HYDERABAD: Pop and yodeling sensation Shanmukha Priya has been inspiring millions of young singers, who aspire to make music a full-time career. With her parents' backing, the 18-year-old from Vizag has been on several music reality shows, the latest being Indian Idol season 12.
Now, she is all set to take Hyderabad by storm on Saturday with her first solo concert after the pandemic at Shilpakala Vedika. "I will be performing with Stephen Devassy sir. I've worked really hard for this concert as it’s my first solo show after the pandemic broke out. Stephen sir and I have been planning this for a while now. I hope everything goes well," she says.
Born to professional musicians, Shanmukha Priya's musical journey began when she was four years old. "Both my mom and dad are musicians and they used to perform at concerts. They used to also teach music at home. We always had students coming over to learn from them. It was all about music at our home, 24x7. When I was four, my parents heard me hum a tune. They immediately started training me in Carnatic music and have been backing me ever since. They are my biggest inspiration," she says.
Shanmukha Priya first appeared on screen when she was five. "I performed in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs in 2008. Back then, I could not really understand the judges' comments. It was more like they would announce my name and I had to go on stage and sing," she says.
Over the years, she has grown as a musician and feels blessed to have been able to sing for late playback singer and music director SP Balasubrahmanyam. "I've grown up listening to SPB sir, Janaki Amma, Susila Amma, Lata Mangeshkar ma’am and Kishore (Kumar) sir. Chitra ma'am has also played an important role in my life," she says.
Years later, Indian Idol happened. It was Shanmukha Priya's 12th reality show and was a completely different experience. "All this while, I was participating in competitions in the under-15 category. But at Indian Idol, all the contestants were elder to me and way more experienced too," says the show's finalist, adding that getting into Indian Idol was her childhood dream.
Throughout her journey, Shanmukha Priya has had only one goal: "People should be able to identify my voice." Speaking about her life after the show, she says: "When I returned from Mumbai, I was overwhelmed with all the love and support that I received."
But this was probably just the start to a flourishing career. Actor Vijay Deverakonda roped her in to sing for Liger. "After completing the track, I went to his home and met him. It still feels unreal," she says. Today, she has a 20-song album in the pipeline. "It's a project with Octopus Entertainment. I will be rapping and my look is going to be a bit different," she says.