Chennai singer imitates the voice of legendary musician A M Rajah

C A Raja

Chennai: Many learn music but not everyone pursues it passionately to leave a mark in the niche sector. Somewhere down the line, people fall into the trap of a traditional career and forget music.

However, in such a scenario, here is C A Raja from K K Nagar in Chennai, who strove hard to become a light music singer and started his own troupe – Pranavam Orchestra – 27 years ago and is still continuing to do what he loves doing the most – singing.

C A Raja is known for rendering songs in the voice of noted singer A M Rajah, who passed away in 1989 in a train accident in front of his wife’s eyes, Jikki, also a renowned singer.

C A Raja, a native of Tiruvannamalai says, “My parents liked music. Although they did not get an opportunity to perform on stage, they had interest and kept encouraging me and that led me to start singing from class 3.”

Propelled by the passion, he relocated to Chennai during his late teenage years and began searching for opportunities. “Lakshman of Lakshman Sruthi music troupe helped me a lot when I went there asking for a chance to sing in 1992. I used to sing the songs of K J Yesudas in his voice. It was Lakshman who identified that I can sing like the legendary A M Rajah that has led me to where I am.”

Soon after this, the singer was widely-recognised because of imitating one-of-a-kind voice and the general public began to appreciate him. “Knowing my talent, I was called to perform on several shows including Nenjam Marapathillai programme on Kalaignar TV channel and Podhigai’s Thulladha Manamum Thullum show among many others,” the 43-year-old singer says.
Raja has performed on around 3,500 stages across the world, including Dubai, Malaysia and Thailand.

Asked about challenges, the singer said, “Getting a chance was a struggle when I started out without much guidance and recommendation. Despite the programmes getting over at midnight, when no public transport would be available, I would walk all the way home which was 10 km away.”

He has also maintained cordial relationship with the late A M Rajah’s family that he even got an opportunity to perform in his 10th death anniversary in 1999 in the presence of Jikki who was pleased with his performance.

About the occasion he holds close to his heart, he says, “Singer P B Srinivas called me and asked me if I can perform his songs on stage. His songs are something that people do not prefer singing on stage and I felt grateful that he requested me to sing in 2013.”

Although he has made a mark in light music, C A Raja aspires to become a playback singer. “The music industry has undergone a huge shift. If one singer gives a hit song, s/he would not be given another chance immediately. If there are 100 people like that, only two faces are known. I do not wish to become like that but become the face that is seen and known.”

C A Raja can be reached at 9840824769.

Bhavani Prabhakar