Sa Re Ga Ma With Chitra Sridhar

Chitra Sridhar- A lady with a melodious voice and a perfect classical singer. Besides being a singer she is a loving wife and a proud mother.  She is performing across globe and spreading the melody  of Indian Classical music. We are proud to have her with us for this session. Check out the session to know her better

Chitra Interview IC24 F

Welcome to . We are happy to have you with us Chitra. Chitra will request you to give a short intro about you, your family and your education?

I am very honored to  have my interview featured on your site..As  stated in my  profile I am a classically trained singer who is performing extensively  all over the United States and have several albums and singles to my credit.I am married with two children .My husband Sridhar Vaidyanathan is an excellent keyboard and guitar player and is son of legendary violinist and music director Padmashree Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan.


From whom you got the training or say lesson of Carnatic classical musicin your early days?

I started  received  training from Mrs.Rajagopalan  when I was 4 and a half in Cochin  from Smt Indira Gopala Rao in Vishakapatnam and couple of other teachers since my dad was in the navy and was transferred to different places in India.Later when I was 15  my family settled down in Chennai and I started training under the legendary carnatic vocalist Maharajapuram Santhanam for three years until he passed away and then started training under Smt R Vedavalli who was the president of music college and a renowned  vocalist.

What Raga is your favorite?

I have many favorite ragas but if I have to narrow it down I would say Ranjani , Mohanam , and Kshanmukhapriya  appeal to me a lot..

How is the response for Indian classical music in comparison to other forms of music in overseas countries?

I am seeing an increasing awareness  of the importance of classical music among Indians living overseas {US] ..There are lots of kids learning  carnatic music both vocal and instrumental and some have even graduated to the level of performing in concerts. Indian organizations abroad are doing a phenomenal job in promoting classical music by bringing musicians and singers from India  to perform overseas and also conducting annual  tyagaraja festivals where the kids get to perform and showcase what they have learnt .

Say something about your gurus? How is the journey so far with then and exactly what variations of music you are learned from them?

I have had multiple Gurus for vocal music because of my fathers constant transfers ..My  pranams and salutations  to all of them  since I  learnt so much about the different  nuances of music from each one of them .I would like to make a special mention about Smt Indira Gopala Rao  who used to handwrite all the notations for me for the varnams and reativ and I have  all those till today..Classical music laid  a strong foundation for me in music and it has helped me a lot in how I handle film songs with a classical or semi classical influence..My gurus have  reinforced the importance of Bhava [expression ] while singing and perfection in executing the gamakas/brugas in the songs..Also relating a film song to a Raga   is very helpful while getting creative with the song .

Establishing oneself in a creative field is not at all an easy task. What sort of barrier you faced to get this position in the creative world?


In the US I am predominantly a stage performer  .When I visit India I work on recording projects like albums , singles , playback etc..The main hurdles I faced  for the former  would be  reaching out to the wide Indian population in the US .It happened with a lot of hard work ,perseverance , and last but not the least social media  like Facebook , have certainly helped. Coming to the latter [recording ] me being in the US is a big  drawback since  India is the hub for most playback and recording projects.The music directors really prefer the singer to be  present there while recording .Hence I have not been able to  record as much as I would have liked to .

Being a musical person put some light on the fact that how musical reality shows and competitions are instrumental in giving a boost to any budding musical artists life?

I think reality shows are  the biggest blessing for the new and upcoming singers since it gives them such a huge platform to present their talents to the  entire world.Their talent gets noticed by prominent music directors and as  you know many of them are established  playback singers now.I truly wish these competitions were happening when I was in my teens .

You got interviewed in many leading Radio shows and TV channels? So share some experience?

I am not much of a public speaker though I do some amount of talking in my shows so  I was a  little nervous before the interviews but  I got comfortable soon and as I started narrating my experiences I really enjoyed  it.

Who is the one who inspired you to establish a career in this musical world?

I must mention that my husband Sridhar Vaidyanathan is an accomplished keyboard  and a guitar  player and  has been a huge support for  my music and has encouraged and helped me   in all my musical endeavors ..We have performed in a number of shows together and are working on some recording projects  singles and albums to be released in the near future..I am immensely grateful to my parents for  spotting my talent at a very young age and  getting me started on  music lessons.The have always encouraged me not to loose faith  no matter how  many obstacles and keep working towards my goal.

As per you what percentage of young generation still prefer to go for classical music in place of other forms of music?

I am not sure I can give you a percentage but i see  quite a few of the Indian population in the US learning classical music but  choosing  that as a career could be a very bold decision since it is not easy at all  to establish yourself in the field .Regardless of whether they choose it as a career classical vocal training  certainly helps in rendering even film songs with authenticity and  command.

When you decided to pursue a career in this particular field how you parents and family reacted?

As I mentioned before I have received nothing but constant support  , motivation and encouragement from my husband and parents in this regard hence have been able to  make some strides in this field but  the music world is an ocean and as I see it I have so many more dreams and   such a lot more left to accomplish.,

Please share info about your achievements and awards in music industry?

I have performed in more than 400 stage shows until now and have had the privilege of singing with legendary singers from India .I have travelled to almost all states in US for performances .I have two christian devotional albums, one  Durga album that i sang along with playback singer Mahathi and Charulatha Mani..The highlight of my career would be my album “”Thavam ” in which  the great SP Balasubramaniam , music director Sharath , playback singer Srinivas and Madhu Balakrishnan were part of.I have a single  released  all over tamil nadu  for a national kabbaddi tournament  .I have  sung for Prime Time TV serials like Vani Rani and Kalyana parisu .

What’s the future of classical music will it lose its glory or young generation will carry it forward with same craze?

Classical music is timeless ..It can never loose its glory and its importance can never be overemphasized .I think  kids of the present generation are more aware of its significance than  a few  decades ago and so yes I think the youngsters  are definitely  going to carry it forward.


What are your other passions in life apart from music?

Since I am so consumed by music I barely have time to nurture other hobbies but if I were to mention something else  it would be cooking different  varieties of food  ..

How effective the Indian industry is as per your views in picking the genuine and best talents in frontline?

The Indian industry is   full of a diverse set of people and so it is hard to answer that question. There are a lot of talented people out there struggling to get a break but do not get one for a number of reasons. It is all a combination of talent , resources and most importantly God’s grace.

Who is you role model?

I have idolized Lata Mangeshkar all my life ..My day starts with listening to her songs .I think  her body of  work is an institution of music and every time I listen  to her I learn something new .

You travelled a lot, so what sort of response you got to see among foreigners about Indian music?

I  mostly sing Indian film music , ghazals  etc so my audience is predominantly Indian but many times I see Americans attending our shows as well..I am pleasantly surprised that they  enjoy  Indian music and are very appreciative of it.Music  indeed has no language .

Where you see yourself 5 years down the line?

Hopefully five years down the road II hope to have many more  of my own original songs  and albums to my credit , .Eager to work with many music directors and most of all   be able to carve a niche for myself as an artist in the industry with a unique style of my own ..

In one line Describe Chitra …………………….. The musical woman

If I were to summarize I would  say ”Music is my religion.”

Any advice and suggestion for budding musical talents in India?

My advice  to them would be to not loose their  passion amongst everything else that is going on and set  a path for themselves to follow and pursue it no matter what the obstacles ..Music should always be a joyous experience  and never a chore or a job.