The singer from Bengaluru, who shot to fame thanks to ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ Kannada, talks to TNM about his journey so far and more.

Kush kush to Nigooda nigooda In conversation with Kannada singer Sanjith HegdeSanjith Hegde/Instagram
Flix Music Monday, May 20, 2019 - 14:48

Anytime you switch on a Kannada radio station or even a Telugu or Tamil one, chances are that you will hear this lad’s magical voice. From the intense music of the recently released Kavaludaari to the peppy songs of ABCD, Bengaluru boy Sanjith Hegde’s voice is the flavour of not just Sandalwood, but also Tollywood and Kollywood. The lanky lad who shot to fame thanks to Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Kannada is on a roll with various film projects. But Sanijth is more than just a playback singer – his love for independent music comes through as he talks to The News Minute about his journey so far and more.

“Even before Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, I’d worked on Rama Rama Re, but that project didn’t work out. But after I went on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and gained some popularity, I was offered more projects. Charan Raj and I worked together on Tagaru and Dhalapati. My association with him started when he sent me a message and said that his dad had showed him some videos of me. I’m now working with him as a songwriter in some upcoming projects. I’m trying to implement my music into what he’s doing as well,” says Sanjith, who reveals that Charan is one of his biggest inspirations.

Post his reality show stint in Bengaluru, Sanjith set off to Chennai as he was always fascinated by Tamil music and ended up taking part in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa there. “In both the shows, I went to the semi-finals and was the last one to get eliminated before the finals,” reveals the singer, whose Tamil debut happened with Kalakalappu 2. He also garnered a fan following in Telugu with I Want To Fly from Krishnarjuna Yuddham. In Kannada he has lent his voice to ‘Kush Kush’ from Chamak, apart from Ondu Motteya Kathe, Natasarvabhoma and the recently released 99. Thrilled that all the industries have accepted his work, he says, “The concept of playback singing is fascinating to me. I’m more of the ‘going and collaborating’ as an artiste kind of guy. I like to sit with my guitar and make my own music.”

As someone who’s had the freedom to pack his bags and get going to different cities whenever he felt like it, Sanjith credits his parents for being extremely supportive of his dreams. “Appa used to be into bhajans and Amma used to take me to music class. I got into music at four when I started learning Hindustani classical. At home, we had no Sandalwood or Tollywood influence – it was always classical or jazz music. When growing up, the Pakistani band Strings was a huge influence on me. I even met Faisal Kapadia (the lead singer) on Brigade Road once. Pakistani music has played a pivotal role in shaping my music. The thing is my connection with my parents is so strong that they let me do whatever I want. Life isn’t just about money – both my mom and dad are social workers,” he shares.

Having done his schooling in Sishu Griha, Sanjith joined JSS College for his engineering. “I’d travel an hour and 40 mins every day to college. When doing the course, I realised how much time an engineering student had to waste. I used to go for auditions and create my own music.”

Post this, the artiste headed to Mumbai to try his luck in music and took part in various reality shows including The Voice and Indian Idol. “People say I’ve had it easy – but I really haven’t. I have faced quite a bit of difficulties. In Mumbai, they disqualified me in every audition and I was like ‘Oh, I’m a burden to my parents’. But then I came back to Bengaluru, and before my civil finals I went to Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and it randomly worked out,” Sanjith says.

With his music career taking off, Sanjith quit engineering and took up BBA. Having garnered significant fame in south India at such a young age, how has he been dealing with it?

“I’ve not achieved even 2% of what I want to – this popularity isn’t really anything. I want my music to connect with people all over the world. I want my songs to be played in a country like Kazakhstan too!” says the focused youngster, who’d love to work with AR Rahman, Timbaland and Bruno Major.

On a parting note, ask him about his much-talked about hairdo and he laughs, “I’ve not cared about it much – people think I actually take care of it! I haven’t given much thought to it, maybe that’s why it’s gotten so much attention. When you don’t really care about something, it takes off!”

Ikyatha Yerasala is a Bengaluru-based journalist who’s also a movie, pun and anti-patriarchy enthusiast.

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