Violinist Aneesh Vidyashankar talks about learning Carnatic music at a young age, putting up covers on YouTube and more.
He was all of three when he started learning how to pay the violin. Thanks to parents who were musically inclined, he got acquainted with soulful tunes at an early age and by the time he was six, he was playing the violin professionally as a soloist. Once called a child prodigy, musician Aneesh Vidyashankar, who captivates audiences with his flawless renditions, has come a long way since then. A true blue Bengalurean, this architect says, “My father taught me how to play the violin. I was told that I used to protest if people didn’t sing properly to me! When Dad used to play, I used to hold the fingerboard and say ‘happy’ and that’s how he got to know that I’d like to learn the instrument,” reveals Aneesh, who could identify ragas and small nuances at a very tender age.
When he started performing Carnatic Classical music as a child, Aneesh would be the solo performer at various sabhas and carry the show solely on his young shoulders. “I slowly started getting into fusion and exploring other genres. My playlist had all kinds of music — from Michael Jackson to old Hindi songs,” he says.
As someone who started uploading his work on YouTube years ago, Aneesh says this activity took a backseat when he had to give time to his grueling architecture course. Now with the Internet going gaga over mash-ups, this violinist decided to follow the trend too. “I also got many requests on Facebook when I performed live. I realised that they are in high demand nowadays, so I decided to give the audience what they want.” His latest video is a combination of Enna Sona from Ok Jaanu and Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. “I keep myself updated with the latest music — both in English and Hindi. I listen to the songs again and again to understand the structure of the tune,” says the musician.
The artiste also created a new concept of performing where he walks while playing the violin which has earned him the moniker ‘The Wireless Walking Violinist.’ As for his future plans, Aneesh intends to take the violin to places that people will be surprised to spot the instrument in. From protests and marathons to weddings and corporate events, he wants to showcase his music everywhere. “You need to be dynamic and think how your work can appeal to people. Sitting in a corner and playing the violin won’t help anymore. The key is to keep innovating — if you don’t try something new, you won’t succeed. I personally use whatever I’ve imbibed in architecture in my music and vice-versa. I’m happy doing what I do,” he smiles.