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    Canadian singer, Shashaa Tirupati, is living her dream, courtesy A R Rahman’s latest, O Kadhal Kanmani

    Singer Shashaa Tirupati is devoted to music composer AR Rahman. Literally. “I have a photo of him in my temple and I’ve been lighting incense sticks and diyas for the past 12 years,” says the enthusiastic singer, who has snapped up three songs in the most anticipated album of the year, O Kadhal Kanmani. Her first stint with the Mozart of Madras was in 2013, for Coke Studio (Naan Yen Piranden, also her ringtone currently), which got her a song in Kochadiyaan and Kaaviya Thalaivan. Tirupati tells us about the three songs in O Kadhal Kanmani. “I have Kaara Aattaakkaara, which is the title track. Rahman sir first gave us a very basic tune and asked us to repeat it. I thought it was not part of the soundtrack. The next day, they asked me to re-record it and that was the actual song. Next is Paranthu Sella Vaa, which is a fun song. It begins with a western music note but moves on to become a ballad and there is a little groove to it,” explains the 27-year-old. The third song, Naane Varugiraen, reveals the soulful singer, is the toughest song she has sung till date. “Only Rahman sir would have got that out of me. I constantly had doubts about myself because it is very classical and is taal based. I have learnt only Hindustani music and this was very difficult to do. I couldn’t understand the down beat track at all. It took me a lot of time,” she says. The singer from Canada still doesn’t believe that she has three songs in the album.
    Rafi to Rahman
    Inspired by Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, Tirupati has been rooted to Indian musicfor years. “I dropped out of medical school in Canada when I heard Guru songs,” says a nostalgic Tirupati explaining how she moved to Mumbai and got started, working on more than 400 jingles. She also worked with composer G V Prakash before meeting Rahman. “I wanted to prepare myself to work with Rahman sir. I came to India in 2007 and got a chance to work with him in 2013. The best part about him is that he will go after you and get the right tone, attitude and pronunciation out of you,” says the totally-smitten Tirupati. Though she doesn’t know more than 10 Tamil words, she is all set to move to the city by the end of June. “I hope to learn the language soon,” she says.
    Back in time
    With her roots in Kashmir, Tirupati says her surname has nothing to do with the famous temple in Andhra Pradesh, “It is just a family name, often misspelt as Tripathy.” The singer is working with other composers and an album, too. “We recently released an album called Bollywood Unwind, with six other artistes. It has old Bollywood classics. If given a choice, I would have loved to be part of the 20s, 30s and 40s era. Louis Armstrong and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are my idols,” she concludes.
    The music of O Kadhal Kanmani is scheduled to release tomorrow.

    Mrinalini Sundar

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