ARLINGTON, MA— He is the president of Shishu Bharati, co-founder and vice president of Medical Discovery Partners LLC, a cancer diagnostic company, and an adjunct assistant professor of pathology and lab medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. He holds a PhD in Immunology & Pathology from Boston University School of Medicine.
Moreover, Seshi Sompuram has failed five times to win the local Hindi Manch’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa competition. But don’t underestimate Sompuram’s passion for singing. He is getting ready for the next round of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, and the good news is that he already made to the second runner-up in 2017.
For Telugu-speaking Sompuram, who is in his 50s, singing is his passion. “My mother tongue is Telugu, and I have really worked hard to pronounce Hindi accurately and properly, especially when I am singing at Hindi Manch in front of masters and legends and a mostly Hindi-speaking audience,” says Sompuram.
“Seshi is an inspiring person,” said Hindi Manch President Preetesh Shrivastava. “His journey with Hindi Manch’s SaReGaMaPa is an encouraging story for many artistes in the area.”
In an exclusive interview with INDIA New England News, Sompuram talks about his passion for singing and his musical journey that began when he was a teenager.
INDIA New England NEWS: What got you interested in singing, and when was the first time you sang on stage?
Seshi Sompuram: Since my school days I was always interested in music but never had an opportunity to learn formally. When I was a PhD student at Boston University, we used to have a band called “Awaaz”, and performed many times on the BU stage during Holi and Diwali shows.
INEN: When did you decide to learn music formally and why?
SS: I always wanted to learn music formally. While I was a graduate student at BU almost 15-20 years back, a couple of my friends got together and had a few lessons from Warren Senders and George Ruckert, but was for a short time.
The desire to learn music never waned, as a matter of fact it got even more profound after seeing so many singers and performers in Boston area and attending many shows. I hoped to learn and get better. Two years ago I started taking lessons from Pradeep Shukla ji for a short time and then I discontinued. I want to continue again.
After making to the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa finals this year, I am even more motivated and determined to learn singing. I sincerely believe that I am still at infancy and have very, very long way to go, and many, many weaknesses to improve upon. I do not hesitate to learn from my failures, my teachers and accomplished singers.
INEN: How many times have you participated in the Hindi Manch Sa Re Ga Ma Pa competition and what is the highest award you have received?
SS: I have participated about 5 times. The first two times, I didn’t make the audition; the 3rd time I made it through the audition; the 4th time I didn’t make the audition; the 5th time (this most recent one) I made it to the finals, and was 2nd runner up. That was the highest I ever got so far. It was truly humbling, and a wonderful but sometimes nerve-wracking feeling to sing in front of the masters (the judges from India included Mashkoor Alikhan and Sanatan Goswami). It was like a dream come true to make it to the finals. I always find an opportunity to sing and be with other singers.
I love to go for auditions, and Hindi Manch’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa was my first audition ever. Although I have mot made through the adutitions , I learn from the judges’ feedback and encouragement to work even harder. People are very supportive. Also, through this journey, I met great people and made many wonderful friends.
INEN: Do you plan to compete again?
SS: Absolutely, I would like to try again, and work hard to get even further, if I could. It is very inspiring and humbling to see so many great singers, and accept that there are many accomplished singers.
INEN: Those who are trying to learn singing late in their life, what advice you will give them?
SS: If you love, like or even have the slightest inclination to music, I would support and encourage to go for it, especially at later phase of our lives. Music is something that gives us our personal time, peace, meditative mind, and just enjoy.
As blessing in disguise, my drive to work takes about an hour each way (from Arlington to Tufts Medical Center), but those hours are my best time, as that is my practice time. Some, fellow drivers wonder what I am doing and some smile at me. But I learnt not be shy or conscious about others, and it is too tempting to sing. At home, I am always singing, sometimes it can get annoying for my kids as they have to do their homework.
INEN: What do you do in your professional life?
SS: By profession, I am a scientist and adjunct faculty. We are developing cancer diagnostic products, which are funded by National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institutes. I really love my work and being part of the innovation. Music makes my professional life and days a bit lighter.