Up close with Dushyanth

By Megara Tegal and Adilah Ismail, Pix by Saman Kariyawasamsam

When did you get started as a musician?

I got on stage when I was around 15 years, singing during an interlude at a talent show organised by my school Royal College. After that I was more involved in rugby and cricket but what I wanted was to get back on stage.

In 2000, I won the Showboat Carlsberg Karaoke Singing Competition and got several gigs at hotels where I would do Michael Jackson and Craig David covers. After a while I decided that I wanted to be something more original – obviously it was Santhush who inspired me. And that’s when I really got into music.

How did you get into dancing?

I danced as much as I sang but it was mostly indoors in front of a mirror. Even when I did public shows, people saw me as a singer who could dance. But Sirasa Dancing Stars was bigger than anything I’d done before. All my shows put together wouldn’t have got me the fame that my dancing got there. Although winning it totally camouflaged my singing!

Not long after I went to India to participate in the South Asian Superstar contest. That was actually a tougher competition, with 5 countries sending two of their superstars. I represented Sri Lanka along with Pradeep Rangana, winner of Sirasa Superstar. Competing with 9 singers from other countries and emerging second runner up was a great achievement for me.

What compelled you to do your most recent concert - a tribute to MJ?

I’ve been an ardent fan of Michael Jackson since I was a kid and where I am in my life right now is probably because I was so inspired, not just by the music, not just by the dance, but with what he really was – a good person who genuinely cared.

I had always wanted to meet him and with this in mind I thought maybe if I did something good, it would create a link to get in touch with him. And so, preparations for a concert, with my songs as well as his, were underway. But on June 25, he died. The reason for doing the concert was completely lost, so I cancelled it and we stopped rehearsals for 2 weeks. After thinking about it though, I realized that I had to move on even though I didn’t have the drive anymore. This was a chance for me to give him a proper tribute.

How did you perfect those famous dance moves?

By watching the videos and picking up the moves, you learn to recreate them. Once you understand that dance is all about creating illusion it’s pretty easy. I practiced a lot, although it didn’t feel like practicing because I was doing what I loved.

Everyday after school I would go straight to my room which was quite small at that time, and had a big king-sized bed. I would lift the bed, keep it against the wall, bring the mirrors from the other rooms and dance till 4.30pm until my parents came home.

In your opinion, what is the ultimate praise that you as an artiste, can receive?

I believe that as an artiste, you have to entertain people. If people say you thrill them or that they love watching you, listening to you, that they appreciate your art, then that’s probably the best response an artist can receive.

What are your future plans?

I’m working on four projects right now. One is a part of the show of which I’m compiling a DVD. Secondly, I’m doing about three music videos at the moment; one is shot and is in post production.

The third is my album, which I had planned to release on August 29, but wasn’t able to. The fourth is another show, which will be bigger and better. I think that’s what I’m supposed to do; I’ve had a lot of people saying we never thought you did stuff like this.

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