Our 50th story on Mums and Stories.
Hope you all will love reading this awe-inspiring story. This had to be a special one and we are glad for featuring Archana Udupa, a noted singer from Karnataka and a loving mum.
She is a trained classical singer in Carnatic and Hindustani music, has sung for national and international music festivals, is a television personality, has had career spanning two decades and continuing it in great enthusiasm. Needless to say she is a known celebrity.
In her own penned words, she shares for Mums and Stories her story, her journey, her childhood and growing up with her parents, on becoming a celebrity singer and on motherhood.
“I come from a small beautiful town called Nagara (Bidanooru) which falls in Shimoga district in Karnataka. It’s surrounded by lakes, backwaters, hills and mountains and there is music everywhere. I had the most amazing childhood amidst nature and my town was a piece of heaven on earth.
I belong to a family filled with artists and musicians and great music lovers. My father, Srinivasa Udupa is a senior and a well known singer in the sugama sangeetha fraternity.
He was my first guru. My grandfather was also a singer and his brothers knew and would play either tabla or harmonium. We used to have bhajan baithak once a week which was compulsory. When I was a little baby, my father used to get up early in the morning and turn on the tape recorder and play different genres of music such as Hindustani classical, light classical, ghazals and old hindi/kannada hits and then he used to get ready and go to the office. His idea was to make the music get into my subconscious mind and to see that I develop a good taste.
He even exposed me to pop and light rock music as he had a very wide range of listening. I used to sit on his lap during bhajana sessions and follow the tunes and rhythm and sing along with him which he noticed so he put me under a guru (Balakrishna) under whom I started learning Carnatic classical music at the age of 3.
As I mentioned earlier, I had a beautiful childhood and even greater upbringing and have amazing memories to carry to my grave. My school was right next my house so I used to jump off the compound on hearing the school bell ring !
School was fun, no tensions, no burden, less homework, no running behind marks, no competition between friends.
I went to music classes early in the morning and after the school. I just used to be on the trees in our farm or run up the hill with my friends or play hide and seek inside huge temples.
In 1988, my father took a transfer and we shifted to Bangalore because he knew that my future was here. For me it was a whole new world. It was like stepping into a wonderland. I went to a new school, made new friends, found a new music teacher (Radhakrishna then pt.D.B.Harindra and later Dr.Shakunthala Narasimhan from whom I’m still learning). We had lived in a gorgeous, monstrous house in Nagara which is now, may be more than 100 years old and here in Bangalore, we found a small, one bedroom rented house. But it was warm and cozy and we happily settled down.
Now my real journey kick started. It was of course hectic but I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it as I had never dreamt of anything else but singing and it was all coming true. School, music classes, recordings and concerts..
My mother had a huge house and a lot of people to take care of. I have spent more time with dad than my mother. She is a hard worker and I have always seen her either cooking or cleaning. She loved and even today loves doing all that but I feel sad for her. She also sings pretty well but could never pursue her dreams because of the never ending household work. Even now she is very protective of me. She has never let me do any work. She keeps a track of where I go and what I do even now.
She is one super mom and has taught me values, moulded me and helped me in becoming a good human being. I don’t think I can ever become at least half of what she is as a mother.”
“ TVS SAREGAMA was the 1st ever mega musical talent hunt show on Indian television and became supremely popular. I used to watch it religiously but never seriously thought of taking part in that until my friends in college forced me to send a tape. I was called for the audition and got selected immediately and after that there was no looking back. I was the 1st south Indian to win the finals.
I had already made a good name in the music industry because I had started singing at the age of 3 and once we came to Bangalore I sang for many albums and movies and had worked with so many legends. But of course winning that competition surely gave me a huge bonus and put me on top of the singer’s chart (of my age group).
Each and every news paper and magazine took my interview and published it. Loads of prestigious awards and projects came my way. It made me a celebrity overnight. I used to have 3 recordings in a day and a concert in the evening. I had shows throughout the month. Had a damn hectic schedule but what a glorious time that was….
My daughter Vibha will be 13 this April and my son Neel is 10 years old. Both of them like music and have a good taste. They also have decent knowledge of shruthi and taala (pitching and rhythm sense) but r too lazy to learn from a guru and shy to exhibit in front of others. I have never forced them into something nor will I ever in future but I will surely support them in whatever they take up in life. Both of them sing well. My daughter is more interested in western pop music and now she is slowly opening up and performing in school because teachers force her taking my name!
My daughter is more like a friend to me. We talk about anything and everything and have a strong bond. Till last year she used to get highly irritated because in school and wherever we went people would ask her whether she’s also learning music and would force her to sing only because I am a singer but now she has got used to it. Earlier she used to feel shy if her friends asked her get my autograph but now she likes it and enjoys being the daughter of a celebrity. I think now she feels proud of me.
My son is very sharp and talented but is always in his own fantasy world. He has great taste in music which amuses me. He likes Kaalinga Rao’s songs, sufi songs and adores Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s bhajans which is surprisingly rare to see in today’s generation kids.
Lastly my husband is a good singer but never wanted to take music as his profession and a supportive but a true critic. Whenever I sing or compose I make him listen first for critical feedback. “
Mums and stories wishes Archana a glorious career ahead and is happy to have featured this story of a singer and a mum.