But help was at hand. "My guru Manjula Gururaj observed this and told me that my voice was very peculiar and resembled Geeta Dutt and gave an opportunity to sing in one of her audio albums, 'Prema Kavya' penned by Kalyan and music by Manjula Gururaj. The song was specially composed to suit my voce," says Anjali.
Bengaluru: Anjali Haliyal's passion towards music started at a very young age as she listened to radio. Little did she know that she would be performing with great veterans in the near future.
None of her family members except for her mother knew that she could sing. After finishing B.Com, she married a scientist and became engrossed in her family and her accounting career. But her love towards music always stayed strong. It took a few more years before she could bring out her talent.
"When my son was ten years old I took him to Sadhana Music School run by playback singer Manjula Gururaj for keyboard classes," says Anjali, explaining how it all began. "But, later I realized that the school also trained students in light music. This was the first of its kind school that trained students in light music as well as instrumental music in those days."
Anjali ended up joining the classes. "After I joined, I found that most of my batchmates' voices suited the songs of S. Janaki, P. Susheela and such veterans. But my voice seemed very husky and didn't match their voices. I sounded totally different from other students which made me feel discouraged," says Anjali.
This incident gave Anjali hope as a singer and her journey as a singer almost picked up from then on. Later, when popular singing reality show, 'Ede Tumbi Haaduvenu' started, Anjali's friend Jyothi Raviprakash, without her knowledge, recorded one of her songs and sent it to the audition. Jyothi revealed this only after Anjali was selected. After a stiff competition during the auditions, Rajan (Rajan Nagendra fame) wanted her to participate in the show. "It was a great feeling to have performed in front of such a great composer," says Anjali.
Anjali's professional music journey began when she started giving performances with S.P.Balasubrahmanyam and other veteran singers. Amidst these performances, she felt the need to boost her singing skills by learning classical music and started learning Hindustani from Mangala Hegde and Kashinath Pattar.
Kannada's first ever karaoke, 'Kuhoo kuhoo' was recorded by singer Manjula Gururaj's husband Gururaj and Anjali's rendition of LR Ishwari's 'Dooradinda Bandantha Sundaranga Jaana' received much appreciation. She has also released her own album called 'Ankura', which comprises special collections of Kannada poet KS Narasimha Swamy. The album was released formally and poet HS Venkatesh Murthy and lyricist Jayanth Kaykini appreciated the singing and the rare collection of the poet's works.
Anjali's voice also resembles that of Asha Bhonsle. So it comes as no surprise that she has sung some the legendary singer's greatest hits such as 'Piya tu ab toh aaja', 'Churaaliya hai tumne jo dil ko', 'Jab chali thandi hawaa' in various Asha Bhonsle special programmes. Her performance of Kannada song, 'Gill gill gill gill gillak..' is appreciated even today.
Apart from these, she has travelled across the country, courtesy BSNL, and received accolades for her singing. As part of Ugadi festival special programme, she gave a solo performance in London and other cities nearby.
"It is never too late to pursue music," says Anjali. "My love and passion towards music made me resign my job and take up singing seriously. Due to various responsibilities I could not concentrate on singing much. Singing has given me appreciations throughout the world and I would want to give my small contribution to the music industry through my special project based on Vachanas." Basavanna's and Siddeshwara Swamiji's vachanas will feature in the project and would be performed live.
"Music to these vachanas would be made in such a way that it must have a classical yet a western touch. I think this way our vachanas can reach more number of people. It's one of my attempts to convey our meaningful vachanas and their messages to the younger generation," says Anjali.
(Ashwini Anish is a freelance journalist based in Bengaluru. She is trained in Hindustani classical music and has also written scripts for several well-known serials in Kannada television industry)
(If you are interested in contributing towards Anjali's project in any way or to contact the artist, she is available at, 9449854676)