Born to Vidwan Sri H.S. Venugopal (a renowned Carnatic flautist) and Smt. T.V. Rama (a singer), it comes as no surprise that Varijashree Venugopal is a gifted singer. But, what sets her apart is her musical genius. At the tender age of 1 she could recognize 50 ragas, 200 by the time she was 4, and at merely 7 years old she her gave first full-fledged Carnatic vocal at the prestigious Bangalore Gayana Samaj. She says, “Introduction to music happened when I was less than a year old. I was exposed to a musical environment during my childhood. I used to sit listening to the music lessons that my father gave.” Varijashree went on to train under her father for singing and the flute; and other celebrated gurus who took her under their wing.
Being born into a family of musicians increases the level of expectations that people have from you.”
Coming from a family of well-known artists, Varijashree feels the pressure. But, music being an integral part of her, she finds a way to deal with the niggling self-doubt. “For me, being a musician was by default. But the real struggle is when you dream of being a good musician, and then a better musician, and so on. Being born into a family of musicians increases the level of expectations that people have from you. I’ve had moments when I’m not happy with myself, my performance.” On days like these, Varijashree turns to music to brighten her mood. She says, “That’s when I listen to a lot of music by wonderful artists from all around the world, which inspires me and keeps me going.”
Youngsters like Varijashree are aiding the popularity of Carnatic music amongst the youth, both in India and abroad. She says, “There are a lot of young people practicing the Carnatic discipline, rigorously. Also, people from other music cultures have been fascinated by this school, and have been learning a few concepts from it, like the melodic structures, the scale system and the mathematical formulae.”
I see myself drinking the essence of music from all possible sources. Be it from a classical performance, a jazz set, or a Bollywood song. I look forward to experiencing different music cultures and learning something from them.”
A keen learner, Varijashree says, “I see myself drinking the essence of music from all possible sources. Be it from a classical performance, a jazz set, or a Bollywood song. I look forward to experiencing different music cultures and learning something from them.” And she is putting her money where her mouth is. Varijashree is collaborationg with various artists to produce music across multiple genres: Jazz and Carnatic, South Asian Contemporary Music, Indian raga and funk, Carnatic and Ghazal, among others.
Striving to be better is a constant pursuit for Varijashree, and in that spirit she says, “Staying focused on work and not worrying about the results helps a great deal! Ultimately one gets only what one deserves. So, trying hard and giving it our best shot is the order of day.”
Varijashree Venugopal is exceptionally gifted. But that’s not what makes her great. Her devotion towards her art, supplemented by hard work does. Talent maybe inherent, but honing that talent is in our hands.