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Interview With Singing Sensation Danny R

The Garden City of Bangalore is filled with talent- thespians, artists, cricketers, dancers, musicians, and vocalists. Music Central had the joy and privilege of talking to Bangalore singing sensation Danny Ravindra. He is a vocalist in the popular band Firebrands, mentors youth passionate about singing, and has organised many music events in India and abroad. Here is a peek into his musical journey.

Q: How important was music in your early years?

DR: I started singing when I was five. My siblings – Lucy, David, and Anita, loved singing and playing the guitar as much as I did so we had our own act. Even though I knew the guitar, I chose to focus on singing. We loved doing harmony. Back then we did not have any formal training in music. My brother and sister learned the guitar while watching other musicians playing. My sister Lucy was one of the few good guitarists in Bangalore back then.

I was in the school choir and we used to perform in church and in events held in Townhall. I also took part in many singing competitions.

My parents were very supportive and encouraged us. They painstakingly bought us one guitar which we cherished and enjoyed for many years. Though they loved to hear us perform, there were times they said, please stop.

Q: What kind of music did you like and which artists influenced you?

DR: I grew up listening to good music. Perry Como, Dean Martin, Pat Boone, Beatles, and then the popular bands and singers from each decade. My favourite style is ballads. I liked listening to John Denver and found his songs easy to sing. Once I found songs I was comfortable singing, I focused on that style and range. Once in a while I experimented with other styles as well. Gospel singer Steve Green was a big influence. He wrote his own lyrics and I could connect with them and also could feel and understand the emotions he expressed in his songs.

Q: How important was/is practice to you and did you train professionally?

DR: I am a self-trained vocalist. We didn’t have voice coaches and music schools while growing up. I knew when I was young that singing was my special gift. I made time to practice, which at that time was listening to music, learning the lyrics and then imitating the singers exactly how they sang on the cassette. I was disciplined and saw to it that I spent at least two hours practicing every day. In my late 20s, I had a friend who was a voice coach. He gave me a few vocal exercises to follow.

Today I practice with performance tracks. I have invested in over 400 tracks. Once I find a song I like –in my range and style, I keep practicing it. Breathing exercises are an important part of my practice sessions. I go for a walk to open up my lungs.

I enjoy singing but I don’t sing for entertainment. When I sing, I like to connect with the audience. As a musician you need to sing the song and express it the right way.

Q: Any special routine to protect your vocal chords?

DR: I keep myself hydrated. I stay away from coffee and have tea. Coffee is bad for the vocals. Screaming, shouting and even whispering is hard on the vocal chords so I stay away from exerting my voice.