RJ Niladri had a chat with Indian playback singer, Usha Uthup who is referred to as ‘Didi’. Usha was born in Mumbai to a Tamil family. Her musical span includes Indian pop, filmi, Jazz, R&B, Indian classical music and Western. She started her music career in the late 1960s.
In 2012, she received the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song ‘Darling,’ which she collaborated with Rekha Bhardwaj for the film ‘7 Khoon Maaf’.
When she was nine years old, she did her first public performance. Ameen Sayani, India’s most popular radio announcer at the time, was introduced to her by her sisters, who were already considering a career in music. Ameen Sayani provided her the opportunity to perform on Radio Ceylon’s Ovaltine Music Hour. She sang a song called ‘Mockingbird Hill’. Following that, she made multiple appearances throughout her adolescence.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Uthup sang several songs for music directors R. D. Burman and Bappi Lahiri. She also popularised some R. D. Burman songs that had previously been sung by others, such as ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ and ‘Dum Maro Dum.’
She is a stage performer who has performed all over the world and is well-known for her engaging stage presence. Over the years, she has received numerous accolades, including the Rajiv Gandhi Purashkar for National Integration for quality music, the Mahila Shiromani Purashkar for international peace, and the Channel [V] award for outstanding achievement.
‘Chhupke Kaon Aya,’ Usha’s Hindi cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,’ can be found on the album Tom Middleton – The Trip (2004). She made an appearance in the documentary ‘If Not for You’ in 2019, for which she recorded a cover of famed singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’
Uthup’s unique voice, which ranges from contralto to alto, has gotten her a lot of attention. She was one of the co-judges on Idea Star Singer Season V in 2007 and 2008. She has also acted in a few movies.
RJ Niladri caught up with the legendary playback singer, Usha Uthup. Check it out below.