He beams his famous, adorable smile and says, “Yes! But, truth be told, I did not come into this industry with any goal. I had then thought that I will not last beyond a couple of songs. But I have somehow survived! I often reflect on my journey with a sense of immense gratitude. That my singing has made so many people happy makes me happy. I feel I am blessed.”
SPB confesses that he is an ‘untrained singer who is still learning’. “I have only one qualification. I know what I don’t know. I am very happy when I am able to deliver what my captain, the music director, wants out of me. The day I can’t do that, I will quit singing,” he adds.
What’s the secret of his longevity in the business? “I start each day with a simple question — how can I enjoy myself today? I simply don’t worry. I work hard when I am I asked to sing. And when I am not singing, I am hanging out, having fun,” he reveals.
SPB is disarmingly honest and humble: “I am not perfect. I had a smoking habit which I gave up. I am a social drinker. I have never been prudent with my finances – until recently I even had commitments. Just because I am a singer, and I have a public profile, I can’t be a hypocrite. Nor can I be a sanyasi. I don’t want to. I am happy being who I am. And I have no problem with people knowing who I am.”
Despite his fame, his body of work of over 40,000 songs and his ever-growing fan following, how does SPB remain so grounded? “I was inspired to take up singing listening to Mohd. Rafi; I have worked for composers like KV Mahadevan, MS Viswanathan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Naushad, OP Nayyar, Pancham da, Ilayaraja and AR Rahman; I have sung alongside greats like S Janaki, P Susheela and Lata Mangeshkar. How can anyone have an ego if your career has evolved among legends? In front of them I am a nobody,” he replies.
In addition to his magical voice, I will forever remember SPB for these life lessons — be yourself, enjoy each day, stay humble, stay happy!
@AVISViswanathan is a Life Coach, Happiness Curator & Author of ‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’