By Monisha G Kumar Last Updated:
Born as Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK was one of the greatest singers in the music industry. The soulful singer, who had recorded many hit tracks in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, and Bengali became popular with his songs, Pal and Yaaron, which are still played in school and college farewells.
From singing romantic tracks to upbeat songs, KK’s soothing voice mesmerised millions. Though the singer had always kept himself away from media glares, his songs made an identity of their own. On May 31, 2022, the 53-year-old singer bid adieu to the world, shocking his friends, family and millions of fans. Before making it big in the industry, KK had his own fair share of struggles. From his marriage to his first paycheck, let’s take a look at some unknown facts about the singer.
Born into a Malayali family to parents, C.S. Menon and Kunnath Kanakavalli, KK was raised in Delhi and did his schooling from Mount St. Mary’s School. An alumnus of Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, KK’s music journey had begun quite early as he would listen to his mother singing Malayalam songs, recorded by his father in a small tape.
Though the singer had never received any formal training, he loved singing and it was during a school performance when he had realised that music was his passion. KK, who was studying in class 2nd had sung the song, Jab Andhera Hota Hai from the film, Raja Rani and the crowd had applauded the little genius and that was his calling.
In the world of glamour, there are very few artists, who are never linked with anyone and KK was one of them. KK has only dated one girl in his whole life and that was his wife, Jyothy Lakshmi Krishna. KK had met Jyothy in class 6 and since then, they were together. KK and Jyothy had got married in 1991 and had become proud parents to a baby boy, Nakul Krishna Kunnath and a daughter, Tamara Kunnath.
In a 2017 Aaj Tak show, Sureeli Baat, KK had sung the song, Pyaar Deewana Hota hai and had revealed that it was the same song, with which he had wooed his wife, Jyothy. Revealing the same, KK had shared:
“Jab maine usko pataya tha to yahi gana gaya tha. I remember I used to sing this song at my colony's annual function every year.”
He had also stated that he couldn’t look directly at her while singing the song as their parents used to be present there and only stealing glances was possible. He had further shared how he had confessed his feeling to her and had stated:
“She did know about my feelings then. We were very young, perhaps in sixth or seventh class. We were very young. When I understood my feelings, I confessed and told her 'I need to have you as my partner in life'.”
In the same interview, KK had also revealed that Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Range Hain was the song he had sung for his wife on their wedding night. He had also stated how he had teased his wife about the attention he had got from girls outside and had retorted:
“The sad part is, I sing songs at home all day and she tells me 'please yaar don't bother me now'. It happens very often. And I tell her 'don't you know how many people wait for me to sing outside? Girls even try holding me when I go for the shows.' I lie to her. That does not happen too often. She's like 'Please do not bug me'. Though, there are times when she loves it...she is sitting and I sing for her.”
During an appearance on The Kapil Sharma Show, KK had revealed how he had never dated any other girl except his wife, Jyothy and had said:
“I have dated only one girl in my life and that is my wife Jyothy. I was a shy guy and couldn’t even date her properly. Sometimes my kids tease me about this.”
Before marrying his ladylove, Jyothy, KK had to find a job and he had taken the job of a salesman. But soon after his marriage to Jyothy, KK wasn’t too happy with his sales job and had decided to quit. It was with the support of his father and his wife, that KK had tried his luck in music. He had bought a keyboard and had started making jingles with Shibani Kashyap and Saibal Basu. Although they made money, KK was not happy about the same. As a result, he had left the comforts of Delhi and had jetted off to the city of dreams, Mumbai.
KK had lent his voice to more than 3,500 jingles and in 1994, when his first jingle with Loy Mendonsa went on air, people had started noticing the voice behind it. For the paycheck of his first jingle, when the music director, Ranjit Barot had asked KK about his charges, the singer was quite skeptical as he wasn’t aware of the pay system in the industry, where he was totally new. Later, when Ranjit had flashed his five fingers, KK had assumed that he would be paid Rs. 500, but to his utter surprise, the paycheck had an amount of Rs. 5000.
KK had got his break as a playback singer with AR Rahman’s hit songs, Kalluri Saaley and Hello Doctor and his first Bollywood song was Chod Aaye Hum Who Galiyan from the film Maachis. However, it was the superhit track, Tadap Tadap Ke Is Dil Se from the film, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, that had made KK a huge sensation. He had become an overnight star and since then, there was no looking back for him.
The chartbuster tracks like, Aap Ki Dua, Yaaron and the title track of Pal still rule the hearts of youngsters and bring all the nostalgic memories. Be it foot-tapping numbers like Banda Ye Bindas and Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe or romantic tracks like Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana and Khuda Jaane, KK had sung every track from his heart.
Apart from movies, KK had also sung for television shows like Just Mohabbat, Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Hip Hip Hurray, Kkavyanjali and many more.
Although KK’s songs had made a huge impact on the audience, the singer had only won one award in a career of almost two decades for his song, Khuda Jaane from the film, Bachna Ae Haseeno. But KK had no qualms about it as the singer had once stated that he had never desired to win an award.
Even after such a successful career, KK had kept a low profile and was rarely seen in public apart from his shows. KK had once talked about the same on a show, where he had mentioned that most of the time the audience comes up to him after the show to ask whether he was the real voice behind the songs he had performed. Sharing his feelings about the same, KK had revealed that although he liked being an underdog but felt really bad that people don’t care about the singer behind their favourite songs unless they make public appearances.
On May 31, 2022, KK had performed at Sir Gurudas Mahavidyalaya fest at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata. After the show, he had felt unwell and on his way to the hotel, the singer had suffered a cardiac arrest. He was rushed to CMRI hospital, where the 53-year-old singer was declared brought dead.
Moments before his death, KK had taken to his IG handle and had posted pictures from his concert and had captioned them as:
“Pulsating gig tonight at Nazrul Mancha. Vivekananda College!! Love you all.”
In his memoir on his official website, The Mesmerizer, KK had once said:
“There is a certain energy an artiste gets when he or she is on stage. No matter what one's condition is, once I am on stage, I forget everything and simply perform.”
Hum rahen ya na rahen kal, kal yaad aayenge ye pal - KK’s music and his energy on stage were unmatchable. The singer’s untimely demise marks the end of an era but these lines will always stay immortal in the hearts of his fans.