Singer Nandini Srikar tells us about her inspirations, successes and what made her enter the world of music
She is the reigning Tzarina of ad-film jingles in India and her resume just doesn’t stop at that. A singer, music composer and a guitar player, Nandini Srikar recently sang for Ra-One, and has a line-up of projects in waiting.
Though singing was her first love, she did not join the industry immediately, she was first working in the software industry. Telling us more about her shift from a techie to a tune spinner, she says, “When I was a kid my aunt had left her veena at my place. I have no recollection of watching anyone play one before but I could play any tune I heard on the instrument without any training. It came quite naturally to me, so my parents soon enrolled me for veena classes. None of them lasted long enough though, but I did give my first public performance at the age of four and a half years.”
Nandini’s love for music is interesting as she learnt to play the acoustic guitar at the age of 12. She is also well versed in music like Carnatic, Hindustani, Western classical, Rock, Blues and Jazz.
Nandini’s entry into the industry was purely by chance when she was spotted by singer Hariharan at a private gathering in 1997. Soon after she pursued her love for music and has never looked back since. She tells us, “I met Hariharan when he had come to perform for the Colonial Cousins gig at the Pune Festival. He had heard me sing and in the next 15 days recommended my name to Vidyasagar for a Tamil film song. After that song became a huge hit in the south, I quit my job and became a full-time musician.”
Nandini has to her credit, a few hundred ad jingles, in the last 14 years. Notable among them is her songs for Samsung X200, Kingfisher Airlines, Bru Cappuccino, Sunfeast Dark Fantasy, Muthoot Finance and Life Insurance Corporation. She has collaborated with several internationally renowned jazz musicians on a fusion platform, sung for both Bollywood and Tollywood, and has played the guitar for Shaan and Hariharan’s albums. When asked about her journey, Nandini says, “I do not want to be stereotyped. I don’t see why you can’t be all of these if you have the capability. Personally, my sense of success or achievement comes from what I have learnt over the years, and not from anything else.” On interests other than music, Nandini tells us, “I read a lot and I love Math and Physics and allied subjects like Astronomy, Astrophysics and Quantum Physics. I read a lot on Psychology, Philosophy and History (particularly related to ancient cultures and civilisations). I love travelling to places of historic significance as opposed to modern cities.
Nandini’s song Bhare Naina was loved by the audience, and received a lot of critical acclaim. She tells us excitedly, “I am fortunate that the song was loved by everyone. I do have other great movie projects lined up, but my work as music director will continue as usual. I’ve released my album Beete Pal recently and will be promoting it with live gigs. I’m also looking forward to some interesting collaborations which I am excited about. I have composed, programmed, produced and performed all the songs in my album.”
Nandini’s success was far from easy. She tells us, “Creating my own music seemed a very difficult task to accomplish. All artistes are totally dependent on record labels for their production and promotion, and record companies had gotten into the bandwagon of doing only remixes and sexy videos. However, the last 15 years ushered in the era of the Internet, download sites like iTunes, Amazon etc. that have made record companies obsolete, creating new platforms for independent artists.” Her album ‘Beete Pal’ is now available on Amazon and iTunes and 30 other sites. With a multitude of projects in offing, Nandini is living her life to the fullest. And as an audience – we can’t wait to see what’s next – well, in this case, hear what’s next.