For Goparaj Madhavan, Business Head at Chennai-based creative communications agency Venture Media Works, music has been life and passion from a very young age. The former Cluster Head at Hello FM spent his early school days in Palakkad where he used to participate in competitions at district and state youth festivals. He wasn’t formally trained in music then as his village didn’t have a music teacher. After moving to Kolkata in the 1980s for higher studies, Madhavan was fortunate to find a guru. He continues to get trained in advanced music courses and is honing his skills even today, after singing playback in cinema and bringing out his own spiritual album. Though life has taken its own course in the form of career and family, his thirst for music has not died.
“Life and approach to music changed after moving to Kolkata for higher studies, I started getting formally trained and the more I understood about music the more I fell in love with it. Since then it has been a challenge in balancing the career and passion for music,” recalls Madhavan.
The media and advertising professional moved to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and started working with Stanes Motors in the early ’90s. He found a guru and attended classes after work and on weekends.
He recounts the journey: “From Coimbatore I was transferred to Calicut, Kerala, where I started training under KPN Pillai who was also an A-grade radio artiste. Later, I moved to Chennai and there I started training under Indira Menon. She helped me in forming a more serious and sincere approach towards classical music. I used to sing at different cultural fests and Malayali Samajam etc.”
Despite a busy and demanding career, Madhavan religiously dedicated two hours a day for practice.
He started performing at carnatic music ‘katcheris’ at temples and did stage shows in and around Chennai with eminent singers like P Unnikrishnan, Sujatha Mohan and Unni Menon in late ’90s. Around 2000, he sang a title number for a Malayalam serial ‘Upanayanam’ broadcast on Surya TV.
The larger screen then beckoned. In 2007, Madhavan debuted as a playback singer in a Malayalam movie ‘Pranayakalam’, the first production venture by AV Anoop (AVA Group).
The singer is now taking advanced training sessions under the guidance of Dr Shyamala Vinod.
“Under her, I am training in voxology, voice culture and voice therapy. This is helping me in understanding the effective production of voice through various methods. It also helps in articulating the voice for bringing in emotional aspects while performing music, and more,” says Madhavan.
Recently, Madhavan has composed and sung 100 verses from Atmopadesa Satakam which is a Malayalam spiritual work by Sree Narayana Guru (a social reformer from Kerala) in the form of a poem.
“Out of my personal interest, I have composed, sung and recorded verses from Atmopadesa Satakam. The production is now labeled under Cosmic Music Company. They have released it in their official YouTube channel and it is available on various music streaming platforms like Spotify, Gaana, Wink etc . Before that, I have also composed and sung Daiva Dasakam, which means Ten Verses To God: The Universal Prayer which is again penned by Narayana Guru. The production is again labeled under Cosmic Music,” reveals Madhavan.
Madhavan’s next musical production will be Nirvanashatakam which is a non-dualistic (advaita) composition consisting of six verses or ślokas, attributed to Adi Shankara. He is also going to be part of composer Sanjeev Lal’s project ‘41 Singers 41 Days – The Divine Harivarasam in Neelambari ragam’.
“This will be released every day (each day one singer) starting from 1st December 2022 and will conclude on 14th January 2023 on the day of Makaravilakku. Neelambari is a lullaby raga and will calm your mind and also have Karuna rasam. 41 Prominent singers including Sri Kavalam Sreekumar, Vidhu Prathap will be singing for this project,” he says.
Madhavan has even tried his hand at acting. He debuted in Malayalam movie ‘Njan Ippo Entha Cheyya’ to be released in December 2022. The experience from his college days of acting in plays as part of Malayali Samajam and cultural fests is helping now.
“Soon I will be engaged as consultant for business development in Venture Media and pursue music and acting seriously,” he concludes.
The shift tells us about his passion for music and the performing arts. The next divine melody is calling.