Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022

Remembering KK – A Lookback At His Musical Journey

Singer Krishnakumar Kunnath who was fondly referred to by everyone as KK died in Kolkata late last night (May 31). He was just 53.

Krishnakumar Kunnath
KK Instagram

I’ve lost my voice today
                        - R Madhavan

Late singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, lovingly called KK, sang one of the most popular songs of R Madhavan’s career ‘Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana’ in the 2001 film ‘Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein’. Just like Madhavan, KK had become synonymous as the voice of actors like Emraan Hashmi, Ajay Devgn, and many others. The singer who had showcased his prowess across various film industries left for his heavenly abode late last night (May 31). The 53-year-old singer passed away while performing for a college fest in Kolkata’s Nazrul Mancha. After feeling unwell during the performance, he was taken to the hospital where he was declared brought dead. The cause of death was reportedly a cardiac arrest.

An auditory treat for his listeners, KK’s boisterous yet mellifluous voice was an integral part of the playlists of people from all generations. He was one of the very few who kept giving his fans hit songs in several different languages over a three-decade-long career.

Born in New Delhi to CS Mennon and Kunnath Kanakavalli on August 23, 1968, KK reportedly never underwent any formal training in singing. Yet, he has rendered his voice in Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati songs.

KK debuted as a playback vocalist in Kadir's ‘Kadhal Desam’ with AR Rahman's hit songs ‘Kalluri Saaley’ and ‘Hello Dr.’ and then in AVM Productions musical film ‘Minsara Kanavu’ with ‘Strawberry Kannae’. Finally, in 1999, he made his debut as a Bollywood playback singer with ‘Tadap Tadap’ in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. Prior to this song, he had performed a brief rendition of ‘Chhod Aaye Hum’ in Gulzar's ‘Maachis’.

Not many would know that in 1994, KK had sent his demo tape to Louis Banks, Ranjit Barot, and Lesle Lewis in the hopes of getting a break in the music industry. Years later in 1999, when Sony Music had recently launched in India, they signed up KK as their artist. It was then that he finally got to work for his debut album ‘Pal’ with Lesle Lewis as the composer. The track ‘Yaaron’ and the title song ‘Pal’ soon became a hit among the youth and earned KK the Screen Award for best singer.

Soon after KK went on to become the voice of the heartbroken youth with songs like ‘Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana’ and ‘Tadap Tadap’ becoming massively successful. The romance in his voice made songs like ‘Aankhon Mein Teri’ and ‘Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai’ become huge hits with the youngsters of the generation. His high baritone was his most powerful weapon and helped songs like ‘Dola Re’, ‘Khuda Jaane’, ‘Tu Jo Mila’ and many others become massively successful.

He was one of the very few singers in the music industry who had a career devoid of any controversies. Not only was he loved among the music composers for being a very punctual and articulate person, but even his fans also praised the way he interacted with them during the stage shows. He loved doing stage shows and enjoyed the energy of performing live in front of his fans.

His journey began with this soulful song ‘Pal’ and his life ended soon after performing the same song on stage in Kolkata in front of a packed theatre. As KK himself sang, ‘Hum Rahe Ya Na Rahe Yaad Aayenge Yeh Pal’, his songs will truly be immortal and will be heard and appreciated by generations to come.

KK, you shall be deeply missed.