K. S. Chithra, credited as Chitra, is a six time National film awards winning singer who has made her mark in the Indian (film) playback industry. Known as the “Nightingale of South India”, she has lent her voice to Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali films.
Born on July 27, 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra’s talent was recognized and nurtured from an early age by her father, the late Krishnan Nair. He was also her first guru (teacher). Chithra received her extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, after she was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 – 1984. She was introduced to Malayalam playback singing by M. G. Radhakrishnan in 1979. She made her debut in the Tamil film industry in Chennai under the guidance of film music composer Ilaiyaraaja. Her knowledge of South Indian languages and Hindi enables her to render songs with originality and perfection. She is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman. Her only daughter Nandana, was born in 2002 in Chennai.
Chithra was also honoured with the Kalaimamani title from Tamil Nadu Government in 1997, the K. J. Yesudas Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, Kalaiselvam title from the South Indian Nadigar Sangam in 2002, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Global Malayalee Council in London in 2003. She has also received numerous mainstream awards like MTV Video Music Award, Screen – Videocon Award, Film Fans Association Awards, and Cinema Express Awards. She has in her credit, private albums in Hindi, namely Piya Basanti and Sunset Point. Her first ghazal album with Masterio Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle is ready for release. She recently released an album in dedication to Smt.M.S.Subbulakshmi named My Tribute. It is a collection of kirthis and bhajans dedicated to Smt.M.S.Subbulakshmi. Sony is planning to release a solo album soon owing to success of Piya Basanti. Recognising her contribution to the music world, Smt. Chithra has been conferred the prestigious Padma Shri title by the Government of India in 2005.
Chithra has performed all over India, Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Western European countries like Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.
Chithra, who is a Grade A artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, has established her own recording label, Audiotracs, to promote new talents in the music world by giving them opportunities to collaborate with her as singers, lyricists and music directors.