Nianjanaa's parents said people initially discouraged them from teaching their daughter western music as it was not popular in the south.

Bengaluru 12-year-olds golden voice wins she will perform in New Yorks prestigious Carnegie HallImage: taaqademy/Facebook
news Music Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 20:18

When 12-year-old Nilanjanaa sent a recording of her performing Frank Sinatra’s popular jazz number “Fly me to the Moon” as the entry to the Golden Voices of America competition in March this year, little did she know what it would eventually lead her to.

A month later, when the results were released, the Bengaluru girl was declared the winner in the Jazz category.

Following her win, Nilanjanaa will be performing the same song at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City come October 2016. The class 8 student will join a select list of Indian artists, including Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Shivakumar Sharma, to have performed at the Hall.  

As she prepares for her biggest performance yet, Nilanjanaa said she was extremely thrilled to perform at the world-famous concert hall. “I’m really excited and am looking forward to it. I’ve pumped up my training sessions and I am going to give my best at Carnegie Hall,” she said.

Nilanjanaa is the only child of Jayant Ananthkrishnan and Sangeeta Ananth, who reside at JP Nagar in the city.

Jayant thanked Taaqademy, a Bengaluru-based music school founded by musicians Rajeev Rajagopal and Bruce Lee Mani, for his daughter’s achievement.

“I would attribute her success to the music school. They trained her really hard and as a result she is now achieving what she always wanted to. Western music is not popular in the south and everyone used to discourage us from teaching it to her, but we let her follow her interest and she proved our decision was not wrong,” he said.

Sangeeta Ananth, Nilanjanaa’s mother, said that her daughter has had a long bond with music. "Music always interested her, and she used to hum tunes very well even when she was young. It’s because of this that we decided to send her for Carnatic music classes when she turned six," she said.

Nilanjanaa, who is left handed, was expected to keep tabs on her tala using her right hand and this used to upset her a lot. She refused to go to the Carnatic music classes because of this issue, Jayant said.

Two years later, in 2014, she changed to western music as it was her comfort zone and joined Taaqademy.

Ragini Ramanathan, Nilanjanaa’s teacher at Taaqademy, will also be felicitated at the Golden Voices of America for having trained her.

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