Singer and actor, Soundarya Bala Nandakumar has won many hearts with her talent. The songstress who began her television career as a Super Singer contestant made her way into many households through popular television serials. Soundarya lets us in on her reel and real life in a candid conversation.
Text: NAMITA GUPTA
Wardrobe and Styling: That1Too.com
Courtesy: SOMERSET, CHENNAI.
Makeup: PRAMILA PRADHAN, VURVE SALON.
Hair-do: KALPANA RAI, VURVE SALON.
What Proved To Be The Catalyst For You To Zero In On Singing As A Career Choice And Later On Trying Acting As Well?
It was Airtel Super Singer, Tamil Nadu’s biggest singing reality show that paved the way for my confidence to take up singing as a full-time career. Singing was always a passion because of my mother and father who kept encouraging me to learn and give live performances. Thanks to them I never had stage fear which was and is my biggest strength to date. I never saw myself as an actor. Being naturally expressive is what got me to play a lead role in Pagal Nilavu in Vijay TV. I realized it’s a beautiful art form and now I am learning as much as I can and trying to get better at it.
What Have Been Your Biggest Achievements So Far?
I’ve grown up listening to AR Rahman Sir’s music and have admired all the singers that were a part of their album. I remember knowing all the names by heart from a cassette cover. Now to be a part of his backing vocals team and to perform beside him in audio launches is by far my biggest and emotionally satisfying achievement. Every time I walk into his studio to sing, I pinch myself.
How Do You Prep Up Before A Show, Performance Or Recording?
For Live performances, I always try to learn the lyrics of the songs that I sing by heart. Though I use the aid of an iPad for lyrics, when you sing from your heart you shouldn’t be restricted because of anything at all. That’s exactly why the audience will feel connected to you and that’s the ultimate goal of any live performer. As far as the recordings are concerned, to be able to sing anything when asked comes when you know the art and are in practice. Recordings can be successful when you are in sync and you are able to deliver whatever is asked of you. It doesn’t happen overnight. Practice helps in making you a better recording artiste. I try to get proper sleep if I have a recording planned ahead of schedule. If it’s immediate, then I just carry a lot of confidence!
Since There Has Been A Boom In Social Media Over The Past Few Years, Are You Keeping Pace With It?
Oh yes, this social media as such is one massive influence now. I try to make the maximum use of it in positive ways. Showcasing my skills as a singer and getting people to like me as talent has been my prime focus. Especially amongst the cream of artists and musicians, social media is of great help when they want to work with you as you have showcased yourself through readily available videos and posts. I have a good following and I keep in touch with my fans through social media. But one has to tread carefully. I’m glad I was a part of this short film YOURS SHAMEFULLY 2 which throws light on how negative and influential social media can get if not kept in check.
Any Tips For Budding Singers?
Be original. Be unique. Follow your heart. Be open to all kinds of music. Singers should never look down upon other singers nor should they feel inferior comparing themselves. People learn and grow and achieve on their own sweet pace.
What Are You Currently Working On?
On the singing front, I’m getting to do a lot of live shows in India and abroad as a band. We are able to reach a wider set of audience. I have been a part of most of the songs in Rahman Sir’s 99 Songs as a backing vocalist. This is amazing because it is an album, he himself is looking forward to, like all of us. On the acting front, I have auditioned for a couple of interesting roles for feature films of good manners. Will announce as and when things unravel.
What’s Your Personal Fashion Statement Like? What Do You Like About That1too.Com?
Anything that makes me feel comfortable is fashion according to me. I like to go bold, but at the end of the day, I have to feel comfortable. That1too. com is concerned. I loved all the clothes I wore for That1too photoshoot. They were all so unique and my stylist accessorized them super creatively. I’m am definitely gonna buy and own a wardrobe from them very soon, as I love wearing these kinds of clothes.