Prerna SM Jain
Udit Narayan’s is a voice that needs no recognition. It is as familiar as one’s own voice for every Indian who has lived through the 90s. Narayan has been nominated more than 20 times for the National Film Awards, of which he has won four. The King of Nepal awarded him with the Prabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu in 2001. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016. Despite his many achievements, he continues to be a simple and humble man.
In an interview with Prerna SM Jain, the soulful artist had this to say:
How did your journey into the music industry begin?
As is rightly said, charity begins at home, my musical journey also started at home. My mother is a Maithili folk singer. After coming to Mumbai, my musical journey started with the music director Rajesh Roshan ji, who gave me my first break in a song with Mohammad Rafi ji.
What were the milestones and obstacles in this journey for you?
I have faced many obstacles on my way to success, but if your vision is clear, you can achieve your goal. Regarding the milestones, the first is Qayamat se Qayamat tak [QSQT], followed by many more.
When you are preparing for a song, what is the mental and emotional process that you put into it?
When I am preparing for a song recording, I always consider myself as a beginner for the best result. It is but natural for the mind and emotions to be involved in the process.
Which project and music director have you enjoyed working with the most and why?
It is very difficult to say. Take any music director’s name, I have worked with them. All of them are good in their own way.
You have been a part of the industry for over four decades; what have been the major changes?
There have been a lot of changes. From live recording it has gone to track recording (music is pre-recorded). But I want to say that the melody will never change and will remain the essence forever.
How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted the film and music industry?
In a big way. There has not been any shooting or song recording for all these days. There are thousands of technical people who work behind the screens who are jobless now.
How have you utilised your time during this lockdown?
I have utilised the lockdown in learning many things. I am a son of a farmer. As such, I am very interested in gardening. But I never got the time to pursue it. During the lockdown I started doing gardening at my roof garden, and a little bit of yoga and riyaz.
Who are the music artistes that have inspired you the most?
As a child I used to listen to Md Rafi, Lata ji, Manna Dey, Mukesh ji, Asha ji and Kishore da. All of them inspired me.
What is the best compliment that you have ever received?
The best compliment was in a live concert with Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar ji, when she called me and gave me the title of “Prince of playback singing” on the stage.
What is your message to aspiring singers and our readers?
It is very difficult to suggest something, as different people have different choices. My message to aspiring singers is: be honest, sincere, loyal, and work hard.
You have sung songs in various languages. What has been the common or varying feeling and process in doing so?
I have sung in 40 different languages. The common feeling is as we say, music has no boundaries. The feeling is the same in all music. It’s only the language which makes it difficult, at times.
You have also acted in Nepali movies; did you ever think about acting in Bollywood?
No, I have never thought about Bollywood.
If not music, what would have been your alternative career choice?
My father used to tell me to become a doctor or an engineer.
How do you manage to stay so humble and down to earth, despite the height of success that you have achieved?
Humanity is everything for me and I have not forgotten my roots. I stay humble because that is my nature. We are human beings and yes, I have more to achieve, for which I need the same love and blessings from my fans.