- Birth Date: 31 Dec 1969
- Birth Place: Chembur, Mumbai
Shankar Mahadevan is carving a name for himself in the world of music with his debut album Breathless. An album that has made everyone sit up and take note of a man who can apparently sing an entire song in just one breath. (Breathless appears to be a steady stream of a song that goes on without a break, stanzas, verse or even a pause for breath)
Shankar Mahadevan’s background is totally non- - musical. Born in a Chembur (a Mumbai suburb) South Indian family, Shankar was lucky enough to be exposed to the right musical circle from childhood.
Shankar Mahadevan has been trained in Classical Music and strated playing the veena since the age of 5. He gave his first solo performance when he was 11. His talents managed to flourish according to him, cause he met the right people at the right time. Guru T.R. Balamani was his main teacher .He was trained by Tara Devi, which took care of his North Indian semi-classical learning. He did bhav-geet with Srinivas Khale, the legendary Marathi composer.Among Western musicians, Shankar has grown up with Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerin and Weather Report. Also a lot of Indo-Jazz with Louis Banks, and currently is a part of his band.He used to listen a lot to Bade Ghulam Ali Khan to perfect his inflections in Urdu.
Shankar mahadevan is a quaified software engineer and he worked at Oracle Corporation for some time. Also was a part of the team that revolutionised teh development of fourth generation computer languages, before he decided to give that all up and become a full-time singer.He is a prt of a Swedish band called Mynta, whereby he travels to perform twice a year. Also performing in the Chineese Jazz festival , he considers quite important to him.
Shankar started his career with a ghazal for Muhafiz and teams up with Zakir Hussain for Shakti, Sivamani and Louis Banks for Silk and four Swedes and Taufiq Quershi for Mynta to do shows across the world. Shankar's association with Javed Akhtar started incidentally, when he was just three. "The first song I played on harmonium was Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi from Haathi Mere Saathi scripted by Javed Sahib". He did his first album Breathless with him and it was a success.Breathless is a good blend of the traditional and contemporary. The songs are based on classical ragas and also a lot of folk music from various parts of India. In spite of the age difference we have a chemistry that binds us. "It multiplied with Dil Chahta Hai.We are working together in Kuch Na Kaho and Lakshya", he says.
He sang breathless and everybody who listened to the song held their breath. Expectations were high form him. And Shankar Mahadevan did not let his fans down.The idea was javed Akhtar's which was put forth when they were finalising the details for the album. One day when Shankar met Javed, Javed handed him four fullscape sheets with the lyrics on them - almost like an essay. Ans then he had to compose it!! Keeping the music and tone constant and unwavering, he had to compose it without making it sound monotonous. He says he had to use thye melody within each word to create the composition.
Shankar's career is breathlessly jingling forward with pauses just to bask in new glories. Enjoying one such recess after Nine - his latest album with another busy bee Javed Akhtar, Shankar says, "a private album is an open canvas for us to paint the way we like it unlike films, where the director's wish and the demand of script is the prime consideration. The album has nine songs each devoted to a particular emotion as love, sorrow, jealousy, passion and the like. The last song, which we have called jazbaat is a culmination of all possible sentiments."
Mahadevan has given many hit films and music albums. However his creativity hasn’t necessarily come from sitting by the lake and staring in the rainbow kind of situations. “Most of my songs are written when I am stuck in the traffic at link road. Song ‘Meri Zindagi Mein Ayee Ho Tum’ in Armaan was 100% composed in the car. You don’t even need a music instrument in hand to create music. It can be made while sitting on the commode also,” he laughs.
Shankar Mahadevan's biggest advantages is his versatality. Besides singing songs like 'urvasi urvasi' (Humse hai Muqabla), 'Hindustan' (Border), 'Oh la la' (Sapnay) and 'I love you' (Auzaar), he's made a mark in jingles and fusion. He's used a variety of influences , ranging from Hindustani classical, Carnatic, folk and jazz.He has also given his voice in teh films Refugee, China Gate, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Indian and Laawaris.
The 31 year old singer explains that he is happy with the way his film music has done.The versatile National Award winner (he can sing in 10 different languages) says there’s no formula for being a winner. He trusts his gut instinct and never follows any particular method to be a success. Today, he is one of the busiest musicians around.