Composer Talk – 1, Vocalists

Every composer out there would feel happy if he or she could sing their own compositions. However, singing does not come to them naturally as composing, it is talent which I call it a gift from God [or for atheists it is a gift from nature]. Often from a singer’s perspective, it is enough if he or she is able to sing with good pitch control.

From a composer’s perspective singing in proper pitch is not the only factor I look for. I try to see it beyond. Mere singing in pitch does not qualify one to be the greatest singer. Vocalists must justify the composition and the lyrics. The voice should express the lyrics via the composition. The primary goal of a composer is to create a composition that passes the energy he found in the lyrics across to the listener. Lyrics is main soul for the song, it supplies the energy. While the composition is the Neural network that ties other elements with the soul. The composer creates this network. A composer should be able to generate a synergy between his tune and words with the help from his vocalist.

Vocalist, they give the shape to the composition. The singer should have the ability to get the energy generated by the composition across to the listeners. A singer might have a clean voice with prefect pitch control, he or she might be singing classical songs with the so called “agmark” perfection, but when it comes to light music, the same singer must have the capacity to produce the energy in the words with proper feel for the composition. “vandemathram” or new Aythyuth ezuthu song “Jananaganama” by A.R.Rahman, you will feel lots of energy when you hear him singing those words. In vandemathram Rahman generates the passion in those words via his voice, while in the song “janaganamana”, based on the screen character his voice shows some “power” and “carefree” feelings, the tone he uses gives a very proud feeling.

Latest Song Release
Lead Vocals: Suren[Introducing], and Sundar
Backing vocals : Sundar and Srikanth, Music : Srikanth
Digitally recorded and mixed at Studio1234, USA
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Ranga, Udhaya and Balaji for making me do this.
Thanks to Arun and "Project Madurai" for the softcopy of the Lyrics.

Bottom line, singing with proper pitch is not the only factor. Many tend to assume if they do the pitching part well they are done with singing. Actually no, the edge which most [Tamil] playback singers today have these days is the energy they carry with the melody lines. Sriram, KayKay, Karthick Tippu, Malathy are few examples. Simply singing a raga with perfection does not work for me. The composition has to convey the power clearly to the listener.

My composition to Bharathi’s “Sentamiz nAdu ennum pOthinele”, when I read those words I realized the power in it, but I also felt the traditional tune for this song did not convey the energy in the song. The traditional tune might have worked well for group singing. But when it comes to a solo, it does not work for me. Eg: When you sing “Shakti pirakudhu” the tune should convey the energy. I created a tune that conveys this with the help of my friend Ravi, Ravi is not a trained singer but can sing to an extent but I found his voice capable of generating the energy that I wanted for those words. you can download it fromhere

"Singing in sruthi/pitch will always remain a minimum necessity but Sruthi without expression is bland; expression without sruthi is dialogue delivery"....RajaG

So to conclude, from a composer's angle, I expect my singers to generate the energy in the lyrics. I don’t mind if they are not trained etc. The feel, some might wonder how you feel a song; a composer knows to feel the song when he reads the lyrics.

The vocalist gets this so called “feel” felt by the composer to the outside world. Few singers whom I work with today have this great tendency naturally; they get the emotion out without much effort; Sunder Rao and Raja Govindarajan top my list.

More to come…Keep visting…