An early end to a beautiful song

Friends and fellow celebrities offer heartfelt tributes to departed singer, KK.
Bollywood playback singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as 'KK' during his performance, at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (Photo | PTI)
Bollywood playback singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as 'KK' during his performance, at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (Photo | PTI)

Celebrated singer KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath) passed away in Kolkata on Tuesday night. He was 53. KK, the voice of many generations, was universally admired and loved, not least by his friends, colleagues and mentors across industries. Here, some of his oldest collaborators—from Bollywood, Kollywood and beyond—pay tribute to the departed soul. 

Leslee Lewis, who launched KK in his debut solo album, Pal 
KK is my baby and has always been. He was a young boy when he came to Mumbai in the 90s. He got the opportunity to do albums with some smaller audio companies, but, on my advice, didn’t do them. Finally, I took him to Sony Music and that’s how Pal, his debut solo album, happened. He took my compositions for ‘Yaaron’ and ‘Pyar Ke Pal’ and made them his own. We used to sit at my home and practise these songs. He was a natural singer, who sang from his heart. Our songs together have surpassed generations. I’m really saddened that a song like Pal brought him to the world and also took him away. 

Shekhar Ravjiani of Vishal-Shekhar

When Vishal and I were working on Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999) separately and first decided to collaborate as composers, it was KK that we both decided on as the voice of the title track. KK was incomparable as a singer. He had the ability to exude sheer power vocally and yet could sing with the deepest emotion and bring so much gentleness and depth when it was needed. He was an absolutely beautiful soul. He was always smiling and radiated positivity wherever he went. 

Himesh Reshammiya, composer
KK was not only a great singer but a warm-hearted human being. He sang some of my most beautiful, timeless songs. I remember meeting him around a year ago at an airport lounge while coming back to Mumbai, as we were performing in the same city. We had some happy conversations that day and I just can’t get over the fact that he is not with us anymore. He was a true legend and my heartfelt condolences to his family. Every music lover will truly miss him. 

Vinod Bhanushali, veteran music and film producer
It’s so sad that KK fell ill while he was on stage, entertaining his fans. He was such a beautiful, talented singer. He was on the top of the charts in the 2000s. My most memorable collaboration with him was on ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’ (from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam). 

The kind of energy he has put into the song, nobody could have attempted that. He was a combination of talent and humility. His voice suited the face of every actor, be it Salman or Aamir Khan or Emraan Hashmi. His songs became a part of people’s life. In our industry, music changes every six months. 
And yet KK has endured for so many generations. It’s a great loss for the world. 

Deepak Dev, Malayalam music composer
My bonding with KK started way before I became a composer. During the early 2000s, when I was assisting music directors in Mumbai, KK was one of the leading singers there. He was very close to me because I was the only Malayali in his circle and he wanted someone to speak the language with. During that time, he motivated me to become independent. After a few years, when I contacted him for a song in Puthiya Mukham, he was very excited.  Anyone with a good voice can sing, but to be a complete singer, you need character. KK had it.

Bharadwaj, Tamil musician 
He gave me only hit songs. ‘Oru Vaarthai Pesa’ and ‘Pathukule Number Onnu Sollu’ were chartbusters because of his voice. Even though he was a top singer in the nation, he never had any airs about him. He loved the process and enjoyed every song he recorded. His presence always brought happiness and a smile to everyone around him. This is the mark of a great human and singer.

Anup Rubens, music composer
When I first met KK during Dhairyam (2005), I was a beginner and he was a top singer. He took notes, practised the song and completed the recording. Even though he is a non-Telugu singer, he made sure that he got the nuances of Telugu right and his pronunciation was near perfect. He had a distinctive, soulful voice and was adept at singing both melodies as well as youthful songs. In KK’s voice, we found pristine quality, a positive vibe, and pure magic. It’s sad that he passed away after a concert. I guess it’s fitting that he spent his final moments on the stage.

Vijay Prakash, singer and music composer
I’ve lost today a dear friend of mine; we knew each other for more than 20 years. We travelled and grew together. Everyone in the industry respected him for his sincerity and hard work. In his entire career, he never had a misunderstanding with anyone. He loved spending time with his family, so he made a conscious decision to stay away from social media. He was a no-nonsense guy, who stayed away from all forms of politics. 

(Inputs from Shilajit Mitra, Kartik Bhardwaj, Monika Monalisa, Navein Darshan, Murali Krishna CH, Vignesh Madhu)

Related Stories

No stories found.