Truly the voice of millenials, KK, or Krishnakumar Kunnath is loved by millions for iconic hits like ‘Pal’ and ‘Yaaron’. But did you know he gave his voice to over 3000 ad jingles?
Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, helped many of us sink into musical depths we didn’t know existed, or at the very least turned average and even bad days better through his mesmerising voice.
The singer, just 53, finished a performance at a college fest in Kolkata on May 31 2022, when he fell ill and was rushed to the CMRI hospital. Tragically, he had passed away before he reached the hospital.
The music world, artists across genres and hundreds of millions of fans across the nation have shared their devastation at the news. While his songs will continue to live on forever, let us appreciate his inspiring life through his journey.
Here are some unknown facts about this Delhi born artist who later moved to Mumbai, where his career flourished:
1. Introduced by ARR
KK made his debut as a playback singer with an AR Rahman soundtrack. It was for a Tamil movie called Kadhal Desam, and the track was Kalloori Saalai which, even today, is a popular dance number. In 1999, he launched his first album titled Pal. The songs Pal and Yaaron are the top picks from it which still bring tears when played during school farewells.
2. Born to Malayali parents
Born on 23 August 1968, KK’s parents– C S Menon and Kunnath Kanakavalli were Malayalis settled in Delhi. KK’s studies were completed in Delhi, and he moved to Mumbai after his marriage in 1991.
3. From Nerolac Paints to Colgate
His career as a musician began by doing advertisements and jingles. Speaking to IANS in 2009, he stated that he sang some 3500 jingles before he managed to break into films. There are certainly innumerable popular ads he was part of, including Nerolac Paints, Hero Honda and Colgate. His famous tracks include Just Mohabbat, Hip Hip Hurray, Kavyanjali and Hum Hai India.
4. Master of 11 languages
This impeccable singer marked his presence in 11 languages, including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Gujarati and Assamese. He has sung over 500 songs in Hindi alone.
He once said to Kochi Times, “I have sung only one song in Malayalam in the film Puthiya Mugham. Though I am a Malayali and I often sing in other South Indian languages, singing in Malayalam is tougher for me. People say that my spoken Malayalam is decent enough, but I guess I find it tough when it comes to uttering words used mostly in literature or lyrics. Interestingly, all I do with other language songs is write them down as they sound and just deliver to fit the mood.”
5. Studied commerce, and worked in the hotel industry.
KK graduated from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, in commerce. Later, between composing jingles, he used to work in the hospitality industry. After his marriage and his wife’s support for his career in music, he moved to Mumbai in search of better opportunities.
6. Untrained musician
Though it may be hard to believe, KK was never trained as a singer or musician. He attended music classes as a child but was stopped due to a lack of interest. “From the beginning, I was able to learn a song by just hearing it, it is something that I’ve been blessed with. I later learned that Kishoreda (Kishore Kumar) had never learnt music, so I had even more reasons to not go to a music class,” he told the Times of India once.
“I have learned music from my own perceptions from the greats,” KK said in an interview with Sony Music.
7. Juror of the reality show which ‘discovered’ Arijit Singh
In 2005, KK became one of the jury members of a television reality show known as Fame Gurukul. It was through this show that Arijit Singh, India’s current most popular romantic singer, came into the limelight. But KK never performed the role again. The show was his first and last as a juror.
8. The man behind the Josh of India song for the Indian Cricket Team
KK was a huge fan of cricket, and in 1999 he sang the Josh of India song in support of the Indian Cricket Team during the World Cup. This song featured members of the Indian Cricket Team.
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“Did You Know KK Was the Voice Behind These Famous Ad Jingles and Classic Songs?” published by The Quint on 1 June 2022.
“KK’s Old Interview Where He Talks About His Journey Is As Inspiring As His Work” published by Scoopwhoop on 1 June 2022.
“KK never learned singing, was inspired by Kishore Kumar: 8 lesser known facts about the Pal singer” published by The Indian Express on 1 June 2022.
“I sang more than 3500 jingles”, KK told the IANS over the phone on 28 April 2009.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)