Anuradha Palakurthi's Video Album with Ustad Nishat Khan of the Jaan Meri has made waves in the world of music. Two of the songs - Jaan Meri and Ishg Ne are two of the top finalists for the best song of the year at the Radio Mirchi Awards (equivalent of the Grammy's in India).
For New England music fans it is a special moment of pride to see a member of our community be recognized for excellence.
Anuradha started her playback singing career in the South Indian films. After a break to raise a family she is now back in full form actively engaged in the performance scene. Widely regarded for her versatility across vocal genres, she was the featured female singer in live shows in the USA with Kumar Sanu, Suresh Wadkar, Deepak Pandit and Bappi Lahiri.
Anuradha recorded a duet with Hariharan for Ekal Vidyalaya – a song written by Sunayana Kachroo and composed by Guitarist Prasanna, Drummer Sivamani and a group of 14 multiple-Grammy winning musicians from across the globe. Anuradha Palakurthi’s Guru and Guide for all musical pursuits is Vidushi Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar.
Anuradha is the serving Chairperson of MIT’s Heritage Arts of South Asia (MITHAS) and co-hosts a weekly Radio Music India show on WLYN 1360 that educates and entertains listeners on the Carnatic & Hindustani classical roots of Indian Film music
She is married to Boston based entrepreneur Prashanth Palakurthi, whom she met as a student in BITS Pilani, India. They have three children and a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law.
1. How does it feel to have your songs be nominated of the Radio Mirchi Music Awards?
This recognition feels good because:
It is India’s most prestigious pure-music award
It is Juju Productions first album – and we are outsiders to the Indian music world .70+ musicians came together at YashRaj Audio to record the music in an old-world style - a rare occurrence today in music production. It is particularly gratifying to music-lovers when human effort (with its frailty) sounds better than what computer software produces
It is a recognition for music that carries Indian heritage. The album was composed by Ustad Nishat Khan, whose family traces its history to the court of Akbar
There were over a thousand entries - I had goosebumps imagining a panel of top 20 Bollywood artists picking our two songs from that list
Lastly, never before were two songs from one album picked in a non-film category in Mirchi Awards’ history
I must add that the sixth song of the Album, Taang Mai, is an entry in the Punjabi Section of the awards – and will be judged in a couple of months. Fingers crossed for #3 ☺
2. What motivated you to create the album Jaan Meri?
When we met Ustad Nishat Khan in Boston, he was looking for a "voice" for some of his decade-old music ideas. And happily, I found a composer. We set out to make a private album of exceptional quality, and probably the grandest one ever of Indian origin. It took three years for completion, including videos for all six songs in it.
Ustad Ji was adamant that the album be called “Jaan Meri” because Prashanth calls me that – and he saw this album as a labor of love.
3. How does it feel to establish yourself as a professional singer after a long gap?
It is cathartic, especially since I kept my passion within my sights. Sunayana Kachroo wrote a song in the album - Dhool Hatakar – that sums up the contentment that emerges from pursuing passions through life’s journey, stops and mis-directions. I would urge your readers to listen to it. I think that such an attainment for a woman means much more (sorry for sounding sexist), given other distractions that are left to us to handle. Self-attainment makes a better human being, functioning to the fullest - both as a member of the society and one’s family.
4. To whom do you attribute the success of this album?
It is always a team effort...however cliched it sounds. My parents, my in-laws, my God, my Guru Arati-Ji, my kids, my friends who blindly encourage me (maybe they are biased)– telling me I’m good even when I/they know I’m not ☺
And then there's my love, my fearless rock, my partner-in-crime, my husband – Prashanth. He inspires me to work hard and make him prouder of me, every day. He's the one who dreams for me. I was actually very happy being just a bathroom singer.
5. Any advice to aspiring singers?
Find a great guru
Take advice with humility
Keep your feet on the ground
Surround yourself with a wide support network, you’ll need it
Respect the craft, Respect its practitioners – it will respect you back