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Shashaa Tirupati fought with her family to take up singing as a profession before moving to India. Canada-based singer Shashaa Tirupati says AR Rahman is the best guru and singer. Having made her playback debut through 2010’s Bumm Bumm Bole in Bollywood, she rose to fame in the Tamil industry with songs like Naane Varugiren (O Kadhal Kanmani), Kaadhalaada (Vivegam) and Vaan (Kaatru Veliyidai). The last song by AR Rahman fetched her a National Award for the Best Playback Singer. More recently, her songs, Visiri and Endhira Logathu Sundari, from Enai Noki Paayum Thota and 2.0, respectively, are already a rage among the youth and continue to top the charts. Apart from her lilting voice, Shashaa is also known for her impeccable pronunciation. She’s sung in thirteen languages so far, and makes sure that ‘each song has a regional connect’.
“Singers are actors behind the microphone. We are the audio of a film experience, and what people see on screen must be in sync with what they are hearing. I always try to do justice to the composition and lyrics of each song.” Shashaa adds that she doesn’t need any special preparation to get into the mood of a song. “I think, for me, it’s all about being in the moment. I simply tap into the happy or sad space to suit the mood of the song just like that. There is a lot of sadness, happiness and excitement within us already as humans. A singer just needs to harness the right emotion from behind the microphone.”
“I still feel exactly the same way I felt during my maiden song with him in Kochadaiyaan. I still get goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach each time I meet him,” she says, adding that working with him is both elevating and liberating. “He is the best guru any new singer in the industry can get. He patiently guides his singers through the track, and is often the first one to appreciate their effort.”A look at her discography shows how versatile Shashaa is, having sung both melodies and techno numbers with seemingly equal ease.
“I think the only way to get the pronunciation right is to become a good listener. I make sure I spend quite some time with the lyricist to try and understand the feel of the song. As far as Tamil is concerned, I would give all the credits to Thamarai ma’am. She is very strict about pronunciation, and I have immense respect for the love she has for her mother tongue.”Most of her chartbusters have been associations with AR Rahman, and she says it’s a dream-come-true to work with the composer.
Shashaa has sung Endhira Logathu from 2.0 in all the three versions — Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. “Every language has got a bounce to it and sweetness to it. For instance, I find Tamil to be a language you can sing any genre in. It does justice to every genre and it’s a great language. I love languages a lot, as you can see. So when I sing a track in different languages, I get a new perspective of the song and it’s amazing. It was the same with Endhira Logathu.” She admits that getting the National Award has made her more careful about her choice of songs. “Before that, I made some really bad choices. But now, it has become something of a responsibility.