Artist Speaks: Siddharth Mahadevan on his Favourite Venues, Performing for Corporates & More!
by Rachael Rajan Industry Watch | October 12, 2016 | Interview
Siddharth Mahadevan NSCI NCPA Hyatt
Siddharth Mahadevan is without a doubt one of the busiest musicians in the country, with a calendar that figures both LIVE concerts as well as a range of corporate events. In the last year or so, EVENTFAQS has reported on numerous events that have prominently figured the artist, including weddings, MICE events, entertainment shows, festivals and more. These have included Season 5 of Royal Stag Barrel Select MTV Unplugged, Harman Live Arena at the Palm Expo, the charity Gala reception for Kate and William, MTV Bollyland, the GiMa Awards, and many more.
In this interview, Siddharth Mahadevan talks about his experience performing at some of these events, what he thinks of the venue scene in India, the support artists in India receive, and his experience working with brands and agencies.
Comment on your experience performing at live concerts as well as at corporate events.
I think a major difference between performing at corporate events and at a concert, is that when performing at a live concert, the fans in the audience and the people are there purely for the love they have for you and for the music you’ve been doing. They are there because they are your fans and your critics, and have been following you for the years you’ve been performing. Whereas, at corporate events, the agency or the company you’re performing for is the one who organises the event. So it’s not necessary that every single person in the audience is your fan and loves your music. It’s completely different.
I feel the audiences that come for your live concerts are more receptive to any kind of music you do on stage. At a corporate event, the challenge is to engage the audience; usually at corporate events, everybody just wants to have a great time – like with Family Days. At other times, there will be events with senior people there, where it can be a great challenge to break the ice and get everyone to get up and dance. Usually, by the end of it, this is what happens and it turns out to be one big party. So it’s a great feeling.
When you’re performing for an audience of 5 to 10K people, it’s a different vibe because then you can get into some musicality; it’s not just people dancing and dancing.
How would you define your own music? Would this be different from what you perform because it’s what the audience expects?
I don’t perform songs that I don’t particularly like. Whatever I perform, whether for corporates or at LIVE shows, are songs that I like, because I can’t do justice to a song that I don’t feel true about. But for corporate events, you do have to do songs that are really popular. My kind of music is any music that appeals to me, or that I enjoy. But you do have to cater to a certain type of audience when you do a corporate event or a wedding show. You need to keep in mind the audiences that are going to be there. If you’re doing a corporate event where there’s a lot of senior people, I probably do some retro songs and songs that may appeal to them. Sometimes we get requests for certain songs, so we try to prepare those.
But in a live concert, it’s your playground, so you can do whatever you want to. I listen to a vast array of music, a lot of different genres, and I’m influenced by a lot of different genres, so it’s difficult for me to pin-point any one genre I see my own work as belonging to. At my concerts, you’ll hear a lot of different genres – ballads, rock, EDM, out and out dance songs, everything. Because that’s what keeps me going as an artist.
Talk about a few corporate events that you've performed at. What was your experience like?
I’ve performed for very big corporate events, where there have been 20 to 25K people in the audience, where it’s easy to forget that you’re actually doing a corporate show. The scale of these events can make you feel like you’re performing at a concert.
Recently I performed in Kuwait for Al Mulla Exchange which was a 2-day concert with just me; then I’ve performed for Broadridge, Capgemini, Microsoft, Nestle, Honda, Maruti, lot of IT companies – Infosys, then for doctors associations and medical conventions, banks including ICICI, HDFC, and a lot more.
What are a few of your favourite venues in India to perform at – venues for concerts, as well as hotels?
I think I prefer outdoor venues to ballrooms, I just feel the sound is amazing outside. But ballrooms also have their own charm. There’s this intimate connection with the audience, it’s a very cosy vibe.
In Bombay, I love performing at NSCI, and NCPA is amazing, too. So many hotels in Mumbai also have great ballrooms – for instance The Hyatt.
I particularly remember this Capgemini show we did in Udaipur or Jaipur. The backdrop for the event was a particular fort; it was an outdoor event with some 15 to 20K people. It was one of the most beautiful venues I’ve performed at.
In Delhi, the shows I’ve done have mostly been private wedding shows. So, it’s usually been a ballroom at one of the five star hotels in the city, and we’ve also done a lot of shows at Chhatarpur Lawns and the farmhouses a lot of people do weddings at. Delhi is great, and people love to party there and expect you to sing all the songs in Punjabi!
How do you feel about the support venues in India provide artists? If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
I think we get incredible and phenomenal support as artists. I think all over the county, the staff, especially at hotels, are so helpful and pleasant when it comes to getting anything done for you as an artist.
However, often we artists fly in on the day of the show in the morning. I think maybe the event guys could have something like an early check-in for an artist. I’m sure they would have to pay for this extra day, but I think it would benefit everybody.
I also think we should have one State-of-the-Art, a world-class auditorium, which would be acoustically just unbelievable - in Mumbai, to start with. We have NCPA, and stuff like that, we also have smaller venues. But when you go abroad, and I’ve been lucky to travel the world, and see places like the Royal Albert Hall and the Kodak Theatre and you see these kind of venues, and the richness, and the way they’ve been designed, you just wish that in a country full of so much heritage and so much music everywhere, that we had at least one like these. I think we deserve this. That’s something to look forward to, a venue that just feels extremely prestigious to perform at, which is acoustically just perfect, a musician’s dream.
What does an artist look for in an event agency managing an event?
I’ve been really lucky to work with really good event agencies and really good companies, and organisers. Sometimes in corporate shows there’s a lot of alcohol and people go out of hand. It’s difficult to sometimes control that, but it can be fun sometimes, if managed properly.
Otherwise I think performing on stage is just an artist’s biggest high, and that’s just incomparable to anything else.
Siddharth Mahadevan is managed by CAA Kwan, which can be reached for live bookings.
In this interview with EVENTFAQS, Siddharth Mahadevan opens up on the venue scene in India, the support artists in India receive, & his experience performing at both corporate events and LIVE concerts