This globetrotting young singer might seem like your next door neighbour. He’s got a musical talent which he is very passionate about and has made a name for himself in the international music arena as a songwriter, composer, who now splits his time between Italy, India, and the U.K.
Alluri’s sound blends a host of styles and influences from across the globe. A diarist to his core, Alluri’s debut album, Man Of Truth, wrote itself during a six-month travel break between completing his Masters in Finland and returning to India.
Though Alluri’s forte is English, he wrote an album in Telugu out of love for his mother tongue. He has worked with Grammy Award winning producer Tommaso Colliva on the single Evari Kosam from the album O Katha: Tales Of This Telugu Man (2018). This is the first time a Telugu album was recorded in Italy, using Italian session musicians and played live to audience internationally. His music features vocals in his native language Telugu which breaks away from English and carves a niche for himself.
His successful performances on the international stage include the Cambridge Folk Festival (2017), Sofar Sounds X Amnesty, Milano (2017), Transmusicales, Rennes, France (2017), Tallinn Music Week, Estonia (2018) and in London (2018).
At his recent gig at the Hard Rock Café, Worli, Alluri kicked off his set with a mix of Telugu and English songs, and later performed with Glen Matlock. Sharing the stage with him was saxophonist Domenico Mamone (who has played with the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Tom Jones), bassist Roberto Dragonetti, Calibro 35, Davide Arzuffi on drums and keyboardist Pietro Ubaldi.
At a press meet at retro pub Door No 1 in Bandra, VERUS FERREIRA met up with Alluri to find out more about his musical escapades.
Tell us something about yourself and your music background.
Well, I’ve been writing songs for the last 6-7 years. When I was pretty young, I was forced into western classical violin and piano, but I never really took to it. When I was 4 or 5, I used to play the violin, but I never enjoyed it. I wanted to play cricket instead. When I was around 12 years, my cousin introduced me to classic rock songs like Smoke On The Water, Comfortably Numb, Another Brick In The Wall. When I heard Smoke On The Water, I told my dad to buy me a guitar. Since then I have always listened to rock ‘n’ roll songs, play them on the guitar for friends. I started writing my own songs. So for the last 5-6 years I’ve been doing music.
At what age did you start writing songs?
When I was about 24… very late. And, of course, I had started speaking English on a daily basis only when I was around 11 or 12; until then English was just a subject in school; it was not something I spoke at home. We spoke Telugu. So it took me a while to wrap my head around English. My first album came out in 2015 and was recorded in Brightland, England, and then after doing that, I sort of felt that I am only doing English stuff. Suddenly I felt like writing in Telugu and one day I wrote a few songs which went on to become my second album.
You were raised in India… when did you move out to England?
When I was about 17, I went to England; I was there for about 4 years from 2013 up to 2017. I did a Bachelor’s in Music Technology, but that of course never had anything to do with singing, writing or playing. It was always recording in a studio and sound set-up. It wasn’t until I finished my Master’s degree in 2011 that I started to write.
How did you get a chance to get into the studio and make music?
I built demos in my basement at home in Hyderabad in 2013, and later that year I went with my first demo album and nothing really happened. I came back 3 months later. And then in 2014, someone listened to the demo CD, and liked it. It was a producer in the U.K., and so he put me in a studio and they decided to co-produce it. I played the guitar and the bass, wrote the songs and sang them, and that is how the first album came out.