By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:
Krishnakumar Kunnath, widely known as KK, was not just a singer; he was a true legend in the world of music. Renowned for his mesmerising voice and incredible range in terms of vocals, KK captivated the hearts of millions and earned the admiration of both fans and critics from across the world. With a career spanning over several decades, he stood out as one of the finest singers of all time.
However, what set KK apart from his contemporaries was his extraordinary singing talent, impeccable nature, and genuine personality. Almost everyone adored him, and he was among the few artists with zero haters. KK always lived a low-key life, and it was his humility, kindness, and down-to-earth nature that were the reasons why when he passed away on May 31, 2022, due to cardiac arrest, it shattered an entire nation.
KK's versatility was truly remarkable, and it needs no formal introduction as we all grew up enjoying his wide range of songs. The singer effortlessly recorded songs in more than nine languages, showcasing his exceptional ability to adapt and excel in diverse musical styles. Whether it was the soul-touching melodies of Pal and Yaaron or the passionate rendition of Tadap Tadap and the energetic beats of Apadi Podu, each track he delivered is still everyone’s favourite.
KK’s rendition of Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai, Aankhon Mein Teri, Piya Aaye Na, Zara Sa and Tu Jo Mila are some of the most memorable songs of his illustrious career. However, while his professional life needs no introduction, there are some facts or incidents in his life that are still quite unknown. So without further ado, let’s explore them.
Krishnakumar Kunnath, aka KK, was born on August 23, 1968, to his Malayali parents, C S Menon and Kunnath Kanakavalli. Though his parents hailed from Kerala, they had settled in Delhi. In the nation’s capital, Delhi, KK spent his growing years and completed his studies.
For the unversed, KK went to the prestigious Mount St Mary's School in Delhi Cantt. At the time when he was studying in the school, it was a convent boys' school. For higher education, KK got admission to Delhi University’s famous college, Kirori Mal College, where he used to study commerce.
The timeless singer, KK made his debut as a playback singer with iconic composer, AR Rahman’s soundtrack. It was a huge moment for KK as he got the opportunity to work with AR Rahman in his debut as a singer. For the unversed, it was for a Tamil movie, Kadhal Desam, and the track which was assigned to KK was Kalloori Saalai which is still a popular dance number in the South.
KK fell in love with a girl named, Jyothy when he was in the 10th standard. And it was then only then the youngster decided that he would marry the same girl once he grew up. Well, the singer stood by his conviction and eventually got married to Jyothy in 1991. Together they welcomed two kids, Kunnath Nakul and Kunnath Taamara.
Krishnakumar Kunnath, known as KK embarked on his musical journey by lending his voice to advertisements and jingles early in his singing career. This initial phase of his career laid the foundation for his illustrious career in the music industry. In an interview with IANS back in 2009, KK revealed that he had sung an astonishing 3500 jingles before he made his breakthrough in movies.
These jingles and advertisements showcased the versatility of KK's voice, as most of the jingles managed to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression on the listeners. Some of the notable brands with whom the late singer collaborated were the likes of Nerolac Paints, Hero Honda, Colgate and many more.
After lending his voice in so many impressive jingles and advertisements, KK soon started receiving opportunities from television shows. His soulful tracks became synonymous with popular shows like Just Mohabbat, Hip-Hip Hurray, Kavyanjali, and Hum Hai India.
The iconic singer, KK marked his presence in the Indian music industry with his work in 11 different languages. Yes! You read it right. The list of languages he knew included Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati, Assamese, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali. However, there’s no denying saying that most of the success that he got in his life was courtesy of the songs he sang in Hindi. For the unversed, KK had sung over 500 songs in Hindi alone that speaks everything about his success.
Once in an interview with the Kochi Times, KK was asked to reveal the reason why he had only sung one song in Malayalam. On the contrary, he had so many songs in other South Indian languages. In response to the question, KK admitted that for him singing in Malayalam is the hardest of them all. The singer shared how his spoken Malayalam was quite good, but he couldn't do it with the same conviction when it came to uttering words in lyrics or literature.
Once in an interview with The Times Of India, KK revealed a shocking revelation about his professional life, as he stated that he had never taken any formal training in music. The late singer shared that he had not taken professional music classes. Revealing how he managed to sing so well, KK revealed that since childhood, he was blessed with the ability to learn a song just by hearing it. He also cited legendary singer, Kishore Kumar’s example and said:
"From the beginning, I was able to learn a song by just hearing it, it is something that I’ve been blessed with. I later learned that Kishoreda (Kishore Kumar) had never learnt music, so I had even more reasons to not go to a music class. I have learned music from my own perceptions from the greats."
KK's exceptional talent and versatility as a singer transcended borders, as he garnered recognition not only in India but also in our neighbouring country, Pakistan. His fame and acclaim even melted the hearts of the people of Pakistan after he lent his soulful voice to the song, Tanha Chala, for the Pakistani drama series, The Ghost, back in 2008. Farrukh Abid and Shoaib Farrukh crafted the melodious composition. KK’s work beyond the borders solidified his status as one of the few artists loved in both India and Pakistan.
KK's final released track was the emotional and inspiring song, Yeh Hausle, from the sports drama film, 83. The film was directed by Kabir Khan and starred Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev. The song was composed by Pritam and written by Kausar Munir, and it marked KK's last musical offering to his fans before his sudden demise on May 31, 2022.
Krishnakumar Kunnath, aka KK, will forever be in our hearts, no matter how many years go by.