Published on December 16th, 2011 | by Sejal Shah1
S- Singer PB- Play Back
S P Balasubramanium is a name that needs no introduction. A phenomenon in South Indian film music, SPB is a legend in play back singing. Not just a playback singer, but also an actor, music composer and a film producer, he is a multifaceted talent.
The crowd swayed in joy on the arrival of the most veteran talent, SPB sir. His versatility, incredible voice range, unique style of singing and a voice with depth had kept his fans enthralled. No sooner did he grace the stage to interact with a bunch of enthusiastic students he noticed the ‘SPB’ formation formed by the students to honour his presence.
The event gathered momentum when our students performed the welcome dance which was a mixture of all songs sung by the famous singer, we also had a gig being performed to honour the achievements of SPB. It was a different face to face interaction all together. Balasubramaniam has sung thousands of songs, in five different Indian languages, during his career span. As a singer, he virtually ruled Telugu, Tamil and Kannada film music industry for over two decades and rendered some of the evergreen hits during the period.
“The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
the hidden soul of harmony.”- Milton, L’Allegro has very wonderfully said these words describing how a singer reaches the hearts of millions, as students we had only known how great an artist he is, it was only during the interactive session we got close to SPB sirs real self who proved it once again that he is an epitome of ‘simplicity and great talent’.
There was a galore of questions for SPB sir which were running in minds of many; they pulled off by asking him when he discovered a singer in him? The legendary singer had a huge grin and said he was very interested in singing from the very beginning; he started studying notations and learnt to play instruments like harmonium and flute on his own while listening to his father.
He was also questioned regarding his view towards the reality shows and how far have they been successful in nourishing young talents? SPB sir shared his views telling they do bring out talents but they are not usually long term.
Amidst the question and answer session the veteran singer sang a lot of foot tapping numbers in order to keep the crowd entertained and energetic. He shared his view points on the new and young singers opening music schools, which according to him should only open if they have enough and more knowledge to share. When a question was put forth to SPB sir if he was going to open any school in future, he said a big ‘no’ because he was still in the process of learning from others and might not be able to teach.
Though an established singer he has never made any other singer feel inferior to him. SPB is a gifted singer, highly regarded for his incredible vocal range, mastery of style, technique and control. He never hesitated to share his singing pattern. He told us that his approach to singing is methodical; he perseveres to understand the full meaning of the songs that he sings, many of which are very poetic and the settings in which these songs are couched in order to most effectively match their requirements with his vocal delivery. He also added that at a point he became very busy and that he used to sing even 17 songs in 12 hours at the recording theatre.
When asked his views on the old songs being remixed by new singers, he readily said that he personally does not like, it should be kept as it is and should be appreciated for its originality, they might be entertaining for young generation but they fail to reflect on its real identity.
If barometer for achievement in life is to live after death, SPB is a great achiever. He will remain an immortal as long as Indian cinema is alive.