Name: Usha Uthup

Maiden Name: Usha Iyer
Address: C/o Studio Vibrations, 52D,
Radhanath Chowdhury (R),
Calcutta-700 015.

Awards: Rajiv Gandhi Purashkar for National Integration for quality music.
· Mahila Shiromoni Purashkar for international peace.
· Channel [V] award for outstanding achievement.
· The People's Support, for over 30 years.

Usha Uthup or Didi as she is lovingly referred to, was born in Chennai but was raised in the busy metropolis of Mumbai. Her father Sami Iyer was the police commissioner of Bombay. She has three sisters (Uma Pocha, Indira Moni and Maya Sami), all of whom are singers.

Usha's passion for music was present right from the moment she uttered her first words. Usha never learnt music formally, but perseverance and confidence drove Usha to pursue a professional singing career in 1969. This move later went on to prove vital in removing the stigma attached to singing in nightclubs in India.

Usha's specialty besides her velvet smooth voice was her style of dressing, her massive bindi and gajra (garland) that she wears in her head which remains her signature even today. Usha is India's first international artiste with six English language song releases.

Usha Uthup is supposedly the first person to have brought pop culture to India. Today she sings in more than thirteen Indian and eight foreign languages. With her music and endearing charm, she has transcended the barriers of caste, creed, language and nationality. Besides singing in several Indian languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Bangla, Assamese, Oriya, Khasi, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu she also sings in French, German, Italian, Sinhalese, Swahili, Russian, Nepalese, Arabic, Creole, and of course, English.

With her talent and an experience of over four decades she enthralls listeners with her songs and charms audiences in concert venues even today. From 'Dum Maro Dum' to 'I believe in Music', Usha continues to leave an indelible mark on the music scene in India. She sang many songs for the composer R D Burman in the 1970s. Songs like 'Shaan se', 'Don't worry Kolkata', 'One Two Cha Cha Cha', 'Hari Om Hari', 'Ramba Ho Ho' were major hits. Of late, she has sung for Ram Gopal Varma's 'Bhoot'.

She sings for many charitable causes - for The Red Cross, SPASTIC society of India, Mother Teresa related charities, cancer institutes, schools for the blind, old aged homes, government charity drives and various drought and flood relief funds. Further, she has also worked frequently and significantly for service organizations like the Rotary, Lions, Jaycees, Giants, and SPCA etc. in National and International levels.

Her appealing charm and influential vocal chords have given Usha fans of all ages, from all over the country and abroad. She has sung for Prime Ministers and Presidents alike, and dignitaries like Indira Gandhi, Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Arap Moi and Nelson Mandela have all been her admirers.

She has broadcasted over All India Radio and appeared on Doordarshan a number of times. Further she was also one of the prime personalities responsible for the production and launch of "Pop Time" for Doordarshan.

Apart from being a good singer, Usha Uthup is a good actress too. Her performance in the Malayalam film Pothan Vava proved her acting talent.

For Usha, music is not just her life-style, but it is an instrument of love ! And she truly lives up to her signature - "I believe in Music".

Keywords: Singers, play back singer, Usha Uthup, Usha Uthup profiles