She is a fan of playback legend Kishore Kumar, and also yodels like he used to. Young Shanmukhapriya is winning hearts on the ongoing Indian Idol 12 with her unique style of singing, which has guaranteed her a slot in the top 15 of the reality show.
"I am so happy. Other contestants are giving a tough competition as everyone has a unique voice and style. I am happy that we are all in the same season," Shanmukhapriya told IANS.
Talking about yodelling, she shared that she was about 10 or 11 when she was first introduced to the vocal technique.
"I have been listening to Kishore Kumar's songs since my childhood, but the songs with him yodelling -- I heard those when I was 10 or 11 years old. 'Chala jaata hoon' and 'Zindagi ek safar hai suhana' were the songs," recalls the aspiring singer, now 17.
"It (yodelling) was new to me. I was very attracted to that sound. I wanted to try it, too. There were so many people who said that yodeling can only be done by boys. So I practised. I slowly started singing his (Kishore Kumar's) songs. I took some time to control my voice. In fact, I am thankful to those who said girls can't do it. I wouldn't have taken it seriously otherwise. I took it as a challenge," she added.
Based in Visakhapatnam, her love for music comes from her family.
"My parents are musicians. My mom is MA in music. My dad sings and also plays instruments like violin and veena. They used to do concerts together, and I used to attend them. They used to also teach music at home. So I would sit and listen to them all the time. I was inspired by them. Even I wanted to be like them and I thought I wanted to sing too," said Shanmukhapriya.
Her parents spotted her talent when she was just four.
"I was playing with a doll, and there was a musical alarm. Soon, I started singing along. I was playing and singing that tune. It was then that my parents understood that I wanted to pursue music. They started teaching me music. I am still learning from mom and dad," said the youngster, who has also participated in other reality shows including The Voice India Kids.
She wants to take up music as a profession, but doesn't want to give up education.
"I am planning to go for BSc in mathematics. Math is my favourite subject. I love music and studies both," said the teenager, who has sung Samjhe kya with popular singer Sonu Nigam.