Sunday, 30 April 2017

This Sid wakes up with a wish to sing for Ilayaraja

“The very next moment when Raja sir calls me to record a song for him, I would be at his doorstep”, says Sid Sriram, possessor of the mesmerising voice that had rendered AR Rahman’s ‘Thalli Pogathey’ the song that was driving the youth, from Simbu starrer ‘Acham Yenbathu Madamaiyada.

I caught up for an interview with the 27-year-old play back singer who had visited Trichy to take part in National Institute of Technology - Tiruchirappalli (NITT)’s annual inter college cultural fiesta Festember's 2016 edition. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Sid Sriram - Source:

Q1. ‘Sid Sriram’, the name of this young vocalist is often referred and remembered for the high pitch and scale he touches when rendering a song. So, what is the secret behind this peculiar skill?

A. I am a well trained singer of Indian classical music especially Carnatic. Since my age of 10, I have been performing in Chennai’s December season. This experience I have gained from singing classical music is what gave me the gift of singing high pitch songs at a very comfort zone. Along with that the way I was trained as a singer too was peculiar as I could concentrate both on Western and Indian music both in which high notes often appear while composing.

Q2. You were brought up outside India in a country which is far from Tamil language and tradition, but in all your songs, the way you deal with the language is almost like a pro. How do you do that?

A. All is because of the lyricists with whom I work with and had penned the songs I had sung. Most of my songs were penned by experienced lyricists like Thamarai. Before I record any song, I would sit and learn from them to pronounce every single word in the poetry. Apart from them, the directors of the films I had recorded songs. Be it GVM, Maniratnam or Shankar, all of them concern a lot about every inch and pinch of their movies, and lyrics is no exception in that.

Q3. Again a similar question. Most of your songs are of extremely emotional contexts like ‘Ennodu Nee Irunthaal’ or ‘Thalli Pogathey’. How do you put in efforts to in take the meaning an feel of the song so the output is very perfect every time?

A. I would again thank the Carnatic music background in which I was brought up. Classical music will always travel with the original feel and mood of the song if sung in a proper way. All Carnatic songs that are penned in Tamil, Sanskrit or Telugu basically would have been composed with the feel plaited along with the lyrics. So, I had gained a rich experience in singing all kinds of emotions since my childhood. And even in these kind of emotions lyricists like Thamarai would help me understand word by word.

When I was interacting with Sid Sriram

Q4. Being a classical singer you would have sung amidst original instruments. On the other side, you have been singing the typical Western genres like Blues for a long time in which music is completely synthesised. How do you differentiate both these streams?

A. I call it a boon to experiment both kinds of music. When you take songs like Thalli Pogathey, they are completely programmed numbers. While, the songs I perform during December season are full of true instrumental music. Both have given me a lot of knowledge. Concentrating completely on Carnatic music during a stage concert would not be that easy as I could get essence of Blues kind-of shades or the other way where I could put in Sangathis of classical music while singing a Western number. Fortunately, both have never occurred as I have trained in singing all two genres well.

Q5. Have you ever thought of singing a raw Tamil music or a folk number, as all your songs till now have only been Westernized ones?

A. Every singer has his/her own limits which is the one aspect he/she should be aware of. Staying away from songs that are beyond my limits is more important than selecting the songs I could sing. (Smiles).

Q6. So far you have sung only in the composition of ARR and only a song of Anirudh. Are you restricting yourself within them or are ready to make an attempt to any composer?

A. I never put a barrier to my attempts and I am ready to sing for any composer who gives me a chance to record for them. There are some numbers of me that are about to come in forth coming days which are of composers other than ARR. Above all, I am waiting for the moment when Ilayaraja sir calls me for recording a song. I would reach his doorstep in fractions of time if he opts for my voice in his composition.

-Santhosh Mathevan
Bengaluru, April 30, 2017

P.s. I interviewed Sid Sriram in September 2016 for The New Indian Express. So some facts in the interview could have expired as days passed.

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