After 20 years in films, Vijay Yesudas says he is in the cusp of new things, including a New York-style salon for men, Chop Shop, in Kochi
As a playback singer, Vijay Yesudas completes two decades in films this year. The son of legendary singer, KJ Yesudas, Vijay says it is a ‘weird feeling’.
The years were spent pushing himself to learn and sing as if each song were his first, says Vijay, over phone from his Chennai home. The singer’s debut was in the 2000 Malayalam film Millenium Stars. “I have never competed with colleagues. I have only made friends, supported them and loved their music,” he says, looking back on the journey so far.
The singer adds that he is also in the cusp of new things, partially influenced by the outbreak of COVID-19. He is turning entrepreneur with the launch of a New York-style salon for men , Chop Shop, in Kochi. With business partners, he is the franchisee for Chop Shop in four South Indian States. He also recently launched his YouTube channel, The V Company by VJY, which he intends to use for his musical pursuits.
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“During the pandemic, we realised that a musician is at the sad end of the food chain. This is a financially difficult time for everybody, and it is not easy for us with shows being cancelled.”
Diversification of his portfolio had been on his mind for sometime, and these initiatives are a part of the plan to create a space for himself outside the film industry. Simultaneously, he has also been thinking of the direction he should take in terms of music: launching his YouTube channel is that step in a new direction. Vijay uploaded his first song a month ago, ‘Malayalam – Onam 2020’, penned by Rajaneesh R Chandran. Vijay had scored the music for the song.
With nepotism being the catchword of recent social media debates, one would assume that being the son of a legend would have made things easy for him, but Vijay denies that it was the case. “My songs were clicking in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, but in Malayalam it took time. It was 2007 when I got a ‘Kolakkuzhal Villi Ketto’. That is when things started turning and people began to trust me,” he says.
That song in the film Nivedyam got him his first Kerala State Award for Best Singer. It was the first in a series of awards; two more Kerala State Awards came soon after.
Vijay’s career took a detour in 2015 when he turned actor in the Dhanush film Maari where he played the antagonist. This was followed by another Tamil film Padaiveeran in 2018.
When lockdown was announced he was filming the multilingual Salmon 3D. Vijay says he has been listening to scripts during the break. “Honestly, I would have jumped into acting sooner, but my father told me to focus on one thing — music. Starting young, as actor, has an impact. I started 10 to15 years late, but now the concept of a film’s hero has also changed. I don’t regret it though, I was able to focus on music.”
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