SPEAKERS

Usha Uthup
Singer / Author

Known by the epithet ‘ The Queen of Indian Pop’, Usha Uthup is an Indian pop, film and jazz singer as well as an actor and performer. Born in 1947 Usha Uthup, or “Didi”, as she is fondly called, comes from a traditional middle-class South Indian family. Even though she is not formally trained in music, she grew up in an atmosphere of music, with three sisters in the singing profession. Her career began in 1969 at a small nightclub in Chennai called Nine Gems. After her first-night club gig, she began singing in Calcutta at nightclubs such as the "Talk of the Town" and "Trincas", and subsequently in Delhi at the Oberoi. It was during one such gig that a film crew spotted her, starting off her association with the Indian film playback industry. In her long career, Uthup has sung several memorable songs for both Hindi and regional language movies for renowned music directors like R D Burman and Bappi Lahiri. In 1968, she recorded her first pop songs in English, ‘Jambalaya’ and the ‘Kingston Trio's, Greenback Dollar, on an EP, Love Story, and Scotch and Soda which sold very well in the Indian market. Since then she has recorded more than a hundred albums in seventeen Indian languages, sung in several thousand concerts, performed in all major countries and has been on television since its inception in India. She has also played some memorable parts in Indian films. Uthup has been the recipient of several prestigious awards which include Rajiv Gandhi Purashkar for National Integration for quality music, Mahila Shiromani Purashkar for international peace, and Channel [V] award for outstanding achievement. She has served as a role model for generations of young Indians and has been an unwavering ambassador for traditional Indian values.