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Thread: Interview with Naresh Iyer (NOV & RR)

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    Interview with Naresh Iyer (NOV & RR)

    "It was a surprise when AR Rahman sir summoned me", says Naresh Iyer

    TFM Page speaks to upcoming and current singing sensation, Naresh Iyer!

    - NOV & RR

    Naresh Iyer, after his grand entry with mayiliragE won Hubbers hearts and souls and was voted as best singer of 2006. Recently, TFM Page conducted an interview with him where he shared his background, experiences and other intimate details.

    Excerpts from the three-hour interview....

    Q: We have read that AR Rahman spotted you during the Super Singer contest and thus your film music career was born. Can you elaborate?

    Naresh: Samsung Super Singer competition is an all-India effort to identify and promote talented singers. The competition was organised by Channel V and the crew went to all parts of India to conduct the tests. In total there were 24,000 contestants!

    This huge number was filtered through a series of tests before the final 50 contestants were shortlisted. Of these 50 people 25 were further shortlisted, based on their previous performances and I was one of the 25 selected.

    Q: Which song did you sing in front of ARR?

    Naresh: I sang in front of AR Rahman sir and Adnan Sami sir, who was the host of the programme. The song I had chosen was Chaiyya chaiyya from Dil Se and I also sang a keertanam.

    The day before, all 25 contestants had to go through vigorous training which included yoga, mental strengthening and physical exercises. On the day of selection itself, each contestant were called to perform before AR Rahman sir. By the time I was called to sing, it was evening and I was exhausted both mentally and physically. Besides being tired, I had also lost my voice and felt that I had not given my best, In fact, to tell the truth I had no hopes of getting selected.

    Q: What happened then?

    Naresh: AR Rahman sir addressed me and said that he had both good and bad news and asked me which one I wanted to know first.

    I was quite speechless and blurted that it didn't matter. Then he told the good news; he will be using me for his forthcoming films. The bad news was that I was not selected to be in the last 15.

    I had mixed feelings about this and was rather sceptical of the offer and felt that AR Rahman sir was saying that to just console me. I was dejected for a couple of days and just as I was feeling normal, the call from Chennai came.

    Q: What happened to the competition?

    Naresh: I think the shortlisting continued and from 15, 10 were selected and then a final five. The five were then given training for two months and were asked to sing for a specially composed song by Hrimesh. If I remember right the finalists also were given the opportunity to record a pop album.
    Ravindra Upatiyai was the eventual winner, but it is sad that I lost contact with all participants when I lost my cell phone.

    Q: You got eliminated but won bigger! Did you get any inkling about what ARR likes in you?

    Naresh: I think only AR Rahman sir can answer this.
    Honestly, to this day I have no idea why he chose me to sing in his films. I consider myself to be lucky and am forever grateful to AR Rahman sir for the opportunity.

    Q: How and when did you meet AR Rahman next?

    Naresh: AR Rahman sir's Engineer Mr. Aditya Madhi called me on the 20th of January 2005 and conveyed that ARR sir requested me to come to Chennai for a week. I met ARR sir on the 24th and he told me that he will see what song suits me. At that point of time I had no idea whether I will be singing a Tamil song or a Hindi song or any other details.
    Q: Tell us your experiences recording for Mayilirage.

    Naresh: It was in early February that I sang this song. I had no experience whatsoever doing recordings and every experience was new for me. But once I was in the studio AR Rahman sir treated me like a friend and made me totally comfortable. He was joking and laughing a lot and there was absolutely no tension.

    The recording was in the evening and besides me, there were Vaali sir, SJ Surya sir and Madhushree madam. Amidst these giants I felt like a kid!

    I was asked to sing the pallavi first. There were no tracks and AR Rahman sir guided me through the pallavi. Then Madhushree madam sang the first saranam. I observed her singing and learnt some techniques.

    Since the song was not completely written, the recording continued the next day.

    Thinking back to those days, I am amazed with so many things. Mayilirage is still a favourite song of many people till today; it is such a beautiful song. All credits must go to AR Rahman sir.

    Having talents is one thing, but when people enjoy the product; there is nothing more beautiful than that.

    Q: How old were you when the song was recorded. There was talk that you were only a teenager then.

    Naresh: (Laughs) I think there must have been some misinformation. I remember seeing that in the Hub.
    I was 23 when I sang that song.

    Q: The song was picturised interestingly. Did you see it?

    Naresh: Yes, the concept was quite unique and the song was visualised by the director in relation to the subject. Since I had always lived in Mumbai, I had no idea on the genius of SJ Surya sir. Only later I came to know of his previous records in Vaali, Kushi and New.
    Q: How did Innisai alaibedaiye happen?

    Naresh: Again it was a surprise for me when AR Rahman sir summoned me. It was quite tough for me to sing the song as I hardly understood the lyrics.

    It was Vairamuthu sir who explained the lyrics to me. It was a very challenging and intensive song to sing. In one line, three different "ra's" appear and since there was no track, I had to sing the song withthe help of the seniors around me. We began recording in the late afternoon and finished late into the night.

    Unfortunately the film got delayed and I feel that affected the reach of the song.

    Q: Some people critiqued after hearing mayilirage that you cannot sing in high octaves. You debunked them by clearly reaching the upper Ma in the ending of Innisai.

    Naresh: I regard singing each and every song as a learning experience. I admit that there are some things I can do and some I cannot. Maybe the critiques are partially right. I appreciate people pointing out my mistakes so that I can rectify and improve myself.

    However, Rang De Basant in which I sang four songs had higher octaves. In innisai I sang in F but in RDB I had to sing up to A tone.
    Again, I could do this only with the guidance of AR Rahman sir and honestly all credit should go to him.

    My challenge I believe is when I am called to sing in low pitch - that I think may be a problem.

    Q: While some people are busy with local raps and hiphops , you are singing vaLLuvar muppal and aLabedai like a Tamil pundit. Tell us about your Tamil knowledge.

    Naresh: You really think so? I don't know what to say. My native is Palakkad but I was born and bred in Mumbai and we speak Hindi all the time. Only at home I speak thamizh as it is my mother tongue. In fact I can't read or write in thamizh and write the songs I sing in English. Anyway, thanks for the compliments. (Laughs)

    Q: Let us shift over to Bollywood. Tell us your experiences singing 'aye saala' with AR Rahman.

    Naresh: This was the first song I sang in Hindi after Mayilirage. Rang De Basant featured a big cast and I met many of its stars including Amir Khan, Madhavan and Sidharth.
    This experience was the ultimate for me as I recorded four songs for the movie. AR Rahman sir was great. I love his voice and his singing and it was an honor to sing alongside him.

    "nammaalayum ippadi paada mudiyumaanu enakkulle oru aachariyam!"

    Q: How was your response when none of your songs were picturised fully in Rang De Basanti.

    Naresh: Again it was a different concept by the director. Initially I felt a little disappointed but then I changed my point of view. I am sure even AR Rahman sir would have done the songs knowing on the amount of usage. I am grateful to the lyricist and director of the movie for their guidance in singing these songs.

    Q: You have begun singing for other MDs now such as Sabesh-Murali (aasai kanave - Imsai Arasan) and Imaan (Nee en thozhiya - Rendu). Your thoughts?

    Naresh: All music directors are nice and helpful. I consider myself to be very lucky.
    You know, I am a big fan of Vadivellu sir and I love his comedy. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I will sing for him. I even collected his autograph!
    Q: Who was Naresh Iyer before the contest?

    Naresh: I have always loved music and was learning till I was in 6th standard. Then my interest waned and I was more keen in playing cricket, etc. I resumed learning music at the age of 21.

    In the meantime, I used to participate in many college competitions. Eventually I began doing stage shows. Mind you I was singing totally Hindi songs.

    I did my B.Com. Strangely my ambition was to be a chemical engineer but I landed in Commerce. I also did CA at my father's urging.

    In spite of all these, my passion for music was always there. Although I was involved in a lot of stage shows and life was hectic, I derived lots of satisfaction. My parents cooperation also helped me to sustain my interest in music.

    There are four of us in the family - my father Shankar, mother Radha and my younger sister.

    Q: Who has influenced your singing the most?

    Naresh: My grandmother, Madam Jayalakshmi was the prime mover behind my music. She had always wanted me to become a playback singer and gave me lots of encouragement. My deepest regret is that she passed away (in 2003) before she could see my foray into fim singing. If I could get one wish from God, it would be bring back my grandmother to life.

    Q: Do you do composing or songwriting?

    Naresh: No. I am quite happy to just sing.

    Q: Were you in touch with Tamil film music before your foray here?

    Naresh: Unfortunately not much. Having lived all my life in Mumbai, I hardly had any exposure to Tamil music. I would say, very irregular.

    Q: You must've listened to Ilayaraja songs.

    Naresh: I have utmost respect for Ilayaraja and my father is a great fan of huim. I have listened to his music in Sadma (Moondram Pirai in Tamil) and just love the songs.

    Q: Who is your favorite MD?

    Naresh: Quite obviously I am partial towards AR Rahman sir. I would include people like Ilayaraja, Madan Mohan and many others.

    Q: Favorite Singer?

    Naresh: SP Balasubramaniam, Chitra, Swarnalatha, KK, Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghosal, Sonu Nigam. The list goes on and on.

    Q: What do you think is the difference between filmy singing and classical?

    Naresh: I am relatively new in this field and as such cannot really say. For your info I cannot sing a katcheri!

    Q: Which genre of music interests you the most?

    Naresh: Nothing in particular actually. I am open to all styles and as long as the music pleases my heart, I am happy.

    Q: Any favourite raga?

    Naresh: I haven't learnt enough to have an opinion on this. (Laughs)
    In fact my Guru says, "varnam - ivanukku varanum!"

    Q: What are your upcoming movies?

    Naresh: I have recorded for several movies both in Tamil and Hindi, but they are yet to be released. Chennai Kaadhal is one movie that will be released soon. (Listen to Silusilukkum silumishi from Chennai Kaadhal.)

    Q: How many songs have you recorded so far?

    Naresh: About 15 in thamizh, four in hindi (few more unreleased), and about three each in telugu and kannada, which are yet to be released.

    Q: Who have you worked with so far?

    Naresh: Besides AR Rahman sir, I have also worked with Srikanth Deva, Vijay Anthony and Deva sir.
    One of my most memorable moments was singing together with Shreya Ghosal madam for the song munbe vaa in Sillunu Oru Kadhal.

    Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    Naresh: By nature I am a very "present" person and let the future take care of itself. I think it is more important that we live the present and do justice to it.

    Q: Are you a Net buff?

    Naresh: Not much. Ever since my computer broke down, I have not been surfing much. Hope to do so soon.

    Q: Have you visited TFM Page?

    Naresh: I just saw it once but have been in touch with RR regularly.

    Q: Any message for your fans?

    Naresh: I am really grateful to the audience for accepting my voice. Although I am relatively new in this field the support I have been getting is overwhelming. I love my fans and their appreciation and welcome all criticisms. I promise to minimise on my shortcomings and continually improve myself. It is all about learning and there is really no end to it.
    So, thank you once again for your support.

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  3. #2
    Junior Member Admin HubberNewbie HubberTeam HubberModerator HubberPro Hubber
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    naresh interview

    hi friends

    naresh iyer is great, he has been grateful to ARR and will be always. that is very nice of him.

    we wish naresh iyer all the best in the year 2007


  4. #3
    Senior Member Diamond Hubber
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    Anbe Sivam

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    Senior Member Veteran Hubber
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    his first keertanam in fromt of ARR was too good

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    hi guys
    i have had the opportunity to meet naresh and i think besides being blessed with an awesome voice he is also v practical with firm head on his shoulders and humble...other singers and celebs shd borrow a page fm his book and change their attitude..
    all the best naresh and a harmonious 2007

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    Devoted Hubber sundararaj's Avatar
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    Liberty is my religion. Liberty of hand and brain -- of thought and labor. Liberty is the blossom and fruit of justice -- the perfume of mercy. Liberty is the seed and soil, the air and light, the dew and rain of progress, love and joy.

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    wow naresh ..

  9. #8
    Senior Member Senior Hubber chevy's Avatar
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    He is a chartered accountant ?

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