Srinivas, Srini to his friends, is a singer of over 2000 songs in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Kannada and Telugu and also a music director. He was born in Ambasamudram in Tamil Nadu into a Tamil Iyengar family. However, he was brought up in Thiruvanathapuram as his family moved there soon after.
With an eclectic taste in music and growing up in a family which loved Carnatic music, Srinivas’s earliest influences consisted of the likes of Carnatic maestros, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and M.D. Ramanathan, Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman and ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan.
Throughout his school days he sang in stage shows but eventually decided to pursue a regular career. Armed with a degree in Chemical Engineering, he took up a job and for 10 long years his passion for music took a back seat. In 1988, while he was in Chennai on a visit, he literally stalked music director Ilaiyaraaja and managed to hand over a demo tape to him. Unfortunately for him, he had a throat infection the day he got a call from Ilaiyaraja for an audition, and that opportunity met a dead end.
His passion for music kept burning though and when the music “Roja” (1992) became a blockbuster, he approached A.R. Rahman, given his penchant for introducing new singers. On Rahman’s advice, Srinivas moved to Chennai in 1994. He also started singing for advertising jingles and gained experience as a professional singer.
His first break as a playback singer was "Sorgam Enbathu Namukku" ("Nammavar", 1994) but it was really A.R. Rahman’s "Maana Madurai" ("Minsaara Kanavu", 1997) - more famously the "Ooh La La La" song - that shot him to fame. With "Kaisi Hai Ye Rut" ("Dil Chahta Hai", 2001), he broke into Bollywood as well and went on to sing many songs for A.R. Rahman and Shankar - Ehsaan - Loy. He became a music director with "Ae Nee Romba Azhaka Irukke" where his composition "Ini Naanum Naanillai" became a super hit.
The Tamil Nadu State award for Best Playback Singer (male) came his way twice for "Minsara Poove" ("Padayappa", 1999) and "Maargazhiyil" ("Onbathu Rooba Nottu", 2007). The song "Baansuri" from the Malayalam movie "Rathrimazha" won him a Kerala State Film Award in 2006.