Dr. Nithyasree Mahadevan, also previously referred to as S. Nithyashri (born August 25, 1973) is an eminent Carnatic musician and playback singer for film songs in many Indian languages. Her paternal grandmother is the legendary Carnatic vocalist D. K. Pattammal, while her maternal grandfather is the legendary mridangam maestro, Palghat Mani Iyer. Her granduncle is the legendary Carnatic vocalist, D. K. Jayaraman.
Nithyashree has performed in all major sabhas in India and has presented her concerts in many destinations around the world. She has received multiple awards and honours, and has released more than 100 commercial albums.
Personal life and background
Nithyasree was born to Lalitha Sivakumar and I. Sivakumar. Her paternal grandmother is the legendary Carnatic vocalist D. K. Pattammal, while her maternal grandfather is the legendary mridangam maestro, Palghat Mani Iyer. Her granduncle is the legendary Carnatic vocalist, D. K. Jayaraman.
Her mother, Lalitha Sivakumar, was her first guru (teacher). Like her mother, Nithyashree was also the disciple of D. K. Pattammal, and would accompany her in concert. Nithyashree's father, an accomplished mridangist and disciple of Palghat Mani Iyer, would constantly show his support and accompany Nithyashree when she performed.
Nithyashree's commanding, high-pitched voice is well suited to various genres of music including Carnatic music, devotional music, as well as patriotic and popular songs.
Nithyashree and her husband, Mahadevan, have a daughter named Tejashree.
Music career - Touring
Nithyashree has performed in all major sabhas all over India and has presented her concerts in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, Singapore, Malaysia and various other destinations throughout the world.
Titles and Awards
Nithyashree's maiden performance was titled 'best concert of the series'. She is an A.I.R. Prize Winner (1990) and has been an 'A' grade artist. She has been awarded the "Yuva Kala Bharathi" title by Bharath Kalachar in 1994, "Innisai Maamani" by Tamil Nadu Welfare Association, and various other prestigious awards such as "Kalaimamani", "Isai Paeroli" (2001). She has received "Best Concert Award" from The Music Academy during the music festivals a couple of times and has also performed for the "Sangeeth Natak Academy" twice in their International Music Festivals in Bombay and Hyderabad. She has also received the "Best Promising Artiste" from "Mohanam" Music Club, and made a thematic album of compositions popularising the Ragam Mohanam. She was awarded a doctorate degree from Sathyabama university of Jeppiar in Chennai in late 2007.
Nithyashree's first Carnatic performance was for the Youth Association For Classical Music on 10th August 1987. The concert lasted 1 hour, and was scheduled between 6:00pm and 7:00pm. Prominent Carnatic musicians that were present at the concert, included D. K. Pattammal, D. K. Jayaraman, Vijay Siva, R. K. Sriramkumar, as well as the chief guest at that concert, K. V. Narayanaswamy
She has given numerous concerts consisting of only patriotic songs to commemorate the 50th year of Indian Independence, a few with D. K. Pattammal before her grandmother stopped performing in public.
D. K. Jayaraman and D. K. Pattammal were known for singing and popularising the compositions of Papanasam Sivan, having learnt them directly from the composer himself. Nithyashree has continued this tradition. She has also given a lecture demonstration in Coimbatore for Manoranjitham on "Papanasam Sivan - A Legend", and made two special thematic albums that solely contained his compositions.
Like D. K. Pattammal, Nithyashree has also popularised compositions of Gopalakrishna Bharathi. She presented a paper on the Life and Contribution of Gopalakrishna Bharathi for the Music Department of PSG College, Coimbatore. Her two thematic albums that solely consisted of his compositions have been very popular, both online and offline.
Nithyashree's introduction to playback singing came when A.R. Rahman called her to Panchathan Recording Inn, in Chennai, for a voice test sometime in 199X. The output from her visit became a huge hit, and was used in the movie "Jeans" starring Aishwarya Rai. After this, Nithyashree was in demand for playback singing for films and drama serials.