“There are no compromises,” Ameya Karthikeyan. And she means it. The 19-year-old, in her own words, is “just getting started,” and as she prepares to graduate from Ethiraj College, her artistic endeavours play witness to a certain focused sense of discipline, inculcated ever since she sat in her first paatu class.
“I was three years old, and a lady living near my grandmother’s house would take classes. So when my mother went to work, I would go sit and listen,” she reminisces.
She began her formal training, at the age of 12, under Leelavathy Gopalakrishnan.
“Even at school, the focus remained on extracurriculars. Of course, my mother made sure academics ran parallely,” she laughs. Ameya’s musical progression put her under the tutelage of gurus C. Sukanya, Chromepet G. Suresh, Sugandha Sridhar, and Kallidaikurichi Balakrishnan, leading to current advanced manodharma training under Korattur Embar Kannan and A.S. Murali.
“I have learnt something invaluable from each one of my gurus,” says Ameya. She is now part of the PS Narayanaswamy school under Murali.
She feels the training has given her singing a distinct quality that she hopes to hone as she moves forward.
“The most prominent quality I’ve imbibed from this school is a heightened sense of awareness to what I’m singing: the ability to recognise my mistakes so that I can rectify them, as well as focus on technique and how to improve it,” she says.
Rather than pressure, she prefers to look at the illustrious guru lineage and its accompanying music as motivation to maintain a certain standard and quality, one that allows its students to continue to evolve and grow in whatever repertoire they may study or present.
Of course, for Ameya, that growth does not remain restricted to music.
“I’m also excited to see what academics holds for me.” As she approaches graduation this year, she says “nothing is impossible.”
Her goals are clear. “In music, I want to develop the aesthetic quality of my presentation.”
Having begun violin classes two years ago under R. Raghul, Ameya says, she’s keen to see her musical sensibilities evolve.
“There’s so much to learn and imbibe. I just want to explore all I can,” says the youngster.