. The composer inside me has come out with Andar Bahar," he said.
Though music flows in his veins, Vijay took a long time to get into music direction. "My parents were always into music, especially Carnatic classical and my grandfather was involved in Harikathe. So, music was instilled in me from the beginning. Initially I wanted to establish myself as a good singer and then take on to music direction, which took time," said Vijay, adding, "There is specific contribution expected from a singer as he or she is not bothered what is before or after the song in the film. A short brief of the situation is enough to deliver a song. When it comes to a music director, creativity is much more in demand than a singer. The whole movie will be before you and you need to compose music considering how it is blending with the story," he explained.
He considers himself lucky to have worked with some of the greatest musicians of India, right from Illayaraja to AR Rahman to Hamsalekha. "You name any composer in Bollywood or anybody in south and I have had the opportunity to work with them. Today, the credit goes to every composer I have worked with," he added.
Through his long journey exploring different kinds of music, Vijay has also seen the change that has come in Kannada songs too. He said. "It is the audience and technology that are changing the music. I have grown up listening to music of Rajan Nagendra, Chi Udayashankar, Hamsalekha, and their style has generally influenced me. Today when I look back at the music of those days, there is lot of difference and it was bound to happen," said Vijay who has also sensed the analog difference in recording. "Back then it was recorded to tape. Now with hard drive and computer, the music has taken a different turn. It is a change for better and the demand from listeners. Still the classic melodies of great singers like PB Srinivas and Dr Rajkumar remains evergreen. Today's music is equally challenging and entertaining. If listeners are enjoying and if the music is applauded by people, it is an achievement. Saptha swara is spiritual and connecting this swara to any song is always appealing."
As a music director he has got singers like Shreya Ghosal and Vishal for his music. So, does Karnataka lack good singers? "I think, the state has given many good singers. I am from Karnataka, born in Mysore. Today I sing in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and many languages. Sowmya Rao, daughter of BK Sumitra is based in Mumbai and doing extremely well. We have talented singers like Rajesh Krishnan, MD Pallavi, Anuradha Bhat, Shamita, and Chetan. Other singers are used only for the change of flavour. Irrespective of language, nobody can stop a good singer as far as they deliver a good song as expected in Kannada. There is no dearth of talent in Kannada industry. Of course there is a line between being talented and being successful. We have to derive from our success, open up our thinking and it happens only by venturing out in different languages," he said.
He is happy to start off with a good project as a music director. "It is but very important to have a good team to deliver better music. To my luck, I have a good producer, director and a wonderful actor like Shivaraj-kumar," said Vijay who is not keen on taking up every project coming his way. "I started my profession from scratch. It was all slow and steady and nothing came overnight for me. At one point, I had gone underground with no friends and no godfather. But it has been a satisfying journey and I have got my reward for my effort. Right now singing will be my priority as it gives me joy. The number of projects as a music director will be quite less as per my current planning," he said.