He performed at the Palais Theatre in 2012, and now playback singer KJ Yesudas is back in Melbourne for another performance. The 74-year-old, whose career has spanned for more than half a century, says he loves performing in Australia. “The people in Australia value Indian culture and wish to accept our culture. This is the main reason why artists like me are being invited to perform in Australia. So I am very happy to sing for them and give them an experience they can store in their memory for years to come,” says Yesudas.
The singer will perform in Melbourne on 24 August at the Robert Blackwood Hall. He spoke to The Indian Sun about his life and the secret behind his youthful voice.
When did you realise you were born to be a singer?
Whatever I am today, it is because of my parents. My father Augustine Joseph, who was a stage actor and singer, understood that I loved music and persuaded me to learn the basics of music. I can see parents today run around with their children to know what they are capable of. My mother was a little against me choosing singing as a career. But my dad knew how to channel my voice towards one goal.
What is the secret behind your voice control and maintaining the beauty of it even at the age of 74?
I can only say that my voice is a gift from God. It is my duty to merely polish and maintain it. I try to maintain my voice with good food habits. Besides that, the daily voice practice is very important. The voice needs to be treated like a gunman’s barrel. You need to clean it every day, otherwise it will rust. As a singer, I have a responsibility to entertain my fans and music lovers. It then becomes my duty to maintain the voice.
There are many children who sing melodiously, especially those who are brought up overseas? How important is classical training to them? Any advice?
Honestly, today people are after instant gratification. Everyone is looking to make a quick buck. But let me tell you honestly, there are no short cuts for a musician. You might win a contest, but if you don’t learn and understand the basics of music, you will not attain success. My advice to children and their parents is—observe around you and inside you. Ask yourself; am I capable of the struggle? There is an old saying, which goes, you can’t get a fish out of the water without getting your hands wet. When you struggle and consistently work hard, success tastes very sweet. As a child, you should pursue your passion dedicating you time and life for it. Never lose sight of your goal.
Now your son Vijay has established himself as a singer. Your grand-daughter is also following the same path. How do you feel about this?
Even after having sung for 50 years, I consider myself a student. So we can’t say that my son Vijay has established himself. He is learning and he has to cross many stages to become an established singer. Similarly his daughter Ameya is just a child with a taste for music. We need to teach and train her.
You are a legend, gifted with a magical voice. But is there a singer you like?
(Laughs…) There is a voice I like, a male voice that’s all I can say. As I don’t want to reveal it, I am keeping that as a secret to myself. I can give one more clue that he is an actor. Don’t ask me more please, I don’t want to reveal it. Let everyone think Yesudas likes their voice. (Laughs…)
You’re always seen in white… even your watch strap is white. Is there a particular reason you wear white all the time?
As I said earlier, my father was a very busy artiste. He was used to wearing good clothes. He was an actor too. We were six children. When he was sick, it was hard to manage our family financially. So I began wearing white so that way no one would know how many clothes I had. Another plus point of wearing white dress is that, if there is a single spot of dirt, white will show it off.
We all are waiting to hear your performance. Is there anything you would like to your fans in Australia?
We are also eagerly waiting to perform there. I can only tell my fans and those who love music to come, listen, enjoy the concert.
You have been asked a number of questions in the interviews you have done for the 53 years. Is there any question you have never have been asked?
I think it would take another 50 years to find a question I haven’t been asked. (Laughs)
Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Magazine in Australia)
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