Usha Uthup (born November 8, 1947) is a popular Indian pop, jazz and playback singer. She is well known for popular hits in the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
When she was in school she was thrown out of music class because she didn't fit in with a voice like hers. But her music teacher recognized that she had some music in her and would give her clappers or triangles to play. Even though she was not formally trained in music, she grew up in an atmosphere of music. Her parents used to listen to a wide range from Western classical to Hindustani andCarnatic including Kishori Amonkar and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan on radio and she used to join them. She used to enjoy listening to Radio Ceylon.
Her first public singing occurred when she was nine. Her sisters who were already exploring a music career, took her to the most popular radio announcer in India that time calledAmeen Sayani who gave her an opportunity to sing on the Ovaltine Music Hour in Radio Ceylon. She sang a number called "Mockingbird Hill". After that, several appearances followed through her teenage years.
Uthup started singing in a small nightclub in Chennai called as Nine Gems in the basement of the erstwhile Safire theater complex on Mount Road, when she was 20, wearing a saree and leg callipers. Her performance was so well received that the owner of the nightclub asked her to stay on for a week After her first night club gig, she began singing in Calcutta at night clubs such as "Trincas". She met her future husband Uthup in Trincas. At about the same time, she also sang at "Talk of the Town", now known as "Not Just Jazz By The Bay" in Bombay (now Mumbai). After Trincas, her next engagement took her to Delhi where she sang at the Oberoi hotels. By happenstance, a film crew belonging to Navketan unit including Shashi Kapoor visited the nightclub and they offered her a chance to sing movie playback. As a result, she started her Bollywood career with Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Originally, she was supposed to sing Dum Maro Dum along with Asha Bhosle. However, as a result of internal politicking on the part of other singers, she lost that chance but ended up singing an English verse.
She appeared as a judge on a singing reality show Bharat Ki Shaan: Singing Star – Season 2 (2012), aired on DD National channel, along with Ismail Darbar. She is the judge in the Season 3 of the show as well. She also appeared as a chief guest for Marathi singing reality show 'Gaurav Maharashtracha' on ETV Marathi. She entertained the audience with Marathi songs.
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