Monday, August 08, 2011

From today - The Chinmayi App

The first iOS app by a musician across all iOS devices and also the first female singer in India to have an iOS App. The android version will also release soon. 

I had known the brain behind Dakshaa LLC, Naveen, virtually for a while and he is a serial entrepreneur. When I was in the US for the Fortune/ US State Dept mentoring program he told me to release an app. I, of course was apprehensive, wondering who would want to see an app released by me. He was good at convincing me and he is, as I see today from the response I am getting from the Press and Twitter, quite right. 

This will be an interactive App from the next update which will come in 3 weeks and this will also be the platform where I will release my own music or the result of any collaborations I am working on now. This app will also feature exclusive video content in the future. 

I guess this is enough said for now. I have been getting a lot of reviews and inputs from those who have downloaded it reading my tweets and I understand there are some who read my blog that also read my tweets. :)

So yes, this is the beginning of a lot of things to come :)

Here is a preview of the app

Friday, August 05, 2011

Nandi award

Announced today for my dubbing in Ye Maaya Chesave. 
I had never thought of dubbing before SOK. And never thought I ll get an award either for my first film in Telugu. 
This journey, too started from Rahman sir's studio when the studio engineer Karthik called me to test for Sillunu Oru Kadhal. I, in my opinion, had a very un-girly, un-sing-song voice. I was just the normal voice. Somehow Director Krishna decided this is the voice he wants for Bhumika Chawla and I am now 22 films old for dubbing in about 5 years. I continue to be surprised with this though. This was never something I planned. But then I wasnt planning for Blue Elephant since I was a child either.
But I can tell you that this path was not easy. And I also said I didn't want to be doing this at some point because some things were becoming too difficult to handle. I faced a lot of resistance. Not to mention a lot of envy. However, destiny took over. Things changed. And I am grateful for the opportunities. 
Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya and Ye Maaya Chesave are definitely one of the best films in my dubbing career. I love working with Gautham sir. Learned a lot of things from him. Especially subtlety in dubbing. 

Before Vaaranam Ayiram I was just plain scared of GVM. Had never been introduced to him before this film and I was always intimidated and iced out by him. But I am super thankful that he chose me to be the voice of Sameera Reddy despite everything. And then the voice of Jessi.
Had a great time dubbing this film at 7th Channel Studios as I had probably mentioned earlier and a major thanks goes to Mahesh Anna at 7th Channel for making me sound so good. Samantha was one of the first people to call me once the film released to say that people loved my voice. Love her sense of security and her heart to compliment in private and in public.Super happy for her that she got the jury award for YMC. Gautham sir won for best screenplay writer.
Hope I win one for singing as well though.. some day. 
For this Nandi Award, a big thank you to Gautham Vasudev Menon, Mahesh anna, the Jury, the one-of-a-kind-film-fans of Andhra Pradesh and team VTV. YMC/VTV will always be super special.
Other awardees - entire list here

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A lesson - well learnt

So many times have I received mails that ask about issues that I have faced with BE.

So here goes..
By agreeing to get some work done for a friend on the basis of an oral agreement. And then they refused to pay. Let go of the friend thereafter.

Two Malayalam linguists - A and A who showed us that sometimes its better to not trust the work of linguists on face value and always, always double check quality of work and references.

Linguists in India have a basic issue. Of not respecting deadlines. I have almost always faced that. Closer to the deadline - the hard disk will fail. Computers will crash. Accidents will happen. Transformers will burst. And an uncle will die. 
I heard the very same Uncle was serious in hospital twice from the same linguist. Poor uncle, he must be really accident prone. :)
Even worse they will never take phone calls. This was a very early lesson we learned and the basic reason why we chose to work with native speakers of all the foreign languages that we work in. As for Indian languages, I eventually go to know lyricists who agreed to translate for me. Thank God for them. But yes, we did slip in the case of A & A. And decided never to work with them anymore.

In other cases, I have met people who considered themselves our competition that they took things so seriously which gave me a crash course on how unethical business 'veterans' are. The things they do. The things that get done. We decided we'd rather not work with clients who don't respect values or ethics. In the bargain, we might have let go of some great names on our dossier, but I'd rather let our company be a reflection of who I am in ethics and values than be an also ran. 

I learn something every time. But more than anything else, a few years down the line, Blue Elephant will be known for values, ethics and the translated words that have gone out from our office to all over the world, helping businesses that work with us, to reach their goals and effectively communicate to the people they want to speak to.

Experience - The Feel of India

Don't know how I missed this album.
Its a wonderful album that I was a part of and got to sing an Abhang and a line in Raghupathi Raaghav.
Please listen and do buy the album if you like it.
It was composed by the very talented guy called Gopalakrishan

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rock the Tabla - Cairo to India

Rahman sir told me to sing in a track for a collaboration that he was doing with the very famous Egyptian Composer Hossam Ramzy, many moons ago. And though it may be strange I got to know via a tweet that the album is set to release and Cairo to India carries my name in the credits. 

To be credited in an ARR collaboration is humbling for me. And a reaffirmation of what my mom has been putting into my singing and helping me grow as a musician and an artiste. The gratitude to Rahman sir keeps piling up though. There have been days when tears have flown freely due to various reasons. Anger has been one of them. Frustration another. Sadness yet another with regard to my career. 

But if there has been one person who has believed in me for whatever 2 pence I was worth, it has been Rahman sir. From the day of the recording of Dheivam Thandha Poove during my board exams to now, almost a decade has passed. But when I enter the studios today, I am still the child that I was. Time and again have I said, that he was our beacon of hope at the end of a dark tunnel, a ray of hope to a harassed single mom. And a girl who also had begun to question what's the point of living an honest life? Not to mention that the question hadnt been raised more in the recent past but the thing is I have been cast in a way. The die was made in a certain way. The mould cannot change neither can the impression. 

More than anything else, I live my life today, in gratitude for the food on my plate. All thanks to that first song that Rahman sir gave and continued to, when it was the era of the kuthu songs, when no one thought it was 'right' to make me sing a Kuthu song. Kept a wilting creeper alive through all those days.

Angels do walk the earth. The maseeha I know is Rahman 'anna'. The way I called him the very first time I entered his studio and he chuckled at that naive 15 year old. 

There is nothing that someone like me can give back to him or his family except wish and pray with all our hearts, like millions of his fans, that he be healthy and spiritually protected. 

And today I send my thanks to the God above for giving us hope in life. 
And if you are at this point where a lot of things seem hopeless, I wish for you that you may find the hope that I eventually did. My mom waited almost 50 years for that. I waited a mere 14. 
Eventually there is light at the end of the tunnel.