‘The Rockstar’ – A Chat With Siddharth Menon!

This talented singer – actor has been stealing the limelight for all the right reasons

This dashing young man is not just a star in the making but also a singing sensation! Crowds swoon as he starts to hum his melodies. To him, happiness is…Music. He was just six when he performed on stage for the very first time. From then on, he has performed at various events and won accolades. His musical career kicked off with the Music Mojo show on Kappa TV, which led to the creation of the very famous band, Thaikkudam Bridge. He swung yet another surprise for his fans by debuting as a lead star in the Mollywood film, Rockstar. The film unleashed the promising actor in him, pushing him into another tangent altogether. And now, with the release of his latest flick, ‘Katha Paranja Katha’, this very talented singer – actor has been stealing the limelight for all the right reasons. Ritz is in conversation with the true Rockstar, Siddharth Menon!

Text: Riya Sonny Datson
Photography: Sibi Cheeran

Tell us how Thaikkudam Bridge happened…
I was very active in sports while at college. So after my graduation, I decided to focus on music and study music at A R Rehman Sir’s KM Music Conservatory in Chennai. But just 1.5 months into my course, we got an opportunity to perform in the Music Mojo show hosted by Kappa TV. We were asked to do 12 songs so I decided to get all of my friends on board for the show and to our surprise, it became a big hit! Post Music Mojo, we were invited to perform at various events but we weren’t ready. But with offers mounting, we decided to try out one live show. The response we got was just awesome! That’s how we realised that we needed to pursue this and we gradually started to travel and perform all around the world.

As an actor and singer who performs live shows, how do you manage it all?
Juggling between Live shows and acting schedules is very difficult and tiring. My acting schedules sometimes demand up to one month of continuous shooting which affects my commitments with the band. I have commitments on both sides and it does not feel fair to let down either one. So for now, I have taken a break from Thaikkudam Bridge. But I do perform Live shows by myself, whenever I get the time.

Tell us about Siddharth Menon Live….
Although I used to constantly perform with the band, it was always a team effort. When it came to a single performance, I was never really sure if I could perform alone for 2 -3 hours at a stretch. But as a singer, it has always been my dream to do a live show by myself. So I decided to take up the challenge by doing ‘Siddharth Menon Live’. The response has been very positive and encouraging and people seem to be enjoying it! We have done around 5-6 shows till date and with each show, I am gaining more confidence and it has been a great learning experience. For my shows, I have introduced beat boxing which is essentially a kind of vocal percussion, where the artist mimics the sound of instruments. Initially, people wouldn’t believe that an artist was mimicking the sounds but now, that has become the USP
of my shows!

What is the secret behind your melodious voice?
From my childhood, I have never really been fond of cold drinks. In fact we never had cold water in our fridge. I continue to follow the same habit even now – which I guess helps. Honestly, I don’t consciously try to do anything special. I think I realised that I needed to take care of my voice only when I almost lost my voice for one of the shows I had committed to do. But luckily, to my great relief, the show got postponed! But yes, I do take care of my health, follow routines – sleep, take rest, exercise, visit the gym as much as possible amidst my schedules.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
At a personal level, it is my dad. I don’t think there is anything he ‘cannot’ do! If I can be even one percent like him, I think it would be an achievement. As far as music is concerned, it is Sonu Nigam. I think he is just amazing, even after so many years, he still continues to perform and I believe he is one of the best playback singers we have!

Although you have your roots in Kerala, you were born and brought up in Mumbai. Has that posed as a challenge?
I know how to read and write Malayalam as I had to study the subject in school. But my style of singing is quite different from the ‘naadan’ style of singing which sometimes works negatively and sometimes, works in my favour. It is always a challenge for a newcomer to establish himself in playback singing – especially for male singers. Playback singing has always been my dream but honestly, I am slowly stepping back because I have come to realise that people don’t really notice who is singing until you reach a high point in your career. You need to come to the forefront to get noticed. With the advances in technology, that’s exactly what is happening now. Independent music has taken centre stage and more and more music bands are coming to movies, which I think is a welcome change.

How has your experience been as an actor?
I got to do three very different kind of movies and work with three very different directors. My first movie, Rockstar, with V.K.Prakash Sir, was a huge learning experience. My second project was in ‘Solo’ with Dulquer Salman – I got to work with noted director Bejoy Nambiar and now, in Katha Paranja Katha, it a debutant director, Siju Jawahar. I have enjoyed working with all of them and each role has taught me a great deal.

How has the response been from Kerala for Katha Paranja Katha?
We successfully completed more than 5 weeks in Kerala and it is now being screened in Mumbai and Bengaluru. I am really grateful to the Kerala audience who have supported my film wholeheartedly. I am overwhelmed and it means a lot to me as I have been born and brought up in Mumbai.

Any particular dream role that you would like to do?
I have always wanted to play the part of a villain with two shades in a suspense thriller.

Name some projects in the pipeline?
I am doing a character role in Anjali Menon’s next movie but that is all that I can share right now.

What are your interests outside of Music?
When I get the time, I love playing cricket and visiting the Gym.

Rapid fire:
 Favourite Musician: A R Rahman
 Favourite Song: A R Rahman’s songs
 Favourite Singer: Sonu Nigam
 Favourite Album: Avial
 Favourite Movie: Aamir Khan’s movies
 Best Friend: Rahul
 Can’t do without: Chicken!
 Favourite Dish: Chicken Lollipop from Uncle’s Kitchen, Mumbai!
 Dream Holiday: Switzerland